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Ground covers can replace grass in many situations, reducing the need for maintenance and watering while adding beauty and interest to the landscape. These plants are mat-forming and effectively crowd out unwanted weeds. They also conserve moisture, build soil microbe populations, prevent soil erosion, and provide nectar for pollinators.
Ground covers are useful under large trees where grass is sparse or where roots protrude from the ground, and are also helpful in shaded, sloping, or dry areas. Low-growers can be planted near walkways or the front of a house, while taller varieties can be used near boundary lines or to screen unwanted views.
Disturbing the soil with tilling and excessive digging depletes soil fertility, disrupts soil life, causes compaction, and invites weed seeds to sprout by bringing them to the surface. Sheet mulching is a simple and effective no-till alternative for transitioning from turf or other vegetation to annual or perennial beds.