The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover For Shady Seashore Lot

Question: Our summer home is in Cape May, New Jersey. We live 1/2 block from the bay side of the ocean. Our lot is 100'x100'ft with alot of shade from holly and big oak trees. I would like a ground cover that would soften the look and keep down the weeds. I like ferns and ivy but I am not sure what would do well in this environment. Any suggestions?

Answer: There are several groundcovers you might try; their success and speed of growth will depend on how dry the soil is under the trees. English ivy (Hedera helix), creeping myrtle (Vinca minor), and Epimedium should all do fairly well. I would expect the soil to be too dry for ferns to thrive without supplemental watering. Whichever plants you try, to increase their coverage rate you should be sure to amend the soil with ample amounts of organic matter such as compost, rotted leaves, or aged stable manure and bedding and plan to water them regularly until they are well established.

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