Ornamental IcePlant ground cover

Asked November 27, 2018, 11:56 AM EST

Here in Medford, shall we let our Oak trees cover our ground cover with their leaves for protection against freezing? If so how much?

Jackson County Oregon ornamental ground cover oak leaf mulch

1 Response

Ice plants can be hardy, but most are not. There are various genera, including some from South Africa, that are grown as annuals. if yours is one of the hardier types, it may still freeze out in severe winter cold. However, it is a fairly rare event that winter frosts exceed 25 degrees in the Rogue Valley. Since you do not give any information about your location or elevation or the type of ice plant you have, it is difficult to give you a "yes, do this" or "no, don't". You would be safer to cover the ice plant with a floating blanket ( a non-woven , usually polyester, fabric that can be ordered from nursery supplies or found in better garden supply stores). You would need the heavier-weight material often called "frost blanket". Since your leaves are probably down already, covering the plants either involves a chore of blowing off the leaves very carefully or hand-picking up the heavier deposits. Most ice plant does not tolerate foot traffic, however, Oak leaves are extremely acidic, may contain insects, and are slow to disintegrate. We don't think an oak mulch would be a sightly or advantageous situation over your ground cover. Plus, they are heavy in masses and ice plant is notoriously fragile. The two are not good partners! Next year, you can prepare earlier, when leaves are still on the trees, to protect your plants.