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Mr. Smarty Plants - Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas

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Wednesday - January 09, 2008

From: Paris, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or grass to keep the trails from being too muddy. The trails are mostly shaded. I want a hardy, low maintence cover. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

This is a toughie in two respects: (1) most of the grasses, sedges and perennials are not all that low-growing and, (2) the ones that are would probably not be thrilled with foot traffic. As edgings or border, however, a number of them could work to help prevent erosion and also to mark the trails. We have been in a number of East Texas state parks where pine trees were plentiful, and they had paths mulched with pine needles, which made a nice footing, soaked up moisture and helped to keep weeds down. If you are in an area where pine needles are freely available, you might consider that as an alternative. We did come up with a number of suggestions for plant material that might work in your situation:

GRASSES AND SEDGES

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass)

LOW-GROWING PERENNIALS:

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Oxalis drummondii (Drummond's woodsorrel)

Packera obovata (roundleaf ragwort)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Viola pubescens var. pubescens (downy yellow violet)

When you have read the descriptions of these plants and made a selection, you will probably want to go to our Native Plant Suppliers list to find one convenient for you; contact them and find out what is available, and whether they might have viable alternatives to suggest.


Bouteloua curtipendula

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Nassella tenuissima

 


Adiantum capillus-veneris

Callirhoe involucrata

Calyptocarpus vialis

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Oxalis drummondii

Packera obovata

Phlox divaricata

Phyla nodiflora

Viola pubescens var. pubescens
 

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