The Q&A Archives: Low-Maintenance Flowering Ground Covers

Question: We have about an acre of ground behind our house. It is mostly too steep to mow or even walk on and is currently seeded to rye and a few trees. Later in the summer the rye becomes quite a fire hazard. Can we use some flowering ground cover here? How about ivy? We prefer something like creeping phlox. The bottom of the hill is to the south. We want very little maintenance. Help! John Hofman Dayton, WA

Answer: First, use an herbicide to get rid of the rye...I suggest Finale or Roundup. Here are some flowering ground covers: Goutweed (it dies back to the ground in the fall), Ajuga (tolerates both sun and shade), and Pachysandra (likes shade).

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