Lawn Care Tips

As a lawn care provider for 20+ years, my aim here is to provide some helpful hints, tips and advice to those who want to increase the health and appearance of the lawn they care for. Whether you are new to lawn care or an old hand, you will find information here that will save you time, money and wasted effort. Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My Favorite Ground Cover In Areas Close To My Lawn

Years ago I was not much of a fan of ground covers. They always seemed too invasive and too hard to maintain. Then I discovered pachysandra, sometimes referred to as pachysandra terminalis or Japanese Spurge.

Pachysandra is a broadleaf evergreen that stands about a foot tall. It has a small off-white flower in the Spring that is not particularly showy. The foliage of pachysandra in the spring is green tinged with purple, in the summer it is bright green, and in the winter (or when planted in sunnier locations) it is a more yellow green. Pachysandra is a very shade tolerant plant and will do well in full to partial shade. It prefers a moist to wet, well-drained, loam or sandy soil that is rich in organic matter.

There are several reasons why I prefer pachysandra as a good multi-purpose ground cover. First, because - unlike so many other plants - it does well in dense shade. And because it will tolerate a pH range from 3.5 to 6.0, it will also grow under evergreens when many other plants will not. Additionally, pachysandra is extremely easy to grow and maintain in Climate Zones from 3 to 8.

One of the downsides of using pachysandra as a ground cover is its high cost when purchased at a garden center. It can easily cost $25 or more per flat. Another downside is that it is meant to initially be planted in a sparse one-foot grid pattern. So the first year you put in pachysandra it will not look its best; in fact, it will look its worst. The following year it will begin to fill in and start looking more like the ground cover it is. By the third year, it will be dense and standing proud.

Some of the reasons I am particularly fond of pachysandra include the following. If it creeps into the lawn it is easily removed or controlled. If your lawn starts to creep into the pachysandra it’s very easy to remove the grass without harming the pachysandra. One of my all-time favorite benefits of pachysandra is that in the Autumn when tree leaves fall onto pachysandra they do not need to be removed. All that is necessary is to take a soft broom or the back side of a lawn rake and gently sweep the top of the pachysandra. When you do this the dry leaves will fall down into the ground cover and out of sight. As those hidden leaves decay they will produce nutrients for the pachysandra. Lastly, although pachysandra is expensive when purchased, once established it is easy to transplant and start new sections of the ground cover in other areas of your landscape. If you have a friend or neighbor who has had pachysandra growing in their yard for three or more years, they might even be willing to let you have some clippings so that you can start cultivating your own.

So the next time you’re looking for a tough and versatile ground cover that will look good next to your lawn all year round, consider pachysandra. It’s my favorite. See photo below.

NEXT TIME: Keep That Mulch Off Your Lawn


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