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Friday - September 05, 2008

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


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.


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

















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