En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Ground covering around cypresses in pool area

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 25, 2008

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground covering around cypresses in pool area
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have multiple cypress trees planted along our pool area..they shed way too much..but I'm looking for something to put under and around them over the dirt..do you suggest wood chips or a ground covering..the problem is they shed and its difficult to keep the area clean around them..but I'm tired of just looking at dirt around the bases..what do you suggest??

ANSWER:

Our first choice would probably be shredded bark mulch, which we think is attractive, keeps weeds down and the roots of the plants cool (or warm). However, we do see your problem-if you rake the leaves and other tree debris, it's going to be very difficult to avoid raking up the mulch you just so neatly put down. Were the trees there first or the pool? It just seems like a poor choice to plant trees that are going to cause the need for constant cleanup both in the pool and on the surrrounding area. However, you have the trees, you have the pool, let's see what other possibilities we can come up with.

Dichondra macrantha (Asian ponyfoot) was very popular in southern California in the 1950's and 1960's as a grass substitute for lawns. It is a native of New Zealand and Australia and in some places in the United States it is considered a weed. There are, however, members of the same family that are native to North America and might well serve the purpose here: Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot) and Dichondra argentea (silver ponysfoot). The silver ponysfoot is a particular favorite of ours, and, although it is a native of Texas and other southwestern states, should be able to do well in southern California. This will certainly hold and cover the dirt you are tired of looking at, won't need to be mowed, and maybe won't be too terribly difficult to rake for tree debris. Another possibility, native to California is Festuca californica (California fescue) which is 8 - 12" high, tolerates some shade but is best in full sun. This also does not need to be mowed, and is graceful and attractive. It should withstand raking fairly well. None of these will take a lot of foot traffic, but if you are just looking for something to make the area under and around your cypresses more sightly, they are worth investigating.

If you need a source of native plants, go to our Suppliers section, type the name of your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscaping professionals in your general area.


Dichondra carolinensis

Dichondra argentea

Festuca californica

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcover for beachside planting in Florida
March 02, 2011 - What type of ground cover is best for beachside planting. Looking to replace lawn with salt tolerant, weed resistant, drought tolerant, little mowing, insect resistant ground cover. Any flowers are a ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Lighthouse Point FL
April 13, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I am looking for mowable ground cover for part of my back yard. Due to a Mahogany tree, a hammock, surrounding foliage and a fence, there is alot of shade in the area, alon...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
June 24, 2012 - What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?
view the full question and answer

New gardener on lawn for Poolville TX
April 28, 2012 - I have never had the opportunity to have a nice yard until recently when I got married. My husband loves a nice yard and we have worked very hard and put in hours of work. We are learning by trial a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center