Posts Tagged ‘erosion control’

Ground Cover Basics for Erosion Control, Beautification, and Elegant Focal Points

June 30th, 2014

A lot of attention is paid to beds, borders, foundations, and focal points when it comes to home and commercial gardening, but just about any landscape might benefit from well-placed ground cover plants.? A wide variety of ground cover plants are available, but a few choices deliver vivid greens, alluring colors, and hard-to-match benefits to gardens with special needs.? Among the ground covers that benefit just about every garden are:

*?Sedums

*?Vincas

*?Ajuga

*?Pachysandra

*?Virginia Creeper

*?Purple Wintercreeper

*?Thymes

 

The most easily recognized benefit of ground covers is their quick delivery for healthy growth in areas that often are inhospitable to other plant varieties.? Attractive, resilient, and hardy,ground covers?put out runners for growth above and below the surface.? Crawling along the ground on vines, these persevering growers put out tiny root systems to ensure optimum health even in rough conditions.

Because of their root-to-runner grow style, ground cover plants make excellent heirloom pass alongs.? Most will make themselves at home in a pot of dirt with a little drink of water every day.? Just pinch a healthy offshoot, pot in healthy soil, water gently, and grow a gift for a friend.

 

Five Benefits Ground Cover Plants Offer

Other benefits of ground cover plants are not always so easily recognized, but gardeners in need are quick to point out that ground covers are excellent for:

*erosion control

*beautification of bare spots

*shady spots beneath shrubs and other sun blockers

*filling gaps between stepping stones

*creating elegant focal points throughout rock gardens

 

Where run off inhibits other types of plantings or streams and creeks eat away at banks, ground covers are helpful resources for soil stabilization.? Despite its delicate appearance, ajuga holds banks and other steep slopes together quite well.? Available in a variety of colors, ajuga adds zing to gardens with showy leaves across a delightful spectrum and stalks of flowers in spring.? Additionally, purple wintercreeper is of great benefit along slopes and banks.? Tolerant of all conditions, except swamp to marsh, purple creeper will grow from 24-60 inches a year once established.? A vining ground cover, purple creeper is known to climb as well as it crawls, creating romantic views along garden walls, streams, and rock banks.

Many conditions contribute to bare spots in otherwise verdant yards.? Lack of sun, poor soil quality, and drought might lead to brown dust spots, but one condition that is quite likely to exist within certain yards is juglone toxicity.? Certain trees such as hackberry and black walnut secret the chemical juglone that is toxic to a broad spectrum of other plants.? Rather than cutting these trees that provide a wide variety of benefits as well, simply consider which plants grow best around them.? Among the ground covers that prove quite tolerant to juglone are:

*?vincas

*?virginia creepers

*?ajuga

 

Quite quick to spread, vincas and ajuga produce attractive foliage and flowers, while virginia creeper presents star-like flowers along sturdy vines, creating habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.

Pachysandra terminalis?is an exceptional and elegant choice for creating a sense of longevity even in newly cultivated gardens.? Growing to heights of 8-12 inches, pachysandra is ideal for filling in areas between hedges and other shrubs where other plantings may not thrive.? Preferring partial shade, pachysandra surprises where sun finds it, too.

 

Rock and Ground Cover Gardens Combine for Pollinator Safe Havens

Wherever rocks interrupt your garden, either by nature or by design, ground covers may be introduced to stunning effects.? Sedums, ajugas, and thymes are quite forgiving of the sometimes drier conditions of rock walls, and their surprising bursts of lively color are sure to delight visitors to your garden.? In fact, creating a stone/ rock garden where these ground covers thrive makes good sense for the health of your broader Eden as each attracts pollinators.? Ajuga is famed for its attraction success for hummingbirds and butterflies.? Thyme beckons bees. Sedum astounds as nearly a dozen types of butterflies hasten to it.? Your rock garden becomes a pollinator garden before your eyes.

There’s often more to ground cover than meets the eyes so wrap your garden in it with abandon.

 

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The 4 Most Used Ground Cover Plants for Problem Areas

September 11th, 2010

Groundcover plants are often forgotten in garden or landscape design until a problem occurs such as erosion. Here you will learn about ground cover plant varieties that are most commonly used to solve problems in the garden and landscape.

Vinca, both vinca major and vinca minor, is one of the most versatile groundcovers. It grows in both full sun and shade. An evergreen, vinca forms a mat securely attaching to the soil. The sprouts grow, fall over and form a new root system where they touch the ground. Vinca major grows taller, in the 12 inch and up range, before falling to the ground, whereas, vinca minor is a shorter tighter grower. While either plant variety can become invasive when left to grow without any control measures, they can generally be grown within confined spaces with some maintenance.

The English Ivy and Baltic Ivy, also, grow in both sun and shaded spaces, but do require more attention when planted near foundations, as they are dedicated climbers. Their climbing causes long-term damage, whether on larger plants or buildings, so preventative measures should be taken, such as pruning some of the taller growing sprouts. With that said, ivy is a beautiful groundcover and a great choice for shaded landscape settings.

With the many varieties of pachysandra available, there is sure to be one that will work in most any situation. Pachysandra terminalis is most commonly used but the variegated and Green Sheen varieties are now becoming more widely available to offer more choices. Growing mostly in areas of partially sunny to filtered shade, pachysandra will get off to a slower start compared to vinca or ivy.

Truly underused is ground cover euonymus. Often called wintercreeper, there are many different varieties with as many different looks. Purple wintercreeper is the most common variety. The Euonymus Woolong Ghost is really interesting with its dark green leaves spiked with white veins. The Woolong Ghost is mat forming and can climb if given the opportunity. The Euonymus Kewensis offers tiny green leaves and is an excellent creeper. The Kewensis really shows its talents when planted in spaces where it can drape over such as retaining walls or rock gardens. Creeping euonymus varieties grow in full sun to partially shaded areas.

Typical spacing for ground cover plants is 12 to 18 inches apart. Bare root plants can be planted 6 to 8 inches apart for a quicker fill in.

When planting on sloped areas, use an independent sprinkler, the type that attaches to a hose. The sprinkler will need to be run until water soaks down several inches. The time for this will vary so it is best to check the soil each time it is run. How often to water will depend on local factors, but in many cases should be done every 3 to 5 days after planting for the first 6 to 8 weeks for the plants to fully establish a newer root system and begin growing. Checking the soil allows you to monitor and make the proper adjustments. If the soil is extremely dry after 3 days, you may need to water every 2 days instead. Rainfall isn’t dependable and often just runs down the surface of the ground without being absorbed into the soil.

Mulching around groundcovers can be difficult, especially on sloped areas. For sloped areas, I recommend putting down a thin layer of straw. The straw will protect the young new plants from the sun’s heat, heavy rainfall, which can wash bare root plants out of their holes and down the hill, as well as keep the soil cool and moist. Straw decomposes and helps to build up the soil. Once the plants have fully established and are beginning to grow any remaining straw can be removed and mixed into other areas of the garden or landscape.

Whether you choose vinca, ivy, pachysandra or groundcover euonymus, these groundcover plants are going to be the best choices for the job. With limited amount of care and maintenance, they are quick to establish a newer root system and begin new top growth on their way to solving your landscaping problem.

Visit with us at Greenwood Nursery. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

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