En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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
1 rating

Friday - September 05, 2008

From: santa fe, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Santa Fe orchard groundcovers
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Howdy We were wondering what kind of ground cover you would suggest to use in a sunny area that has a few new apple trees [7' high]. The area is about 80' x 100 '. The soil is clay & was used to build the adobe home we live in in 1949. I thought some type of buffalo grass would do well. Dogs will run in this area occasionally. There's also an area under an 25' apricot tree,mostly shaded that we would like to put a low maintenance ground cover under under. No dogs there. We're new to NM. Thanks for any advice you can give.

ANSWER:

Buffalo grass might be a good choice for your apple orchard. There are any number of cultivars on the market these days. A local grass dealer would be able to assist you with choosing a cultivar that is best adapted for your climate. An even better groundcover would be a buffalo / blue grama mix. In dry areas like yours a combination of Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) make an excellent turf.

The same groundcovers may work for the area beneath your apricot, though if the shade is dense, the grass will struggle there. A groundcover native to western Texas and southern New Mexico that might work in your area is Dichondra argentea (silver ponysfoot). It will grow in gairly heavy shade and is just lovely in the summer, though it tends to disappear in the winter months.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Dichondra argentea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
March 15, 2013 - What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shady area in north Texas
July 29, 2013 - I'm looking for a ground cover for a mostly shady area where St. Augustine won't grow. I don't want the ground cover to overtake my established St. Augustine in the rest of the yard. The area is un...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for drainage ditch in Bastrop
October 02, 2008 - A friend in Bastrop has a drainage ditch in front where she'd like to use a groundcover. Normally it's very dry, but when it rains, can have 1-2" of water. Gets mostly sun. I was wondering about ...
view the full question and answer

Aggressive Frogfruit
September 17, 2009 - I have frogfruit voluntarily growing in my flower beds. I had intended to use it as a ground cover but am concerned that it is taking over. Will it kill (smother) my flowers that I have planted for bu...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Boston MA
March 12, 2013 - We have a small back yard that gets great sun in spring before the leaves are fully back on the tall trees surrounding the perimeter, and then a lot of shade in summer. We have weird patchy grass and ...
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