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What you need:
  • Groundcovers
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Tape measure
The first step in planting a groundcover is to remove the plants that are currently growing in the space. If the space is covered with grass, lift and remove it with a spade. If the space is full of weeds, dig them up by hand or spray them with a non-selective herbicide. (Follow the instructions on the herbicide label carefully and wait the recommended time before preparing the soil.)
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Measure the area and calculate the square footage by multiplying the length by the width. With this figure, your garden center can help you buy the right number of plants for the area.
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Prepare the soil by digging in a 3-4" layer of organic matter (such as compost, composted manure, or peat moss) to the depth of a shovel blade. Then rake the bed smooth with an iron rake.
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Set the plants on the soil, spacing them according to the label or the recommendation of the garden center. Lay the plants out in staggered rows for even coverage of the space.
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Plant according to the layout.
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Water thoroughly after planting, then weekly (depending on weather conditions) until the plants are established. The plants will need at least a growing season or two to fill in. In the meantime, you must watch for weeds and pull them as you see them. If the weeds are allowed to grow unchecked, all your efforts will be for naught.
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The last step is mulching the entire area. Use a thick layer (2-3") of organic mulch (such as shredded leaves or finely chipped or shredded bark) to retain soil moisture and inhibit weed seed germination. Keep the mulch away from the base of the plants to discourage rot.