Ground covers are one of the key elements of the modern low maintenance landscape. Properly chosen, and carefully installed, they last for many years with a minimum of care and attention. However, do not use aggressive, invasive ground covers in rock gardens. Extra time involved in planning and preparing the site will pay off over the long term.
- Look carefully at light, soil and moisture conditions first; and then try to find a plant that will tolerate what the site has to offer.
- Eradicate all perennial weeds with a non-selective herbicide, or smother them out by using a black plastic mulch for one year.
- Modify soil, if needed, by adding clean organic matter. Steep slopes may require stabilizing with wire mesh.
- Space plants closely enough to fill in completely within two to three growing seasons. Spacing them too far apart will allow weeds to become established.
- Use a thick organic mulch, such as bark chips, to minimize future weed problems. Hand weeding will still be required on occasion.
- Fertilize yearly in the spring to keep your ground cover thick and vigorous, which will help to keep out weeds.
Spacings given should provide a complete fill after two growing seasons. Space plants more closely together for faster results.