Best Ground Covers for Roadsides

By Charlie Nardozzi

For more information and to view the All-Star Ground Cover database, go to: Cornell University.

With an increased concern about the use of herbicides and pesticides on lawns, many gardeners are looking for alternative plants to grow along roadsides or on slopes. To help gardeners make the right selection for their situation, Cornell University has created an all-star database of ground covers for use along roadsides and in "difficult" spaces.

For five years, Cornell researchers trialed more than 100 herbaceous ornamental ground covers and evaluated them for tolerance to road salt, weed suppression ability, maintenance requirements, and season-long aesthetic appeal. For example, they found creeping red thyme and dwarf goldenrod had good tolerance to road salt. Lady's mantle, lamb's ears, and peppermint had good weed suppression characteristics and tolerated harsh roadside conditions. For each plant there's growing information, susceptibility to pests and diseases, and best uses in the landscape.

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