Living mulch: groundcovers

Does it seem that bark mulch is now thought of as a landscape feature by itself? It does to me. Bark mulch application wasn’t always used and abused in these ways: yearly applications, whether needed by the plants or not; over-application around trees; dyed mulches; mulch made from ground-up hardwood pallets – much of the so-called “bark” mulch has very little bark in the mix.

Think about the use as groundcovers as “living mulch” as well as for the changing beauty of ground-clinging plants. Most well-selected groundcovers provide similar benefits as non-living mulch materials: erosion-control, moisture retention, weed suppression, moderation of soil temperatures and of course the aesthetic component. And perennial groundcovers don’t need annual renewal -they get better with age! Good soil preparation and adequate water during the first year of establishment is essential for success with groundcovers as with any other planting.

 

Here are a few examples of groundcovers used in our designs:

Lowbush blueberry planted near Great East Lake in Maine
Lowbush blueberry planted near Great East Lake in Maine

 

Thyme used for erosion control on driveway edge
Thyme used for erosion control on driveway edge

 

Barren strawberry with moss thriving in thin soil over ledge
Barren strawberry with moss thriving in thin soil over ledge

 

Different thyme varieties and juniper as lawn replacement
Different thyme varieties and juniper as lawn replacement

 

Moss phlox intermingling with artemisia along a water feature in New Hampshire
Moss phlox intermingling with artemisia along a water feature in New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

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