Partridgeberry, Wild Ginger, and raking

Asked July 31, 2019, 10:02 PM EDT

I live on a fairly wooded lot. I have areas that require groundcover, and I'm very interested in partridgeberry and wild ginger as possibilities for my side yard which has some trees and has patchy light, but isn't completely submerged in the forest. When the leaves fall in the autumn, I feel like I will have to rake at least a little bit to keep them from blotting out the groundcover (and to keep from getting complaints from my neighbors). I've looked online, but I can't really find any information on doing that. Are these plants hearty enough to be walked on? Will the rake just rake them up out of the ground? The partridgeberry reminds me of a patch of perriwinkle I used to have, and it was pretty hearty to be raked, but not to be walked on. The wild ginger just looks completely unable to handle raking, so any advice on removing excess leaves from an area about 15 foot by 6 foot would be super appreciated! I don't think I can reach the center without walking into it somehow.

Prince George's County Maryland groundcovers native

1 Response

Both of these are native woodland plants that tolerate shade and some leaf litter. That said, we understand your desire to keep the area tidy and keep the leaves from covering the plants completely. Instead of raking lightly, you could consider using a leaf blower. Some types of leaf blowers also have a reverse function to vacuum up the leaves. You could also use a broom to brush away the leaves gently. Decomposing leaves provide good organic matter/nutrients for your soil -- so you could leave some around the plants, or put them in a different location of your property to compost and use later. Neither of these plants is intended for walking on. You could place a few stepping stones in the area where you can stand to do your maintenance work.

Christa