What is the best low maintenance ground cover UK?
What is a good ground cover to prevent weeds? What is the hardiest ground cover? What is the best ground cover to prevent erosion? What are UK ground cover plants? Groundcovers; They are wrapping, creeping, spreading and stunted plants that form a dense leaf layer on the soil surface. Herbaceous, woody, evergreen or solitary greens, these plants look like lawn cover and serve the same purpose as lawn cover. Groundcovers act as a kind of vegetative flooring in landscape areas. The organs and leaves are important in ground cover plants. In addition, dense leaf formation and colorful flowers and fruits that harmonize with the ground should not be ignored.
Some of the features sought in the establishment of plants to be used as ground cover:
- Life ability
- Strong growth power
- Resistance to diseases and pests
- Resistance to frost effect
- Easy production
- Ornamental value
- Being perennial
- Being aesthetic
- Resistance to some mechanical effects
- It requires as little maintenance as possible.
What is the best low maintenance ground cover UK?
The use of ground cover plants varies between countries and regions. It is not possible to draw a definite border for the plants used to cover sunny and shaded areas and to give a beautiful appearance. There are many different plants that can be used for these purposes in different countries. Plants that have the above-mentioned features and are abundant and economically available in the region can be used to serve these purposes.
- Ajuga sp (Yeast Grass)
About 11 species live naturally in our country. It is semi-woody and has striking small flowers. Its flowers, which open in early summer, rise at the tip of the plant and between the leaves. It can grow up to 15-30 cm. If weeds are removed in difficult conditions, it will develop and spread quickly. It is produced by separation, stolon and seed. They are planted in their new places by separating them in early spring. It likes well-drained soil and sunny, semi-shade conditions with average yields and moisture, but grows better in partial shade. In some regions, root collar rot is seen as it is sensitive to drought and excess moisture, so it is not as permanent as other groundcovers. It is a good ground cover in uninhabited areas, under bushes or even in the shade of trees in low light and partially shaded areas. Important types; Ajuga Orientalis; Ajuga Laxmannii; Ajuga Chamaepitys; Ajuga Rpyramidalis; Ajuga Reptans.
- Arenarıa sp (Sand Grass)
It is a small, durable annual or perennial or creeping, white-colored, beautiful plant that develops in steppe regions and stone intervals, does not require much, and blooms in May, June. There are 41 species in our country. Its production is done by collecting spilled seeds and planting them in pots in greenhouses in spring. In sunny warm places, sowing can be done in the open field in the spring.
It is also produced with cuttings and root pieces in April-September. Vegetative production is mostly used in hybrid and elite varieties. It likes moist, sandy and gravelly loam soils. It is also grown in gravelly, sandy soils enriched with some leaf rot. It is grown on terraces, pool sides and pedestrian ways. Used in sunny rock gardens. The moss sample completely covers the soil surface like a carpet. However, it is not too flashy. Important types; Arenaria Balearica, Arenarıa Montana, Arenarıa Purpurascens, Arenarıa Tetraquetra, Arenarıa verna caespitosa.
- Cerastıum sp (Horn Grass)
It is a dwarf, annual and perennial species with 28 species growing naturally in our country. The leaves are opposite, oblong-lanceolate or strip-shaped, silver-gray, small and hairy. The flowers are small, single or in multiple clusters. Petals are white in color. The petals are deeply slit at the mid-end, like bipartite. It blooms in spring summer. Its production is by seeds, cuttings or root pieces. In seed production, the spilled seeds are either grown again or sown in early spring. Sowing is usually done in pots or in spring in windows on pillows. It can also be planted outdoors in sunny and warm places.
