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Groundcover for Shade and Sun, Poor Drainage

This is a discussion on Groundcover for Shade and Sun, Poor Drainage within the General Gardening forums, part of the Garden Design and Gardening Tips Support Fourm category; Hello, I am brand new to the Backyardgardener but it looks absolutely fascinating. We have a backyard that badly needs ...

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Old 02-14-2009, 11:34 AM
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Question Groundcover for Shade and Sun, Poor Drainage

Hello, I am brand new to the Backyardgardener but it looks absolutely fascinating. We have a backyard that badly needs groundcover. We live in the city and our backyard faces north and the soil doesn't drain very well. It's about a third sun and the rest a lot of shade, zone 6A. It is probably about 35 feet across and 50 long. We have some things planted on the side, so I guess to start we would just plant the groundcover along the pathway down the middle. I've been reading about Dutch White Clover, Purple Wintercreeper and Evergreen Vinca. If anyone has any thing they might want to say about these choices, or something else, please do so. Also, we have a dog who uses the backyard a lot. Right now there's just mud mostly and some grass coming up. We'd like something evergreen, inexpensive, easy, tough and fast growing of course, but whatever will grow is No. 1. Thanks for any tips anyone might have.

Last edited by ediebluestar; 02-14-2009 at 05:48 PM. Reason: wrong information
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:56 AM
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Additional plants to consider for Zone 6 ground cover and with a dog.

CREEPING LILY TURF-Liriope spicata
GIANT LILYTURF-Liriope gigantea
LILAC BEAUTY LILYTURF-Liriope muscari 'Lilac Beauty'

Be careful of the plants you buy, they may become invasive and take over your garden.

Backyard
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:34 AM
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Hi Edie,

Thanks for the compliment about our site.

Here's some of my thoughts. I agree with Backyardgardener with the recommendation of the lilyturf plants as the are nearly indestructible. I have one of the clumping varieties called Liriope muscari. In the back yard my male dog uses it like a fire hydrant. The nice thing with these plants is they are cut to the ground in March and renew themselves with new growth each year in about 3 weeks. They aren't easy to walk through.

That brings me to another thought. Both the wintercreeper and the vinca are vine-like and will be nearly impossible to walk through. The wintercreeper will eventually grow up trees and fences, and anything else standing still, and can become a maintenance nightmare. Vinca has escaped cultivation and has invaded many natural areas. Dutch white clover also has runners and will slowly invade your planting beds, so you will need to keep up with it spreading. It's a nice compromise and my favorite of the choices you have listed.
http://www.versicolor.ca/lawns/docs/clover.html

Nothing much will take the constant foot traffic of dogs. I have 4 large dogs and a small back yard and have to resod every couple of years. The best material for the path would be some type of hardscape material with stepable groundcover around or between pavers/brick/slabs.

Have you thought about moss? There are many cultivated varieties.
http://www.mossacres.com/info.asp

You might want to use the search engines at these sites for stepable ground covers.
http://stepables.com/
http://classygroundcovers.com/

Let us know what other potentials you come up with. We'll try and give as much feedback as possible.

Newt
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for all the great tips. You've given me a lot to look up and think about. I went to the Stepables website earlier today and they had some interesting things to say about planting groundcovers and dogs. They recommend "putting down additional gravel before you plant...your plants will have a better chance for survival...." They list some plants and I kind of was going for the Isotoma/Laurentia - Blue Star Creeper, but I need to re-evaluate. I'll let you know what we go with - thank you so much!!
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:56 PM
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Edie, you are very welcome! Your selection of Isotoma might not be hardy in your zone. In St. Louis, zone 7, it is planted as an annual. You might want to do some google searching with the full botanical name to be sure it's what you want.

Newt
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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
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