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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 19, 2012

From: Concord, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I've dried to grow white dutch clover in the past but to no success. It seems that the only live thing that can grow in the soil conditions is weeds. I'm looking for a drought resistant ground cover that can thrive in that kind of soil and be able to withstand full sunlight in the summertime.

ANSWER:

We're feeling lucky today. We were looking at previous Mr. Smarty Plants answers on groundcovers for California, and found this previous answer directed to Modesto CA, which is south of you but in about the same climate region. That answer directs you to Las Pilitas Nursery, which has an incredible website on plants for all uses and all native to California. They have much more information on California plants than we do.

We checked into the Trifolium repens (White Dutch Clover), and found this site frorm the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide. Apparently, it is considered an invasive weed, in addition to being non-native, having been introduced, probably in contaminated seed, from Europe, North Africa and West Africa. In fact, the "weeds" you are encountering in your garden may very well be grasses native to your area.

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Reply on Carolina Jasmine from San Antonio
March 06, 2009 - Thank you for your prompt reply to my question from San Antonio about removal of Carolina Jasmine. Just one note. In the "rate this answer" section my cursor dropped. I meant to give you four stars....
view the full question and answer

Removing invasives plants in Adairsville GA
September 29, 2009 - We just moved into a new house and kudzu, greenbriar and poison ivy are trying to take over. I pulled what I could out of the trees, cut everything off at the base of the vine. I even tried digging ...
view the full question and answer

Another plant with ice plant as the common name from Corpus Christi
June 17, 2010 - This is not a question, but your "ice plant" answer to El Cajon did not consider Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, which I believe is the common roadside succulent that ate California. God have mercy ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive creeping fig in Webster TX
May 26, 2013 - We've recently moved into a new home in the southeast Houston area. The back of our property has a long concrete wall (gets quite a bit of sun), which we thought we could cover with a spreading vine....
view the full question and answer

Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
July 12, 2013 - I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?
view the full question and answer

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