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Wednesday - June 29, 2011

From: Brewster, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Low groundcovers for MA
Answered by: Anne Bossart


We are developing ground mounted solar installations in southeastern MA. We are seeking advice for native groundcover species for our various regions (coastal meadows, etc). Species like bearberry and low-bush blueberry are typical. Are there others (and perhaps some annuals) that you can recommend? We must keep to less than 24" to avoid shading the panels.


You will ultimately be limited in your choices by what plants are available in the nurseries in your area, but can begin the process by visiting our Native Plant Database.  If you do a Combination Search selecting All Habits, Sun, Moist or Dry Conditions (depending on your site) and a height of 1-3 feet, it will generate a list of plants that you can consider for your project.  It will give you perennials, annuals, grasses and small shrubs.  You will find Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry) and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) on that list.  

Here are some other tough plants native to your area to consider (you will have to verify moisture requirements as we have not selected for that):

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Coreopsis verticillata (Threadleaf coreopsis)

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry)

Hierochloe odorata (Sweetgrass)

Iris versicolor (Harlequin blueflag)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly)

Potentilla arguta (Tall cinquefoil)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve (Smooth blue aster)

Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Lingonberry)

Planting a mixed meadow of plants like these will not interfere with your solar installation but will be attractive and provide wildlife habitat benefits.  That's a win/win!


From the Image Gallery

Late lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Asclepias tuberosa

Threadleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata

Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Hierochloe odorata

Harlequin blueflag
Iris versicolor

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Tall cinquefoil
Potentilla arguta

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

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