The Q&A Archives: ground cover

Question: I have planted some ground cover that is drought and heat tolerant, and though some of the 12 I planted bloom small blooms, they are all limp and look as if they are dying.
Grass grows well in the spot where I have the ground cover,which I have removed.
What could be the problem for this, and what should or could I do about it.

Answer: Without knowing what groundcover, when it was planted and how it is being watered, it's difficult to give a precise answer, but here are some possibilities. Assuming it was transplanted recently, the intense heat makes it difficult for plants to establish root systems. The roots can't uptake water fast enough to replace the moisture they lose from transpiration through their foliage, so they look wilted. A common reaction for gardeners when they see wilting is to apply more water, which in this scenario, makes the problem worse. Water forces oxygen out of the soil. Roots also need oxygen to thrive, so they rot in saturated soil. Water should penetrate to a depth of 6 to 12 inches (as deep as the rootball when you planted it, and just beyond) and soil should remain consistently moist while roots establish. Your goal is to water deeply and infrequently as possible. Stick your finger in the soil. When the top inch is dry apply more water. Add several inches of organic mulch to maintain soil moisture and reduce soil temperatures. You might also consider erecting a temporary shade cloth to give them some relief as they establish. Also transplant shock is common under the best conditions, and plants can bounce back after a couple weeks. Please feel free to send another email to the Q&A site with more detail if you wish.

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