Tip of the Week
October 6, 2008
Low-maintenance ground covers
Tired of trimming around your trees every time you mow?
If you have to spend a lot of time hand trimming around your deciduous trees after you mow, consider planting a low-maintenance ground cover under them. October is a great time to tackle this project and you will reap the rewards every time you mow!
Just follow the following simple steps:
- Use a garden hose to outline the area under the tree that you will be planting and carefully remove the grass by hand or spray with RoundUp to kill the grass.
- Starting 4-5 inches from the trunk, add 4-5 inches of good topsoil and then 2-3 inches of compost or other good organic material.
- On top of this add (for every 100 square feet):
- Espoma Holly-tone: 4-7 lbs
- Espoma Triple Phosphate: 3-5 lbs
- Espoma Green sand: 5-10 lbs
- Use a fork to mix all these amendments together well.
- Rake the bed smooth, plant your ground cover, and then mulch three inches deep with a good quality mulch.
- Water your new bed slowly and gently to put down 1½” of water.
There are many attractive perennial ground covers that compete well with tree roots and tolerate the dry shady conditions that exist in this little microclimate.
- For a beautiful evergreen ground cover, try Ajuga, Epimeduim, Liriope, or Vinca.
- Lamium maculatum is another good choice, as are many of the low growing Hosta cultivars and the variegated Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum').