En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 Non-Natives Questions

Non-native tomato plant in Austin
August 30, 2010 - I have an upside-down tomato plant, started on July 4. For several weeks there have been 7 green tomatoes, with no further growth or ripening,despite daily watering. Am I doing something wrong?
view the full question and answer

Absence of blooms in non-native Rosa rugosa
June 30, 2008 - I have a rosa rugosa in my yard that was here when I moved in..and it has never bloomed. It is in a sunny spot, but there are never any flowers..not even a single bud on this trailing plant. I cut it ...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native Royal Empress tree
April 23, 2009 - We want to plant some fast-growing trees for shade for my horses. My friend wants to use Royal Empress trees. Can you tell me if these are toxic to horses (and also goats)? I have a lot of clay in t...
view the full question and answer

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Removal of non-native invasive Ligustrum japonica from Austin
February 14, 2012 - I bought a house that I am slowly turning into a native garden, but as a teacher, I have a really small budget. One entire border of my backyard (30 feet) was planted with evil Ligustrum japonica. I l...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center