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Groundcover

Maggie Asked

Hi! I’m looking to reseed my yard with a no-mow option. My yard is 90% sunny. Mother of all Thyme creeping variety seems to be a good option but I’m not sure of it can handle the weird Ohio Valley weather. It is supposedly hardy and walk resistant but can it thrive under our humid summers, long droughts, and wet springs? If not, is there another low grow option available?

Thanks, much!

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Maggie: Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a great option for turf replacement in a sunny location. It is considered hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-8; Kentuckyis zone 6 or 7, depending on the part of the state in which you are gardening. Creeping thyme is a perennial for us and given the proper growing conditions, will thrive in our wacky weather. The mat-forming, growth habit of this ground cover is beneficial in terms of  foot traffic. Other sun-loving groundcovers that will handle foot traffic include: Creeping Jenny (Lysmachia), Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata), Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), and assorted sedums. Most garden centers now have a ‘stepable’ section that contain plants used exactly for this purpose. Some will handle more foot traffic than others. If there are any areas where foot traffic is not an issue you can choose other lower growing perennials such as Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata), Purple Mazus (Mazus reptans), and one of my personal favorites, Plumbago, or sometimes called leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Depending on your space you may consider a combination planting to create a visual interest with different colors and textures. For more information on growing ground covers in Kentucky, visit: https://simpson.ca.uky.edu/files/ground_covers_for_ky_landscapes.pdf

Angie Oakley

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