Establishing Groundcovers

Time to plant: Here on the North Coast, plant groundcovers in the fall, winter or spring. Inland and in colder areas, fall or spring is best, and if the ground freezes, plant only in the spring.

Size of plants to get: They do not have to be large and expensive. If they are shrubs, they can be young or small, and certainly do not need to be choice specimens. If they are vines, they are often available in pots or cans, but deciduous types are sold "bare-root," occasionally still available in bundles of a dozen or 25. You can sometimes buy clumps--or beg them from a friend--and tear them apart into many pieces, each of which has roots and the start of a top. Such plants as these, that root at every node, can be quickly propagated by cutting their leafy stems into sections 8 to 10 inches long. Put the lower ends into water, moist soil or perlite to induce rooting. Hint - cut the tops of these cuttings at a slant to differentiate the ends.

Any of your friends who have a sizeable planting of some groundcover will probably be happy to give you starts--either plants or clippings which you can root. Ask also your local park staff. Part of their maintenance involves digging up and disposing of overgrown specimens. And later on, you will have some plants to share!     Continued on next page