In production with cuttings or root pieces, planting is done between April and September. It is difficult to obtain the original plant by sowing seeds in hybrid varieties. For this, it is produced by vegetative way. It grows in sunny, semi-shaded and temperate climates. It prefers nutrient-poor and moist soils. It is drought and cold resistant. It should be watered frequently, sparingly and regularly. It is used to create rock gardens, flower beds, various shapes and for consolidation of road slopes. It is also used as a groundcover in large areas, between walking stones, in balconies, terraces and macrame. Important types; Cerastium Tomentosum, Cerastıum Cerastiodes, Cerastıum Banaticum, Cerastıum Biebersteinii and Cerastıum Columnea.
- Dıchondra sp (Mouse Ear)
It is a perennial plant. The leaves are about 0.5 cm in diameter in the sun, larger in the shade, and the stems are longer. Dichondra needs as much weed control as lawns. Therefore, selective weed killers can be used in the control. Its production is easy with seeds, sowing is done between March and August. The seed must be thoroughly dried and bleached. If this is not done, the germination rate will be low. It can be grown in sun or shade but is more adaptable to shade. There is no special land requirement. It can easily develop in acidic or neutral soils. It is used to create grass in places where it is not desired to be mowed. The important species is Dichondra repens.
- Estuca sp
It ıs an evergreen, dense, grass-lıke groundcover. It can rıse 20-30 cm. the leaves take on different colors ranging from green to silvery blue. Its fruits are light sand in color. They are produced by seed and separation. Seeds can be sown in early spring or fall. Separation is done by cutting rooted plant parts outside the flowering period. It grows in sunny open areas and temperate climatic conditions. Although it grows in all kinds of soils, it grows well in sandy, clayey, loose, well-drained and well-aerated soils rich in lime. It should be watered moderately and regularly. It is resistant to cold and fire.
It is used as a ground cover in rock gardens, edging beds, mixed flower beds and in the planting of stone walls. Important types; F. Cyllenica, F. Punctoria, F. Rubra, F. Ovina and F. Pratensis.
- Hypericum sp
It is a semi-evergreen groundcover. It has a climbing body and is of medium coarse structure. It can rise 30-50 cm with rapid growth, planted 30 cm apart. Its body is reddish. The leaves are grayish green, greenish blue, purplish green in winter. The flowers are golden yellow in color. It blooms in early summer. It is produced by seed or separation. Seeds are germinated in greenhouses in spring or sown directly in place. Production by separation is done with rooted parts cut with a sharp knife in the spring. It can grow in large soil areas. Medium-low moisture soils are ideal. It is drought tolerant and not tolerant of excessive shade. Used in groups or individually in flower beds. It is used as a ground cover in rock gardens and large areas. Important Types; Hypericum Perforatum, Hypericum Adenotrichum, Hypericum Confertum and Hypericum Linarioides
- Potentilla sp. (Finger Grass-Fivefinger Grass-Strawberry Grass)
It is a perennial, deciduous, long-rooted plant with some species similar to Rananculus. There are those whose body grows up to 5-60 cm or 100-150 cm. Its leaves can be longer than 12 cm. Each leaf contains 5 leaflets. The leaflets are glossy and usually have toothed margins. It blooms in early summer and stays open until mid-autumn. The flowers are large and single. The colors of flowers with five petals can be yellow, red, orange; It attracts a lot of attention because of its colors. It is produced from seed in late spring as well as by separation in spring or autumn. Production of Potentilla fruticosa species can be done with woody cuttings in late summer as well as seed. It grows well in any garden soil or organic matter-enriched soils in open areas in full sun. Watering is necessary when planted in sunny areas. There are also varieties suitable for semi-shade. It is planted at 25-50 cm intervals in spring or autumn. It is used in groups to limit the bed edges or on grassy and similar borders. P. fruticosa is a valuable species due to its dense structure and long flowering period. This type of bush is suitable for use in front of borders, rock gardens, balconies and terraces. Important types; Potentilla Atrosanquinea, Potentilla Nepalensis, Potentilla Nitida, Potentilla Recta, Potentilla Buccoana, Potentilla Cinerea and Potentilla Aurea.
