Ground covers on the Oregon Coast to replace grass?

Asked February 11, 2020, 11:23 PM EST

Are there any ground covers that have successfully been used to replace grass that don't require mowing?

Lincoln County Oregon

1 Response

Here is some info from OSU Extension that should help with some ideas.
https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/native-groundcovers-are-great-home-landscapes
You'll note that it mentions Oregon natives Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and Coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis). Both of these will work well with partial sun to sunny areas. Wood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana) would work in moist, shady areas with acidic soil. All of these spread themselves well although the Kinnikinnick is a relatively slow grower.

You could also consider thymes like Creeping Thyme (Thymus sepyllum) and, in a sunny area, something like California Poppy. It self-seeds really well.

Clovers, such as white clover (Trifolium repens) are low-growing, fix nitrogen in the soil, and are good for pollinators too.

If you want to consider relatively low growing shrubs (other than Kinnikinnick), you could consider heaths (Erica spp.) and Heathers (Calluna spp.) Heaths are winter bloomers and Heathers usually bloom mid to late summer. Another low growing shrub to consider would be Crinkleleaf Creeper (Rubus calycinoides). Here is a description http://www.pnwplants.wsu.edu/PlantDisplay.aspx?PlantID=351

If your lawn area is mostly in the shade and relatively moist, you could also let nature take its course and let moss slowly take over.

Here also is a link to OSU Extension publication EC 1577 - "Gardening with Oregon Native Plants West of the Cascades". This may provide some additional native plant ideas for ground cover and other parts of your garden or property. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/ec1577.pdf