Ground cover plants are appealing for their variety of ornamental features that add interest to landscapes. They provide a variety of textures and colors, help to reduce soil erosion and can function as a transition between landscape spaces. They offer alternatives to turf grasses in some situations.
A ground cover should spread by itself. Species that produce rhizomes or stolons or that spread by offsets or tip layering are good choices for ground covers. Ideally, they will develop rapidly into a dense cover. Some grow so fast they can become invasive.
Ground covers also can enhance the beauty of shrub borders and break up the monotony of mulched areas. Xeric ground cover plants may be the answer for difficult landscape areas that are difficult to mow or water, require extra maintenance or are less suitable for turf grass such as:
- landscaped medians, parking strips, traffic islands and rights-of-way along streets;
- steep slopes that are impractical in lawns or a mowing hazard;
- hot, dry areas on south and west exposures;
- deeply shaded areas beneath trees or shrubs, along north sides of walls and fences, between buildings and in front of low windows.
Soils and Exposure
The key to successful ground cover establishment is good soil preparation. Some ground covers spread by offshoots or runners and are more apt to fill in quickly where the soil has good aeration and drainage. Improve soils with good quality organic matter before planting. Incorporate 3 to 5 cubic yards of compost or other organic soil amendment into 1000 square feet of area.
Weed Control and Maintenance
Prior to planting ground covers, make sure that existing weeds are hoed, pulled or killed with an herbicide. Perennial weeds can be especially troublesome later if not eliminated prior to planting. Glyphosate herbicide controls many weeds if applied a few weeks prior to planting. This herbicide does not leave a harmful soil residue, allowing planting in treated areas 10 to 14 days after spraying. Follow label directions when using.
Weeds can be discouraged by using weed barrier fabrics, anchoring with U-shaped wire pins. Plant through slits cut into the barrier. Apply mulch on top of the fabric. Avoid the use of solid sheet plastic as a weed barrier.
All ground covers require maintenance, some more than others. Ground covers that develop flowers and fruit often require more maintenance than evergreen ground cover.
Please note that this Scottsdale Real Estate Blog is for informational purposes and not intended to take the place of a licensed Scottsdale Real Estate Agent. The Szabo Group offers first class real estate services to clients in the Scottsdale Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area in the buying and selling of Luxury homes in Arizona. Award winning Realtors and Re/MAX top producers and best real estate agent for Luxury Homes in Scottsdale, The Szabo group delivers experience, knowledge, dedication and proven results. Contact Joe Szabo at 480.688.2020, [email protected] or visit www.scottsdalerealestateteam.com to find out more about Scottsdale Homes for Sale and Estates for Sale in Scottsdale and to search the Scottsdale MLS for Scottsdale Home Listings.