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Monday - October 06, 2014

From: Tilghman, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Groundcover for Critical Area Buffer Zone in Maryland
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Help RE: Maryland Critical Area Buffer Zone. Is there a low or no- mow grass native to Maryland that can be used in a Critical Area Buffer Zone. The area is Sunny/Clay. Or can you recommend a ground cover that can be walked on? All the grasses I find are very tall.

ANSWER:

According to the Step-by-Step Guide Buffer Management Plans: Planting Plan and Landscape Schedule from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

"All species in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publication entitled Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping – Chesapeake Bay Watershed are acceptable species that may be used to meet Buffer mitigation or establishment requirements."

You can see  this list of plant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service at Chesapeake Bay Watershed Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping.

Two of their groundcover grasses that are recommended are:

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has a list of ground covers in the article, Creating a Wild Back Yard—Ground Covers.  Although the species that they mention would make an attractive native groundcover, they are not necessarily going to withstand heavy foot traffic.  There are two Phlox species recommended: 

On the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's webpage the article, Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape, by John Greenlee suggests sedges as a substitute for lawn grasses.  Two of the sedges he suggests that are native to Maryland are:

Another sedge that is native to Maryland but not named in the article is Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge).  It will grow in sun and part shade and a variety of soils, including clay.  You can find more information and photos at Missouri Plants.

 

From the Image Gallery


Creeping phlox
Phlox stolonifera

Creeping phlox
Phlox stolonifera

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

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