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
4 ratings

Wednesday - September 02, 2009

From: Modesto, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native groundcover for central California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In Modesto, CA. Hot summers, cold winters. Need a low ground cover for area next to driveway approx. 5ft X 14ft. that stays green all year round. I did have grass there but neigbors lawn is loaded with crabgrass and it was impossible to keep this out. I need a solution, please

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita has a wonderful website with excellent information about native California plants.  They have a groundcover page that divides the ground covers into three categories—less than one foot high, one to two feet high and two feet and higher.  Here are a few from the 'less than one foot high' category:

Symphoricarpos mollis (creeping snowberry)

Clinopodium douglasii (yerba buena) [syn. = Satureja douglasii]

Fragaria vesca ssp. californica (woodland strawberry) [syn. = Fragaria californica]

I can't guarantee that these will keep the crab grass out, but they certainly would be attractive in your site.  You can look at the others on the Las Pilitas page for suitability for your site.  You can learn more about most of them by searching in our Native Plant Database using their botanical name.


Symphoricarpos mollis

Fragaria vesca

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Evergreen groundcover or ornamental grass to plant under tree
November 09, 2007 - What can I plant under my tree as a groundcover? I would like an evergreen groundcover, how about ornamental grasses?
view the full question and answer

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Southern California clay slope
April 02, 2012 - I have a 30 ft. high by 96 ft. long slope with clay soil slope that I want to plant a low height ground cover. Any recommendations on what ground cover possibilities to use.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover for full sun in Alabama
August 02, 2013 - Mr. Smartyplants, can you suggest a native, evergreen, full-sun groundcover that might thrive in zone 8a? We hope to find a mass planting that would look good beside Heuchera villosa 'autumn bride,...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for Miami FL
March 27, 2013 - What is a ground cover that does not need mowing or a lot of water and survives in South Florida heat and is also native to the area? I would like to turn my lawn into a more natural self-sustaining a...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center