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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Thursday - June 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Vines
Title: Parthenocissus quinquefolia as replacement for Asiatic jasmine
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

The deer have stripped the Asiatic jasmine groundcover under my clusters of live oak trees in Southwest Austin. This year the bare areas of ground are covered in Virginia creeper seedlings. I have been pulling them out but am wondering if the creeper could be used for a natural ground cover in place of the jasmine, as the deer do not seem to bother it. Would the creeper get too tall, or could it be trimmed to keep it low (no more than 6-8 inches tall)? I love it as a vine but have not seen it used as a ground cover.

ANSWER:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) will make a nice groundcover beneath your live oak tree, but not without some maintenance. Virginia creeper always wants to climb and will seize every opportunity to do so. You will need to regularly cut back stems that begin to run up your trees, walls or over shrubs. Of course, if you wish it to climb on some structure in your garden, it will happily oblige. Other than that, Virginia creeper will stay close to the ground without any pruning. It does not pile stem upon stem and form a thick mat like Asian jasmine.

 

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