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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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Sunday - April 01, 2012

From: Brockton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for Massachusetts campus
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our campus is converting to more sustainable landscaping practices, and in the process we are planting native plants and removing lawn. Thus we would like to replace the lawn, and some invasive groundcovers such as Vinca and Pachysandra, between the buildings and the sidewalk with hardy groundcovers. Many of the buildings have an overhang, so part of the ground will be quite dry and part will be exposed to moisture, and of course there are a variety of sun exposures.

ANSWER:

Congratulations for moving to sustainable native plants to replace your invasive groundcovers!  Here are some suggestions for groundcovers that could be used in combination to fill your various sun and soil moisture situations.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is evergreen, grows in sun, part shade and shade and in both dry and moist soil.

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry dogwood) is semi-evergreen depending on the severity of the winter and grows in moist soil in sun, part shade and shade.

Lycopodium digitatum (Fan clubmoss) prefers dry shade and part shade and is evergreen.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) will grow in dry and moist habitats in shade and part shade and is evergreen.

Sedum ternatum (Wild stonecrop) grows in moist part shade and is described as semi-evergreen or evergreen.  In Massachusetts, it is probably semi-evergreen depending on the severity of the winter.

Gaultheria procumbens (Checkerberry) for part shade and shade in dry and moist soil and is evergreen.

Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper) is evergreen and likes sun and part shade and dry rocky soils.  Here are photos from North Carolina State University.  You can read about several different cultivars described on the University of Connecticut Plant Database.

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Bunchberry dogwood
Cornus canadensis

Fan clubmoss
Lycopodium digitatum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Woodland stonecrop
Sedum ternatum

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

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