groundcover - Knowledgebase Question

Rochester, MN (Zone 4)
Question by kmkidd
April 4, 2005
I have a slope of approx 35 degrees where I enter the back yard through a gate with a lawn tractor to mow. I have been unable to maintain grass on the slope. Is there some other groundcover tough enough to maintain the frequent use? It needs to be hardy in Minnesota.

Answer from NGA
April 4, 2005


Here are some groundcover options that take full sun and cold winters:

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. You might also consider a low-growing, mat-forming juniper.

Here are a few groundcovers that take shade and should tolerate your cold winters: Vinca (periwinkle), partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), English ivy (Hedera helix), and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis).

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