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Establishing Ground Covers in Your Landscape

In order to make your landscape as functional as possible, we offer general advice below. Please contact us for site specific challenges or species.


Site Preparation 

  • Remove all perennial weeds before planting.

  • Ensure topsoil imported into new sites does not contain noxious or rhizomatous weeds and grasses.

  • Soil amendments are not always necessary because plant materials can be chosen to suit the soil type. Instead, if soil is sufficiently loosened (by spading, rototilling or aeration) to allow for easier planting and root establishment, the success rate is much higher and the job cost is kept lower. If organic matter is required, use well-aged compost.


Plant Choices and Spacing

  • In any landscape design, ground covers can be used alone to solve a problem or in combination to compliment other plantings. As a group of plants, they can help to provide a portion of the landscape at a cost that is less than other solutions.

  • The naturalizing and self-propagating aspects of ground covers help make the landscape appear older and more mature in a shorter period of time.

  • Suggested spacing chart represents approximate distance between pot centers for the various sizes of plant materials. Under a variety of conditions and from our experience, this will provide 80-90% coverage in two growing seasons.

  • Invasive potential of some species of ground covers is based on a multitude of environmental and maintenance factors. We recommend inquiring with us as to your design objectives and where possible, use slower spreading species or cultivars, or alternative maintenance practices to limit unintentional impacts. 


Care and Establishment

  • Organic mulches aid a great deal in the establishment of a planting, fine materials for the smaller ground covers and coarser for the larger varieties. Some ground cover species can tolerate mulching over crowns but err on the side of 1-2 inches in maximum depth. Once planted and mulched, weeds are suppressed or can be eliminated much easier when they appear. Moisture is also maintained at more favorable levels with less irrigation required.

  • Irrigation is needed immediately after planting to settle the plants, soil and mulch. After this, irrigation is necessary only on an “as needed” basis.

  • General rule of thumb during an extended dry spell is 1 inch of water per week.

  • Excess watering or poor drainage can lead to rotting of plant material before it can establish itself. Also, disease problems relating to mould and fungi are aggravated by over-watering and overhead irrigation systems. 

  • Winter protection of materials planted late in the year is recommended to reduce replacement costs and customer dissatisfaction.

  • Most damage occurs to evergreen and broadleaf evergreen materials from wind burning and frost heaving. Both are prevented by a winter cover of burlap or evergreen boughs which is removed the following spring after ground thaw.


Contract Growing 

  • We welcome the opportunity to discuss any custom or contract growing production for specific projects. 

  • Details regarding species, size, lead-time and application will be agreed to on a per-project basis.  


Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.

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