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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.

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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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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!

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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.

 

 

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