Groundcovers are low-growing plants that spread quickly by itself in order to form a dense cover. They add beauty to the landscape, and they can also solve many planting problems in difficult areas. Ideally, a ground cover should be dense enough to inhibit weeds. Groundcovers have many uses such as weed barriers, a transition between the lawn area and taller plants in the garden bed, and also to cover up bare spots where lawn grass either won’t grow or is too difficult to maintain. Or simply use as a design element , visual guides and to define space, use to link together ornamental plants, or as simple traffic barriers. Always select groundcovers according to your site’s conditions: Sun or Shade? Clay soil or sand? Moist or dry? Select groundcovers that will survive and thrive under your conditions. Before planting, always prepare the soil as you would for any other permanent type of planting. Perennial weed areas should be cleared before planting groundcovers, since most cannot compete against established weeds. Improper soil preparation is a frequent cause of groundcover failures. Space the plants according to their size, the immediate effect desired, and their rate of growth and habit. If the individual plants are spaced too far apart, weeding can be a problem and the time required for complete coverage can be quite long. On the other extreme, planting too closely together can be a needless waste of time, money and plant materials. Please refer to this chart in determining the approximate number of plants needed to cover your designated area. Caring for your newly planted groundcovers is vital to healthy, thriving plants. Weed control is a must until the groundcover is fully established. A 2 inch layer of mulch will help in the control of weeds. On slopes, coarse netting is also used to hold the slope until the groundcover is established. It may take up to two years to establish a groundcover area. Water requirements vary with different plants. Upon planting you will need to water regularly especially during hot periods throughout the summer, making sure they do not wilt. They need minimal watering until they become established, but after they are fully established, only water as needed during extreme dry periods throughout the summer.
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