The Q&A Archives: Moss as groundcover surrounding swimming pool

Question: I am looking for a dense groundcover that will be low growing(no higher than 4 inches, stand up to foot traffic, require no mowing. I have been thinking Irish Moss may fit the bill. The area is fairly large - how fast will Irish Moss grow from seed, when should it be planted? The area now is compacted and hard as a rock so we will have to fill with appropriate soil - probably a sandy top soil. Does this sound like a workable plan? Area is partial shade.

Answer: I think in your area it may be difficult to establish the irish moss (normally started using small plants rather than seed). There are some other plants that might do better for you in your hot humid summers, however you may need to experiment and see which works best. I would possibly look at creeping thyme, mazus reptans, phlox subulata, low growing sedums, and Ajuga reptans for example. Most of these should bloom prior to swim season. As far as filling with appropriate soil, you should loosen the soil fairly deep, add organic matter such as compost, and mulch around the plants while you wait for them to fill in. You will also need to keep the plants watered and weeded until they fill in. Your local county extension and/or garden center staff should be able to make more specific plant suggestions also, based on a more detailed understanding of the planting site and what you are trying to achieve. Good luck with your project!

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