Ask the Experts, Landscape InstallationOptimal Use of Ground Covers in Commercial LandscapingApril 17, 2023Ground covers are generally low-lying, perennial plants that spread and creep across areas of your landscape, providing aesthetic appeal while requiring little upkeep.Ground cover plants, much like mulch, offer a cost-effective solution for covering soil and add visual interest to a landscape design. These reliable and efficient plants are available in a diverse range of textures and colors, and they can address several different landscaping issues. Serving as an attractive finishing touch, they can enhance the overall appearance of any landscape.Ground cover enhances soil qualityGround covers increase the levels of humus in the soil. Humus is a type of organic fertilizer that is gradually released into the soil, helping nourish plants. The higher the organic matter present in the soil, the richer its humus content, and the more chances your plants will thrive. By promoting a rich and fertile environment, ground covers support optimal plant growth and development.Insulates the soilGround cover plants provide a layer of insulation that helps protect and regulate the temperature of the soil. In the warmer months, they assist in maintaining cooler soil temperatures by retaining moisture levels, which can reduce the need for additional watering and save money. Similarly, during the colder months, ground covers help to warm the soil, safeguarding plant roots from the low temperatures typical of the winter season. This dual function of insulation and protection makes ground cover a valuable addition to any landscape.Prevents soil erosionGround cover plants are especially useful in preventing soil erosion, particularly in sloping areas or hillsides. Certain types of ground cover can help anchor the soil in place, protecting it from the effects of wind and rain.EvergreensAmong ground cover plants, evergreens are the most widely used because they retain their color throughout the year. They can transform a dull and lifeless landscape into a lush and vibrant one, regardless of the season. Moreover, they are low-maintenance and thrive in a variety of environmental conditions, including different soil types and levels of sun exposure.Ground covers also play a role in weed control by preventing weed seeds from germinating. As the ground cover grows and matures, it physically suppresses the growth of weeds, further reducing the need for weed management.Southern Botanical possesses extensive knowledge of the most suitable plant varieties for specific environments. Below, we have shared some of our preferred ground covers and how they can address various landscaping issues.Landscaping Challenges1. ZonesNot every plant is well-suited for all climates and environments. Therefore, it can be challenging to determine whether the plant you’ve become fond of will thrive in your particular landscape. However, there’s no need to worry!The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a map that categorizes the country into different climate zones with distinct boundaries. These zones correspond to the recommendations provided on plants, shrubs, and trees by growers.2. ShadeShaded and wet areas of your landscape have the tendency to drown out some plant roots.Sweet Woodruff – With a height range of 6 to 12 inches and a spread of 9 to 18 inches, Sweet Woodruff thrives in dense shade, making them an excellent choice for planting below trees and shrubs. Their petite white flowers typically blossom in the early spring.Bishop’s Weed – is a fast-growing and invasive plant that can reach a height of 12 inches and spread limitlessly. It comes in a wide array of leaf choices but is particularly suitable for confined areas like the space between buildings or a building and a sidewalk. However, it is not an evergreen plant as it sheds its leaves during winter.Ajuga – can reach a height of 4 to 9 inches and has a boundless spread due to its aggressive runners, making it potentially invasive if not adequately maintained. However, its density makes it ideal for covering large areas and suppressing weeds. The plant offers a variety of options with leaves that come in shades of green, maroon, bronze, purple, pink, or white. In mid to late spring, it produces tiny spikes of pink, blue, white, or lavender flowers.Lamium – has a height of 6 to 8 inches and spreads almost twice as wide, this plant features delicate silver-marked foliage that can endure cold, heat, and drought.Periwinkle – can reach a height of 3 to 6 inches and have trailing vines that extend up to 18 inches long. Their flowers, which come in blue, lavender, purple, or white, usually blossom in the spring, with a possibility of a less impressive second bloom in the summer. The plant is highly versatile and can thrive in both full sun and full shade while tolerating drought conditions. Furthermore, it helps in preventing soil erosion. These vines require little maintenance and are resistant to deer and rabbits, while most insects tend to ignore them.3. DroughtEven if the area where you live doesn’t receive much rainfall, you don’t necessarily have to give up on having vibrant foliage. Many ground covers are capable of thriving in hot and dry conditions. Today, commercial landscapers are increasingly using drought-resistant plants in order to conserve natural resources and reduce expenses.Some good examples of ground covers that can withstand heat are Dragon’s Blood Sedum, Pink Creeping Myoporum, Japanese Spurge, Creeping Phlox, Creeping Thyme, and English Ivy. Trust your professional team at Southern BotanicalSouthern Botanical’s team of Dallas commercial landscaping experts have the necessary expertise and understanding to help you in choosing the appropriate ground cover for your specific area and property requirements. Get in touch with us today.