Common Functions of All Types of Ground cover


Common Functions of All Types of Ground cover

types of ground coverA ground cover is a mass planting of low maintenance perennials. There are many types of ground cover. However, all ground cover provides the following functions: low maintenance, ability to crowd out weed growth, prevent soil erosion, and to fill in an empty area as a design element. Plants used for ground cover grow from a few inches, like those between steps in walkways, to as tall as three feet. They can be herbaceous (non-woody), or woody stemmed perennials. Perennials are plants that take two years to complete a life cycle. Annuals die after a one-year life cycle that includes sprouting through flowering. Perennials will live beyond the two years it takes to complete their life cycle. Unlike annuals that burst forth with an abundant number of colorful flowers, perennials provide colorful flowers over a shorter time, though return the next year. Choosing perennials that have the longest blooming period and need the least amount of dead-heading cuts down on maintains while still maintaining a beautiful array of color.


Types of Ground cover for Your Location

Choosing the types of ground cover that will require little to no maintenance depends on where you live. Native ground covers need the least amount of care. While most perennial ground covers grow in full sun, some thrive in partial shade. Check throughout the day for the hours of sun and shade in the desired location before choosing a ground cover. Should you live in an area of heavy snow, a deciduous perennial, one that dies back in winter, may not be an issue. If not, choose an evergreen perennial that provides appealing foliage throughout the year. Hardly perennials that grow easily in your area’s soil type and need little to no added nutrients will cut back or eliminate amending the soil and constant fertilization.



Different Types of Ground cover

Good choices for groundcovers include plants with the ability to spread horizontally. They cover large and small areas, slopes, spaces between garden paths, around rock designs, flat sections, and border spaces. Understanding how plants reproduce and spread provides insight into what to plant and where to plant. Different types of root systems will work better for different areas of planting. Some plants used for groundcover have taproots, the central root that grows vertically, with fine root hairs extend horizontally. Though the roots do not spread out, dense foliage spreads horizontally, providing a barrier inhibiting weed growth. Plant these according to the plant’s expected mature horizontal growth.


Fibrous roots have a mass of thin, hair-like roots. They are ideal for planting on slopes or in places where soil erosion is a problem. Other plants reproduce with rhizomes. Rhizomes are stems that grow horizontally in or above ground with roots extending from the bottom of the stem. Some species of Irises are one of the few rhizomes that grow on the soil surface. The rhizomes of Chinese Lantern grow just below the surface of the ground. Take care when using rhizomes, often called creepers, as many spread out of control, requiring a lot of maintenance. Stolons also referred to as creepers, spread out horizontally through horizontal stems, called runners, producing roots and new growth where they touch the soil.


Ground covers Define Space in Garden Designtypes of ground cover 2

Besides the practical reasons for using groundcover, it plays an important part in the overall garden design. Used in small and large areas, they frame, direct, create variations in texture, color, and height. They unify the garden in unobtrusive ways, leading the eye, creating an ambiance to selected areas of interest and support the whole garden. They function similarly to a supporting actor in a movie. Without them, something is missing. They bring direction and support.


Preparing Soil for Ground cover

Important information needed before choosing or planting, include soil pH and texture. Determine the nature of your soil’s content in regards to sand, silt, and clay. Adding compost helps all soil types regarding drainage and water retention, however, make sure any adjustments to dirt are handled appropriately with soil amendments. One of the primary functions of groundcover is weed control. When preparing the soil for planting, remove all weeds and debris. Leaving the ground bare and un-watered for a few weeks give time for weeds to surface. Removing them will help reduce new growth while your groundcover takes hold.  Planting in staggered rows gives a more natural appearance as the plants grow while providing a dense overall coverage. Mulching the newly planted area helps retain moisture. The best time to plant most types of ground cover is in the spring.





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