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Gardeners’ Forum: “Groundcover that will choke out weeds?”

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  • Groundcover that will choke out weeds?

    Posted by Rob on Monday, April 2, 2012 12:05 PM ADT

    Hi, is there anything I can plant as an easy-to-grow ground cover AND choke out weekds in a very hot and sunny backyard that has lots of soil? History behind this question: 2 years ago I removed a lawn in the backyard of my row unit in Ottawa, as too little soil and hot sun meant grass would not grow. I tilled the lawn under, put in about 5 inches of top soil, did a 10' x 10' flagstone patio, and around the stones planted clover. Things looked gorgeous for about a month, til groundhogs moved in on the clover, and weeds took over (soil contaminated perhaps). Anyway, please help by either answering my question or offering other solutions. I don't care what I do but would like to grow something and choke out the weeds too.

    • re: Groundcover that will choke out weeds?

      Posted by Brian T on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 7:57 PM ADT

      A hot and sunny place might give you a great chance to kill not only the weeds but also the seeds still in the soil. Remember if you can grow great weeds you have wonderful soil. Try moistening the soil then placing clear plastic over it. The heat generated will get high enough to kill the seeds still in the soil. This will take 4 to 6 weeks to do then you should be able to plant anthing you want after. Things like roundup will only kill that which is growing so that would take multiple applications where this method kills the seeds. You do not have to do the whole place at one time but if you don't then with your second area make sure you do an overlap. Tell us in August if you did this and how it worked for you.

    • re: Groundcover that will choke out weeds?

      Posted by Rob on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 2:47 PM ADT

      Thanks. I'll try this. We're forbidden in Ottawa from using herbicides, so Roundup wouldn't be an option anyway. I'll do this early, and try to plant the groundcover in late May/June period so as not to miss this season.

    • re: Groundcover that will choke out weeds?

      Posted by theresa on Monday, April 30, 2012 7:37 PM ADT

      Crownvetch is very good. I have it on a bank that is difficult to mow and it comes back beautifully every year. It's so dense that nothing else can grow, and is covered with lovely pale mauve flowers all summer. It can be tall but the fronds are long so they tumble together, and then is about 10 inches high. It will spread but slowly, so it's easy to control.

    • groundcover that will not allow any growth

      Posted by Nick Parisi on Monday, February 10, 2014 4:46 PM AST

      I've lived on a long corner lot for 30 years & the dogs create havoc on my lawn. I'm removing the lawn from an 8 foot swath & want to cover the bare ground with a membrane that will not allow any growth. I'll cover the membrane with crushed white marble & some low maintenance cactus plants for color & beauty. What is the best ground cover or membrane to use that will not allow any growth through the membrane? Thank You, Nick Parisi

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