En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Groundcover for sunny slope in Minnesota
May 24, 2016 - Hi, I'm from Apple Valley, MN. We backyard has large slope areas that get sun through out the day. We have huge weed and buck thorn problem. Can you please suggest a good ground covering plant that gr...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn in Carson City, NV
October 15, 2013 - I planted habiturf just south of Reno NV May 5. First two months no or little germination because nite temps too cold. Now doing ok except battling purslane and redstem filaree.. SO, I notice bare/spa...
view the full question and answer

Low Groundcover for Washington State
February 03, 2015 - I'm trying to find a perfect fit for my piece of land in the State of Washington. I would say that the area is partly sunny and a somewhat moist area. I'm looking for a species of very small everg...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
October 17, 2012 - I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover...
view the full question and answer

Fast Growing Groundcovers for Long Island
March 18, 2016 - Can you please suggest a few fast growing groundcovers suitable for the south shore of Long Island? The area is fairly sunny and dry.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center