The Q&A Archives: Searching For Ground Cover Options

Question: I'm looking to reduce the size of my 3 acre lawn by planting low growing ground covers. I don't know what to use or what is available for full sun, zones 3-4, relatively low growing and flowers for most of the summer.

Answer: Here are some possibilities. You might want to try several in different patches to see what performs best in your conditions. Wooly yarrow (Achillea tomentosa) makes a flat mat of deep green hairy leaves with golden flowers on 6-10 inch stems in summer. Takes full sun and moderate water. Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans) spreads quickly with runners. It has flowers on 4 inch spikes. Many varieties are available. However, it is susceptible to rot if drainage is poor. It takes full sun and regular water. Arenaria is often used as a lawn substitute. It has small white flowers in late spring and summer. It takes full sun and regular water. Phlox subulata (Moss Pink) reaches about 6 inches high. It blooms in late spring or early summer. There are many varieties available. Evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is 8-12 inches high with shiny dark green leaves. There are many varieties with different bloom times. Some flowers are tall enough to use as cut flowers.

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