ground cover for tricky situation

LizJJJanuary 4, 2013

Help master gardeners, I need an indestructable ground cover for a very tricky situation. I live on a very busy street in Chicago, between the street and the sidewalk there is a lawn that is very tricky to grow on because of several reasons: shallow roots from 2 nearby trees, salt spray on the area during winter, and poor soil from trash and cigarette butt litter. The area is partly shady with dappled sunlight.
What ground cover will fill this space quickly?? I have though of Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdoln) The invasiveness will not matter bec the area is surrounded on all sides by concrete, but I don't know if this will thrive bec of the dappled sunlight.
I want something that will take over quickly. Please help :) Is there something that will grow here??

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mistascott(7A VA)

Do you want something evergreen?

In terms of evergreen plants, something like Vinca minor comes to mind as pretty durable. Euonymus fortunei works as well.

My pick would be a mini-shrub called Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), which is notably salt-tolerant, has brilliant fall color, winter berries to give it interest, is evergreen, and can thrive in dappled shade. However, it is slow growing (adding about 4-6" per year in width). To me, its strengths outweigh this single "weakness."

See the link below for a picture of it in fall.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by mistascott on Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 15:36

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 3:28PM
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fireweed22

Bearberry aka kinickinick is not tolerant of salt, and does better in full sun. Lots of experience with it here...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Krt1

i would like to know how big an area you covering?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Christof76

Hi, under these condition I think I would take "Waldsteinia ternata". Fast growing, and in case of damage able to regenerate quickly.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:29AM
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don_in_colorado

Good old-fashioned Creeping Jenny, perhaps?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 3:55AM
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edlincoln(6A)

Bearberry is VERY tolerant of salt. It is true it doesn't like shade. It is also slow growing and hard to find. Buying enough to fill in a yard can be expensive.

One problem is the most salt tolerant plants tended to evolve on beaches, and don't like shade. Plants that like shade tend to be ones that evolved for forest understoreys.

Creeping Jenny has been banned in some states for it's invasiveness...

American Beachgrass is tolerant of salt and poor soil, but doesn't like shade.

You could try clover...it does pretty well in compacted or infertile soil, and I've seen it in median strips, so it has to be moderately salt tolerant.

Boston Ivy and Lily of the Valley like shade and are pretty tough. Lily of the Valley isn't evergreen, however.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 1:48

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 11:43PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I would try Geranium maccrorihizum. I don't know how tolerant it is to salt, but it's tough, semi-evergreen, and likes shade and dry conditions.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 6:16AM
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ken_mce(zone 4, NY)

Does this area get foot traffic?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:12PM
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