Spacing Groundcover Plants

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This article will teach you how to select and plant the right ground cover plants.
by Brett · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · July 02, 2010 · 66,506 views

Site Preparation For Groundcover Planting

First, in areas where you will plant groundcover plants, you'll want to make sure to eliminate existing weeds or grasses before planting. You can pull weeds by hand or spray them with a solution of glyphosate weed killer. I use Killzall Super Concentrate. Allow at least two hours after spraying a glyphosate-based product before you begin planting. Before using any chemical make sure to read the label to find instructions for proper mixing and application.

Soil Preparation
You can till the planting area however doing so is not necessary. Tilling on slopes can lead to soil erosion if there comes a heavy rain. When tilling around large trees be especially careful around the root systems of large trees to avoid damage to the roots. While some groundcover plants prefer an alkaline soil others like an acid soil. I recommend testing soil to make sure the pH is suitable for the type of groundcover plant you intend to plant. Soil test kits are available at your local nursery and garden center or you can buy soil test kits online here. Many local extension services provide soil testing as well. Depending on the soil type: sand, clay or loam, you might need to consider amending the soil with compost, peat moss, sand or some other soil conditioner to increase fertility and porosity or to help retain moisture. More on that on the next page of this article.

Placing Plants In The Planting Area

Before placing your groundcover plants in the planting area you might want to first consider spreading your mulch. Whether or not you do so largely depends on the type and size of the plant, or the size container the plant was growing in. If the plants are sprigs or in small containers and/or have long trailing stems, I always spread mulch prior to planting. Plants with long trailing branches or runners can be more difficult to spread pine straw and wood mulches around. Then, when planting, you can pull back a small section of the mulch to plant, and then replace the mulch around the plant.

Spacing Plants In The Planting Area

Space and place all plants out in the planting area before starting to plant. Alternatively, you can use marking paint to mark the spot where each plant will go. If there will be more than one row of plants, begin by setting out or marking one straight row of plants. It's best to start along the edge of a bed making sure to space plants at a distance far enough from the edge to allow for future spreading. For example, plants with a recommended spacing of 24" apart should be spaced at a distance of 12" from the edge of the bed or surfaced area to the center of the plant. After setting out the first row, stagger the plants on the second row as shown in the diagram to the right. For steep slopes, where plants in containers might not stay put, it may be necessary to use spray paint to mark dots or an "X" on the ground where plants will be planted.

Go to next page for planting instructions for groundcover plants...


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