In recent years, there has been a big movement to replace invasive or ornamental plant species with native plants. One easy way to introduce native plants into your yard is to use them as ground cover in landscaped areas. This article will review some of the top native plant options for ground cover in Michigan, and how to plant them.
Ground cover refers to any low-growing plant or group of plants that is used to cover the ground, rather than growing vertically as a shrub or tree. Ground covers are often used in landscaping to provide a uniform, low-maintenance cover for bare soil or to control erosion on slopes.
Ground covers can include a wide variety of plants, such as low-growing grasses, flowering plants, and even certain types of mosses or ferns. They are typically hardy and easy to care for, making them a popular choice for both residential and commercial landscaping.
(Featured Image: Summer Flowers by R. Larue)
Ground cover can provide several benefits for your landscaping, including:
- Provide a visual interest in garden beds or to provide a backdrop for other plants. Ground cover provides a blanket of color that draws the eye and can help make other plants visually catching from color contrast.
- Eliminate the need for weed fabric, mulch, or stones between larger plants such as native shrubs and trees. Native ground cover plants can grow thickly between other plants, out competing weeds and replacing the need for other mediums.
- Provide essential food and habitat for insects and birds. Different types of ground cover can provide different elements for our local native insects and birds. Flowering ground covers attract pollinators, while ground covers that produce fall berries are a bit hit with our feathered friends.
- Erosion control on sloped areas. Many types of native ground covers grow a lot of tightly clustered roots throughout the blanketed area. This type of root growth can be a great way to prevent erosion, especially on sloped or hilly areas.