- Ranunculus sp. (Wedding Flower–Roosterfoot)
It is a perennial herbaceous plant with tuberous roots. It has a long, slender stem and many branches. It can grow up to 25-75 cm. Its deeply sliced leaves are usually on the long stem at the base of the plant. It blooms yellow in February and June. The flowers are shiny and waxy. It has the appearance of a golden saucer with tightly intertwined petals. In hybrid varieties, the flowers are folded or semi-folded, and the colors are yellow, orange, red, pink and white.
Hybrid varieties are produced by seed. It can also be produced by root separation in November and April. Plants stay in place for 4 years. In tubers, the tuber is planted with the claws down, at a depth of 5-7.5 cm and at 10-15 cm intervals, in February and March, by filling it with sand and charcoal. After flowering, the tubers are removed. It grows best in light, well-drained soils and in small areas with limited full sun. The soil is kept moist for the plant to develop well. Planting is done in the spring with 20-40 cm intervals when vegetative development begins. Mulch should be done after planting with organic materials to keep the soil moist. It is used to organize small piles in cold and damp areas, grassy areas, near water or springs. Important types; Ranunculus Asiatucus, Ranunculus Dissectus, Ranunculus Repens, Ranunculus Amplexicaulis, Ranunculus Gramineus, and Ranunculus Glacialis.
- Sedum sp. (roof guard)
There are many species and cultivars. Most of the 500 recognized species; It is a rather stunted, succulent plant that spreads with soil shoots. Their length does not exceed 5-8 cm. It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen perennial herb. The leaves are fleshy, of various forms and sizes. The tips of its leaves turn red in winter. Its fleshy leaves are arranged in the form of tiles on the shoots. The flowers are star-shaped and yellow in color. These flowers open together at the tip. Its production is by separation and steel. It grows well in nutrient-poor soils that are well-drained, in full sun or light shade. It is very drought resistant. Planting is done in spring and autumn at 20-30 cm intervals. It is used in stone gardens and flower beds. It is especially recommended for use in stony and arid areas. Important types; Sedum Album, Sedum Pallidum, Sedum Acre, Sedum Reflexum, Sedum Sieboldii, Sedum Spectabile and Sedum Spurium.
- Vinca sp. (Persian Violet)
It is a groundcover, evergreen plant. Spreading with their easily rooted shoots, these plants rise 15 cm and form a beautiful carpet. The leaves are 3-4 cm long and bright green in color. There are also white, pink, violet-colored blooms among the cultural forms. At the same time, cultural forms are multilayered. It is produced by separating the old plants in the spring and rooting the cuttings taken all year. It is also produced with seeds, sowing is in March. It grows rapidly and well in nutrient-rich and moist soils. Although they can be easily grown anywhere, they develop better in light or very shaded areas. Planting is done at 30-45 cm intervals in spring or early autumn. It can be used alone on inclined and flat areas, in flower beds, or around tall trees and in combination with bulbous plants. Important types; Vinca Herbacea is Vinca Major and Vinca Minor.
- Hedara sp. (Wall Ivy)
Hedera helix is a perennially green herbaceous, woody plant that can climb by clinging or clinging to its trunk and roots or spreading like a ground cover. There are different types with dark green, green, variegated, golden yellow panas, various leaf colors, and leaf shapes between triangular and round forms. The leaves are spirally arranged and sliced. Small, greenish-white flowers in the umbrella form develop only in the adult form. Its fruits are black, cluster-shaped and contain 3-5 seeds. Their production is steel. Cuttings are taken at different times of the year and rooted.
Cuttings prepared in October and November are easily rooted in pillows without being treated with any rooting hormone. In July, 7.5-10 cm long semi-woody cuttings are planted on hot pillows and covered with a nylon cover. It spreads from mountainous regions to plains. Soil demand is not selective. It grows in alkaline and moist soils. It likes a temperate maritime climate, usually in oak and beech forests. It likes the shade, it is resistant to frost, if it is damaged by frost, it can survive this damage. It is resistant to urban climate and industrial areas. It is used to decorate houses and gardens and even to cover the soil surface. Important types; Hedera Helix, Hedera Colchica, Hedera Canariensis, Hedera Nepalensis, Hedera Rhombea and Hedera Pastuchovii.
