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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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Wednesday - September 02, 2009

From: Modesto, CA
Region: California
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native groundcover for central California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In Modesto, CA. Hot summers, cold winters. Need a low ground cover for area next to driveway approx. 5ft X 14ft. that stays green all year round. I did have grass there but neigbors lawn is loaded with crabgrass and it was impossible to keep this out. I need a solution, please

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita has a wonderful website with excellent information about native California plants.  They have a groundcover page that divides the ground covers into three categories—less than one foot high, one to two feet high and two feet and higher.  Here are a few from the 'less than one foot high' category:

Symphoricarpos mollis (creeping snowberry)

Clinopodium douglasii (yerba buena) [syn. = Satureja douglasii]

Fragaria vesca ssp. californica (woodland strawberry) [syn. = Fragaria californica]

I can't guarantee that these will keep the crab grass out, but they certainly would be attractive in your site.  You can look at the others on the Las Pilitas page for suitability for your site.  You can learn more about most of them by searching in our Native Plant Database using their botanical name.


Symphoricarpos mollis

Fragaria vesca

 

 

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