Appropriate ground covers - Knowledgebase Question

Little Plymouth, VA
Avatar for janescho1
Question by janescho1
May 11, 2006
I am looking for appropriate ground covers to be used to stablize a sunny river bank with sandy soil and a SW exposure. All plant material would be above the water line. Ideally the plant material would NOT require maintenance except for watering during times of drought.

Answer from NGA
May 11, 2006
There are a number of plants you could use such as Vinca minor, Hedera helix, Ligularia nummularia aurea, Liriope, Moss Pink (Phlox subulata), Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra terminalis) or Ornamental grasses (numerous genera, species, and cultivars) for starters. They will all grow best if the soil is well prepared prior to planting. This means loosening the soil down six to ten inches and adding some organic matter such as good quality compost, chopped rotted leaves, aged manure and stable bedding, or similar material) plus some coarse sand or fine grit. You may also need to adjust your pH based on soil test results. After planting, you will need to care for them until they become established. This means watering as needed to supplement rain and keep the soil slightly moist (not sopping wet or saturated) and mulching between them to help keep the soil moist, hold down weeds, and feed the soil slowly as it breaks down over time. Your local county extension and professional nursery staff may have additional suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the planting area and your design goals. Good luck with your ground cover!

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