Use of Groundcover Plants in Landscape
Ground cover plants are used in sunny and shaded areas such as stony areas, walls, under trees, walking paths to create a more pleasing structure.
Ground Cover Plants General Usage Areas
Ground cover plants used in large areas instead of grass
Used to preserve the general appearance and use of the lawn: This group of ground cover plants requires a proper soil mix. As with lawns, there are problems with weed control. Weed control is difficult because selective weed killers applied to grass cannot be applied to them. The mowing process is removed in groundcovers, but when grown intensively, they can be mowed 2-3 times with a lawnmower for a smooth surface. Dichondra, lippia, wrapping thyme, downy thyme are examples of this type of ground cover plants.
- Undesirable to look like grass: Ivy and wild strawberry are of this type. Wild strawberries are stunted and densely grown when mowed 1-2 times a year with a lawnmower if the ground is smooth.
- Ground cover plants used in small areas instead of grass: This type of ground cover is resistant to pressure. Anthemis nobilis, Coespitosa, Thymus serpyllum can be given as examples.
- Ground cover plants used to create color and ornament in non-printed areas: Not resistant to printing. It creates an attractive image in the arrangement of gardens. Examples include Ajuga reptans, Hypericum calycinum, Helianthemum, Gestuca ovina glauca.
- Ground cover plants with irregular structure: This type of ground cover is used for hard-to-reach places. Cotonoaster dammeri, Cotonoaster microphylla, Rosmarinus officinalis can be given as examples.
- Ground cover plants are generally used in gardens of houses, factories, schools, hospitals, areas controlled by municipalities, medians of highways and pedestrian crossings.
The advantages of ground cover plants are:
- Ground cover plants functionally prevent erosion and can be used on sloping lands as they absorb rain water. It provides weed control by preventing the passage of light.
- It absorbs the sounds in areas with heavy traffic and reduces the noise. It prevents evaporation from the soil with its green cover.
- Rotting leaves, which act as mulch, continuously form residues and ensure the renewal of the soil. Remains of old leaves and other plants rot at the bottom of ground cover plants and are mixed into the soil by earthworms.
- It aesthetically improves the landscape quality.
- Those with beautiful colored flowers and fruits provide a different beauty to the environment.
Classification of Ground Cover Plants; Ground cover plants are generally classified into two groups as herbaceous and woody.
Herbaceous Groundcover Plants
Although grass is an ideal ground cover plant, ground cover plants are preferred because it is expensive and difficult to maintain. In addition, ground cover plants are preferred in dark shade and uneven slopes where it is difficult for grass plants to grow. In rocky areas, in very wet and dry areas, moss and ferns can be used as ground covers. Many ground cover plants are not print resistant. Although grass plants are used in such places, ground cover plants are used to delimit and shape the areas. Bulbous ground cover plants are used for seasonal effect. It creates similar or different colors, structures and shapes in large areas covered by groundcovers. Ground cover plants are used in landscape planning, rocks, rock gardens, patios and terraces, and also in historical gardens.
Woody Groundcover Plants
Ground cover plants in this group are plants taller than 30 cm. Woody ground cover plants may look stunted in a medium-sized garden, but may not have the same effect in a small garden. In this respect, there is no definite rule limiting ground cover plants. A groundcover of a certain size may be ideally effective in an open, uneven area, but may not be suitable for a confined space such as a front or inner courtyard. There is a very close relationship between the size of the area and the height of the plant. Ground cover plants differ from each other in terms of height and some features. E.g; climbing, spreading, evergreen, deciduous, evergreen, like those whose organs disappear in autumn and re-sprout in spring.