View Full Version : Good groundcover next to street?

01-10-2003, 03:54 AM
I`d appreciate any recommendations on a good groundcover or other low-growing and abuse-tolerant plant for the two-foot strip of dirt between my sidewalk and street. There are Chinese Pistache trees already there, and I am planning to keep them, so the cover would be underneath, but still receive sun most of the day. I live in Cupertino, zone 16. A local landscape designer has suggested gazanias, but I would prefer something native. Thanks!</p>

01-11-2003, 05:41 PM
Well, I`m not sure what native groundcovers would work well in Cupertino. The very low growing Ceanothus `Centennial` is reported to do very well in hot, inland areas, even though it is coastal in origin. It might be that a 2` strip would be too narrow for it, though. Some of the tougher, adaptable versions of the bear-berry manzanita, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, might answer. Some of the smaller bunchgrasses might do, but of course, they don`t spread, so you have to plant out a lot of them. Again, I don`t know how they would fare in Cupertino, but there are many forms of Idaho fescue, Festuca idahoensis yeah, it`s native to California, and red fescue, Festuca rubra, in both gray and green. Mostly Natives, in Marin County, has a couple of very nice dwarf forms of hair-grass, Deschampsia caespitosa. Sonoma sage, Salvia sonomensis, can make a great groundcover, but you have to experiment to find the right cultivar for your spot. Good luck, Lori Hubbart</p>

01-14-2003, 08:14 AM
Douglas Iris might do well if it doesn`t get too hot and dry, it`s an easy plant and will spread even with competing tree roots. You can mix other things with it for more variety.</p>

01-16-2003, 05:40 PM
I don`t think you will have sun under those trees for much longer. I would use something that is a little more shade tolerant. I like the iris suggestion. Juniperius communis saxatilus Dwarf Mountain Juniper will take some shade and will form a dense, low, tough mat. It has a moderate growth rate so plant them close together. It has grey to green needles. Fragaria chiloensis Beach or Coast Strawberry hugs the ground, will get dense and is shade tolerant. Combining this with Heucheras will give some vertical interest and will provide attractive long-lasting flower heads the extend a foot or so over its basal leaves. Something real hardy would be Ribes viburnifolium Catalina Currant. It gets 3 to 4 feet high and arches out from the ground. It is evergreen and has attractive leaves, stems and fragrance, but you would have to cut it back to keep it contained in the 2` width of the planter strip. </p>

01-25-2003, 11:02 AM
Thanks to all for the recommendations. The area really does get baked in the summer, and I think it will be a while until the pistaches provide much protection the ones that have been there for years are still relatively small, so I`ll take a look at some of the more heat-tolerant options. Thanks!</p>