Ground cover advice

We currently mulch under the trees in the mowed areas of our grounds to retain moisture and discourage weed growth. Are there any types of ground cover that would serve the same purpose?

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Are you looking for native ground covers? If so, for the eastern US there are many.

  • Wild Ginger
  • Green and Gold
  • Native Violets
  • etc

Yes - we definitely want native ground cover.

It would be nice to know where you’re located then.


Please put your location in the title - then you will attract useful answers.

Yes, location would be essential for getting more specific answers. There are also lots of Facebook groups, at least for my region, that specialize on gardening with native plants. Another thing to consider, if this is under deciduous trees and you are seeking to skip mulching, is that fallen leaves make the best mulch ever and the trees provide all for free in the fall. Not only does leaf mulch help to retain moisture, but it also provides important winter shelter for insect larvae and butterfly chrysalises, which then becomes a food source to attract birds etc. So if your goal is to attract wildlife for observations, native plants and/or using the leaves as mulch will help with that. It eventually turns into the best compost, too, to spread around your flower beds.

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Yes, and what are the trees?

Some trees are inimical to ground covers and others suffer when the ground cover has different watering needs. Many an oak has been killed by oak root fungus from watering ground covers. Worse, the fungus stays in the ground long long after the tree has died and kills other susceptible species.

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