Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Drought-Tolerant, Evergreen Groundcover for CA
August 21, 2014 - We are looking for a drought tolerant, evergreen groundcover for California. I am considering Sarcococca hookeriana and Cotoneaster dammeri but don't know if they're the best options for the area. I...
view the full question and answer

Need ground cover plants to grow in the shade a large oak in San Antonio, TX
March 09, 2015 - We have a large backyard in San Antonio covered with live oak and red oak. Since grass does not do well in this shade / bright shade area I would like to plant a low growing ground cover and then add...
view the full question and answer

Santa Fe orchard groundcovers
September 05, 2008 - 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 ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Orange County, Florida
April 14, 2012 - I live in Central FL (Winter Park)and I have a small, mostly sunny (no trees) backyard next to a large in-ground swimming pool which fills up with the leaves of my neighbor's oak trees. The backyard ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Maryland Slope in Deer Country
July 03, 2016 - I have a 20-30% grade hill in Maryland. I am looking for a groundcover plant (for example ivy) that I can plant on the hill. I have the following issues: clay soil, deer, full sun, limited water sourc...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.