Ground covers are a good remedy against weeds in the garden. Find out which ground covers are available and how to plant them in your garden in this guide.
Ground Cover As A Helpful Remedy Against Weeds
As their name suggests, groundcovers cover the ground they grow on. In this way, they prevent weeds from germinating.
In beds, the plants are often not necessary, as the weeds can usually be kept in check with diligent work. In hard-to-reach places in the garden with slopes and embankments, it is more cumbersome to contain the weeds in this way.
How Do Ground Covers Grow?
Groundcovers spread with different strategies to cover large areas. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), for example, occupies a large area through its roots.
Some plants, on the other hand, form above-ground runners. This includes carpet knotweed (Persicaria affinis). Some species spread by creeping rhizomes.
Soft lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) grows very spreading and broadly bushy. As a result, the perennial quickly covers the ground.
When planting ground covers, keep the appropriate planting distances. You can also cover large areas of ground with grasses such as bearskin fescue (Festuca Gautier) or Japanese grass (Hakonechloa macra).
Advantages Of Ground Covers
There is a wide variety of ground covers to choose from. You can get them as perennials, shrubs, or climbers. All of them form a dense carpet of plants. This no longer lets light through to the ground and prevents weeds from spreading.
In addition, ground covers protect the soil from drying out from the sun. When it rains, they protect against erosion. Therefore, low-maintenance specimens are also suitable for slopes and other hard-to-reach places in the garden.
Weeds are best controlled by ground covers that bloom densely. For this purpose, for example, safflower (Epimedium), golden strawberry (Waldsteinia fratricides), and Lysander (Pachysandra) are suitable. However, do not plant them in full sun. The evergreen carpet sedum (Sedum floriferous) is suitable for sunny locations and not too dry substrates. Ground cover roses also grow and bloom here.
The evergreen ground covers even form a ground carpet in winter. Some species change the color of their leaves in autumn. Bergenia (Bergenia) and safflowers, for example, are particularly striking in this regard.
If you plant groundcovers under woody plants, they will help decompose the foliage. You don’t have to rake up the fallen leaves in the fall. Leave them lying around and they will serve as fertilizer for the ground covers.
Variety Tips For Ground Covers Against Weeds
Ground covers grow uniformly. You can take advantage of this by planting them in hard-to-reach places in your garden. Groundcovers then block the growth of weeds with their tightly closed plant cover.
You are not limited to just one species but can combine two or three different ground covers. The only thing you should keep in mind is that the plants all have the same requirements for the location as well as a comparable competitive strength.
Good ground covers against weeds are for example:
- Carpet knotweed (Persicaria affinis)
- Woolly zest (Stachys byzantine)
- Purple bellflower (Heuchera)
- Lungwort (Pulmonaria Officinalis)
- Fairy flower (Epimedium)
- Lysander (Pachysandra)
How To Plant Ground Cover Against Weeds
Before planting ground covers, remove all root fragments from the soil. This is important because they make good soil for weeds. Even from the smallest remnants sprout, for example, couch grass (Elymus) or goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria). Both are so-called root weeds.
Therefore, first, sieve the soil with a digging fork. Then sprinkle the bed with a finger-thick layer of mature compost. Now, wait until the weed seeds germinate in the compost. Then go through the bed with the cultivator. Only now plant the ground covers.
Place the plants as close as you like. Keep in mind, however, that the plants need more time to form a dense carpet if they are planted farther apart.
If you place the plants closer together, the ground will be completely covered after a short time. Do not plant too many perennials or grasses. Otherwise, the plants will compete with each other and the carpet will grow more slowly. Find out beforehand how many plants you can plant per square meter. This varies from species to species.
When Should You Plant Ground Covers?
There is an ideal planting time for ground covers. This is in the fall. By the beginning of winter, they will have formed enough roots. This gives them a head start in the spring over the weeds. They will then directly start to cover the soil in your garden.
If you plant them in the spring, they will take a long time to grow properly. It then takes time for them to completely cover the ground. During this time, weeds can reestablish themselves in your garden and spread.