Groundcovers and Very Low Growing Shrubs.

Groundcovers have been around since times began in one form or another; it's just that we didn't call them that until many years later. Our Groundcovers are Perennial, meaning they will return year after year. There are many Annual Groundcovers, but we don't consider them as True Groundcovers as they must be replaced every year. As a gardener or homeowner, you should choose your Groundcover based on:

  1. Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone (find your Climate Zone by using the Climate Zones Tab on the Menu above).
  2. The results of your site soil test.
  3. The amount of sunlight your site will receive.
  4. The function you want to receive from your chosen Groundcover.

USDA HARDINESS ZONES

Knowing how hardy your Groundcover will be helps you choose a planting that will not only survive buy thrive in your area. In the mid-1900s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mapped out the entire United States, Mexico and Canada by lowest annual minimum temperature groupings. Each zone represented a 10 degree F. difference. This was very valuable advice for the agriculture industry. Now plants could be rated by hardiness zones, taking the guesswork out of choosing plant varieties. You had a gauge, other than experience, for picking plants.

The maps have been revised over the years, mainly to reflect changes in climate. When cities and towns were moved from one zone to another, gardeners were left to wonder what would happen to their existing garden plants. While our climate may be shifting, these changes did not occur over night. Plants are adaptable, surviving in many different climates. They also cannot read climate maps- or at least the ones we sell can't read.

The USDA has divided North America into 11 Hardiness Zones, with Zone 1 being the coldest Zone and Zone 11 being the warmest. In 1990, the zones were further divided, with each numbered zone being broken down into an 'a', the lower temperature end of the zone, and a 'b', the higher. Unfortunately, not all Nurseries have begun to use this information. Our Nursery is in Zone 7b of the entire Zone 7. The AHS was awarded a grant to update the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. They studied 30 years of weather data and are in the process of updating the zone maps to include mitigating circumstances such as the length of cold spells in the winter, airflow patterns, and the effect of large bodies of water like oceans and lakes and other heat factors. The distinction of 'a' and 'b' sub-zones is gone. There will now be 15 zones instead of the current 11. Stay tuned so that you will not miss out on any of the excitement!

NOTE: ALL GROUNDCOVERS from Rabbit Ridge Nursery will do quite well in Hardiness Zones 6 - 8.

SOIL TESTING

Since perennial Groundcovers are in it for the long haul (unlike annuals), it only makes sense to have your soil tested to see if amendments will help. In most states, this is a free service provided through the County Extension Services. If you had to pay, it still makes sense to 'start out on the right foot'.

AMOUNT OF SUNLIGHT

Once you know about the soil for your Groundcovers, its time to see how much sunlight your Groundcover will receive. Use the following as only a guide, realizing that few things in Nature are set in stone, especially as the seasons change and the sun's path is altered.


FUNCTIONS OF GROUNDCOVERS

Do you want erosion control or less lawn maintenance? Do you want a natural look or something more shaped? Do you want an evergreen Groundcover or can it be deciduous? Do you plan on some maintenance issues with your new Groundcover or do you want to plant it and let it alone? Do you want a thick carpet appearance or a "here and there" look? Or combinations of the above? Will this be an area that receives any traffic or is separate? Do you plan to water and fertilize your Groundcover or will it be required to 'take care of itself'? Ask yourself these questions, at a minimum, and then we can get you started on the right Groundcover.

Many Perennial Groundcovers Will Satisfy More Than One Of The Following Categories. For Example, Many Will Do Quite Well In Part Sun, Are Evergreen And Are Good At Erosion Control.

(Click on your need to link to those plants)

Climbing

Drought Tolerant

Erosion Control

Evergreen

Full Sun

Moisture Tolerant

Native

Part Sun

Poor Soil

Shade