Shady Front Yard Now Infiltrated With Japanese Stilt Grass
Hi, The grass in our front yard has been replaced by Japanese stilt grass. We also have a large linden tree and a Japanese maple in the front yard. I think the linden must be secreting a toxic chemical because it is difficult to grow anything under it (even pachysandra). I plan to pull all of the stilt grass up by hand--a major job--unless you have a better idea. Our yard slopes down to Watts Branch stream and that runs into the Potomac. My question is: what ground cover can I plant in the shady front yard (one that it is possible to walk on is ideal) that maintains a year round presence? I prefer indigenous plants.
Montgomery County Maryland
The only ground cover that fits your requirements that we know of is Pennsylvania sedge. It is semi-evergreen and will not tolerate heavy foot traffic. Here is a good source of information: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=f237
Note that it should not be mowed often. You will have to grow it from plugs. It will spread slowly.
Meanwhile, you may want to use some other native ground covers in beds or under trees. Canadian ginger, hay-scented fern and phlox stolinifera are all great ground covers. Christmas fern is evergreen. Allegheny pachysandra remains green in winter and also gets attractive leaf patterning then.
For a good source of native plant information: look online at "Native Plant for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed." Excellent resource with photos, lists, and cultural requirements for each plant.