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Ground Covering Shrubs | Planting In a Garden Setting


There are several reasons why shrubs can be used for ground cover. Suppressing weeds is the normally accepted use but carpets of shrubs can have many more attributes than simply stifling weed growth. A dense carpet of ground covering shrubs simply put down for weed control can often be more of a problem that the weeds that were supposedly smothered.

An area to be planted with ground covering shrubs is no different to any other area. It has to be properly prepared. Simply planting a few shrubs in a bed of weeds does not work. More often than not, the weeds will continue to grow and possibly  smother the shrubs. Not a good start to the project, but happens so many times.

If you look at almost any established shrub border or bed, you will rarely see a weed problem, unless the border has been poorly maintained or poorly designed/planted.

It then stands to reason, that there is a huge range of shrubs which can be used for groundcover planting schemes. A shrub ground cover area does not have to be a mass of cotoneasters, or the like. It can actually be attractive as well as functional!

AucubaTypes of Shrubs to use for Ground Cover Planting

Landscape architects and designers have probably given ground covering plants and planting a bad name – often quite inadvertently – by including swathes of the normal ground cover shrubs such as Hypericum calycinum, Cotoneaster various, Hedera (Ivy) and a host of other low-growing shrubs which are deemed to be ‘ground cover’! Nothing smothers weeds more than an established rhododendron! Have you ever seen a Rhododendron in a ground cover planting scheme.

These low growing shrubs can of course be attractive in mass plantings in shopping precincts or as a foil with in an area of buildings. Factory estates abound with them! But, are they the sort of plants you want smothering areas in your garden?

One of the misconceptions about ground covering shrubs planting is that only evergreen shrubs are suitable. This is most certainly not the case, for many deciduous shrubs are also suitable.

 Deciduous shrubs are devoid of foliage in the late autumn and winter true, but new weeds do not normally grow then. New weeds normally germinate in early spring. At the same time, deciduous shrubs will be starting their foliage canopy, and if they are already established, will smother out most germinating weed seedlings that will require light to establish. If there are oddments of deep rooted weeds still in the ground then they could possibly take hold, but that would be true of deciduous of evergreen shrub cover.

Next time you visit a garden that has a weed-free shrub or mixed border, note the fact that there is a wide range of deciduous shrubs which have provided the desired weed smothering ground cover. This then, opens up up a totally different aspect to the use of shrubs for ground cover. 

Time to be bold and not follow the pack. The range of ground cover shrubs is enormous and not just confined to a few bland evergreens - much as I like them. A garden is NOT a public space, so there is no need to treat it as such. Your imagination and maintenance regime are the deciding factor. If you look after your garden in the normal way, then there are many areas that can be adjusted to include groundcover. Your ground cover planting scheme can fit in and compliment the existing garden. In fact it can be a beautiful feature in its own right!

In Preparation >>>>

Preparation of ground for ground cover planting.
ground cover shrubs for clay soil
ground cover shrubs for banks
ground cover shrubs full sun
ground cover shrubs for shade
deep rooted shrubs plants erosion control



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