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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.

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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.

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Saturday - March 21, 2009

From: Harvard , MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for Massachusetts
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We are trying to kill poison ivy in shaded areas bordering our driveway and want to plant something quickly to replace it. There are many tall trees in this area, mainly pine and oak, and the soil is not very good. What do you recommend? (Saw an answer for CA but the plants did not seem Northeast suitable!) We would like an attractive ground cover, flowering if possible. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Here are some Massachusetts natives that make nice ground covers:

Antennaria plantaginifolia (woman's tobacco)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger)

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Geum canadense (white avens)

Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal)

Lycopodium digitatum (fan clubmoss)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Check the "Growing Conditions" for each one to determine which would do the best in your site.


Antennaria plantaginifolia

Asarum canadense

Cornus canadensis

Gaultheria procumbens

Geum canadense

Hydrastis canadensis

Lycopodium digitatum

Mitchella repens

Polystichum acrostichoides

Viola pedata

Viola sororia

 

 

 

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