In every yard, some of the areas are not conducive for a grass lawn, and this is where you opt for the ground covers. There are many do’s and don’ts while planting ground covers. Thus, you can get the necessary texture and beautiful color to boost the look of stubborn areas in your yard. Some basic steps like selecting your ground cover wisely, proper planting, need to be considered. Fortunately, ground covers are the ultimate low maintenance plants, most thrive in shady spots, and help in controlling erosion in a slope. No matter the reason you need to plant a ground cover. Here are some things to consider before planting a ground cover.
1. Choose a ground cover that suits your locale
Many plants can be ground covers, such as grass, vines, and low growing shrubs. Plants with beautiful blooms make lovely ground covers like the creeping phlox, clematis, and honeysuckle, which also are perennialsas they come back every year. Check if the ground cover you want is best to grow in your zone. Although it may look pretty on a catalog, do not be tempted by the beauty as the ground covers can be finicky. So, choose wisely and consult if you have to about the best ground covers for your area. After consulting, buy only those that do well in your region to get ground covers that thrive.
2. Space ground cover plants as required
It is a mistake to skimp on the spacing of ground cover plants if you want the best results from them. For this reason, ensure that you space the plants according to their predicted spread. Many varieties of these flowering plants require to cover a three-foot area at maturity. Thus, you will want to locate one plant every three feet. Therefore, depending with the size of the area where you will have your ground cover, you need to know the correct spacing to create perfect full coverage. If you get the spacing wrong, you may end up with bare spots and spaces where weeds will grow easily.
3. Establish perennial beds before the ground covers
Before you introduce your ground covers, allow your trees, bushes, and shrubs in your perennial beds to establish. Since the spots where you have to plant these, are still great spots for ground covers. Also, do not make the mistake of planting them at the same time, as the ground covers will grow quickly, and through this, they will absorb the necessary nutrients that the new trees and bushes at the perennial beds will need for a good head start. So, it is best to wait for a few months before adding the ground covers, and in this way, the ground covers will get time to develop healthy root systems.
4. Opt for deep-rooted ground covers for slopes
If you have any slopes in your yard that are prone to erosion, it is better to choose deep rooted ground covers for the sloppy areas. Thus, plants with very shallow root systems are easily blown or washed away, especially when there are high winds and heavy rains. Some of these are ferns, cacti and they are not ideal for slopes. Therefore, those with deep roots like creeping juniper, English Ivy are good to protect embankments and slopes, and still, the plant will stay secure to the slope. So consider this if your yard has slopes so that you choose your ground covers wisely.
5. Plant succulents in arid regions
Succulents too are amazing as ground covers, however, they thrive best when in arid areas. Although most plants can only thrive when they receive constant moisture but not for succulents. For this reason, if you live in a dry location you will get amazing results with succulents. Some good examples of succulents that you can add in your yard if you live in an arid region are stonecrop and ice plant as they live off the water they retain when precipitation is scarce. This is because they store water in their roots and leaves. More importantly, do not just choose the cactus as your ground cover succulent as they are others like purslane and the royal dew flower with soft supple leaves, gem colored blooms, and with trailing vines that you can consider.
6. Select shade-tolerant ground covers where grass won’t grow
As you choose ground covers for your property, you must use shade-tolerant ground covers under large trees where grass won’t grow. Since there is no enough sunlight for lawn grass around trees. Avoid leaving the area around the trees bare when many ground covers love shade. Some choices you can try are lily turf, golden Japanese, forest grass, among others. However, it all depends on which one does best in your zone. It is important to learn the light requirements as well before planting them to know what is necessary for optimal plant growth.
7. Be careful of invasive species
Sometimes, you might plant unintentionally an invasive species. This is possible when you want to quickly cover a stubborn spot in your yard. Some of these invasive species like Kudzu is one that you should avoid as it rapidly blankets trees and bushes, and it kills and smothers them. Invasive species of ground covers are spread so fast beyond the area where you would love it to grow. Besides, with such invasive species, you may end up spending many years to eradicate it. So consider checking with your state’s list of invasive plants before you choose a ground cover in your yard.
To sum up, as you plan to incorporate ground covers in your yard. Remember to install a protective barrier between the ground covers, any perennial beds, and the lawn to give the yard some structure. Also, if you love to create walkways with a natural flair, avoid choosing tender plants for the traffic areas as most plants can’t take the constant stepping on walkways. Consider all this and the above and you will get to grow ground covers that thrive.