The Q&A Archives: Clover-like ground cover under large tree?

Question: I just moved into a new home with several large trees in the backyard. One Walnut, one Pecan, and one I like to call a Crapper. I have no idea what the tree is, but its size easily competes with the nut trees, and it drops tons of small red and yellow berry-like seeds, and long, almost furry-looking tendrils. It also has a rather sticky sap that seems to fall from every part of the tree. The rest of the back yard is mostly weeds, but nothing seems to be growing under that tree, or the Walnut. I would like to plant some ground cover there, and in an adjacent stepping stone pathway, but I'm unsure it will survive. I'm transplanting a start from a neighbors yard, but I don't know the name of the ground cover. It looks like dense, tiny, clover leaves, and she says its grows extremely well in shade. From what I've seen it climbs well over small rocks, and garden decorations as well. Any suggestions as to how I can help it florish in my previously neglected back yard?

Answer: What you describe might be Pratia, a wonderful groundcover for both sun and shade. It's a creeper and produces tiny blue flowers in the early spring. Of all the groundcovers I have grown, this one is the best!

There is no easy solution for rehabilitating a neglected yard other than to start at one end and work your way through. I'd make it a point to dig in some organic matter after removing the weedy growth. Then plant your favorite plants and water them well. With a little TLC, you can reclaim your yard. Enjoy!

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