The Q&A Archives: When to plant ground cover

Question: It's mid-October in central Ohio. Is it too late to plant groundcover? I have a dry very shady area where grass won't grow.

Thanks, Mary

Answer: The rule of thumb is to plant at least eight weeks before the ground freezes, but in my experience that is not long enough for small sized transplants or even for perennials in four inch pots. Small groundcover starts are so shallow rooted they will be prone to frost heaving during the freeze thaw cycles of both fall and spring. I think it is about a month too late. However you could still prepare the planting area and mulch it well to protect it from erosion this winter, then be ready to plant as soon as the plants you need become available in the spring. You may also find that the plant selection is better in the spring. Good luck with your project!

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