Recommended Ground Covering

Asked February 28, 2017, 2:38 PM EST

Hello, We just has the wooded area behind our home cleared of the brush and thorns that were growing there. We are now looking for a non-invasive ground cover to plant and maybe something that is native. We really weren't looking to seed the whole area with grass and wanted something that is low maintenance and will help with erosion. Would prefer something that doesn't get real high or vines that will climb the trees. Do you have a recommendation that will grow well in this type of environment?

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1 Response

Your best bet is to plant several species of ground covers and see which ones are happiest in your specific environment.

Although we humans like to see a solid ground covering, you'll notice that most woods have mainly leaves as their ground covering mulch, with a few shrubs. The more sun the woods gets, the more you'll see other things moving in. If you have a slope, you have not only shade, but dry shade.

The following native ground covers will spread, are pretty tough, and beautiful.
Ferns - specifically hay-scented fern, spreads beautifully. Christmas fern is evergreen. Sensitive fern likes some moisture.
Canadian ginger
Allegheny pachysandra (Not Japanese, or common, pachysandra.)
Golden groundsel (this seeds itself around well)
Phlox stolonifera (spring flowers)

We also have a good list of groundcovers that we recommend, but not all are native: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/groundcover-list

You may want to intersperse some shrubs (natives) in your woods. For more ideas, "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Cosnervation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed" is great. Photos of each plants, with easy to read chart of conditions each likes.

Whatever you do, avoid English ivy like the invasive plague it is.
ECN