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Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Posted by keeval 7b NC (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 5, 12 at 12:37

I have a strip of lawn, bordered on one side by the driveway and on the other, by my neighbor's fescue lawn. At the mailbox end is a small garden. The other end runs alongside the house (north side) and is mostly shade. I want to replace the grass with groundcover. I plan to use Corsican Mint in the shady area, where we will put in a stone path that leads to the back yard.

For the front portion of lawn, which I'm guesstimating is about 25 ft. long by about 4 ft. wide, I'd like to find a groundcover that is evergreen, not invasive and will tolerate some foot traffic (though not a lot). It gets partial to full sun. I'm considering Mazus Reptans (maybe the Alba). I should note that I also seriously considered various Thymes, but don't want to attract the bees...kids and dogs are a consideration.

Will this work well for my needs? I read somewhere that Mazus Reptans may need to be protected from afternoon sun in this area. Is the heat and humidity of our summers too much for it? I'd love to hear from people who are growing it successfully in this area, especially under similar conditions. I've researched a lot of groundcovers, and so far, this one seems to be my best choice.

This will be my first time trying groundcover, and I am anxious to get started. Thanks in advance for all help and advice!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Isn't Mazus the one with the pretty purple flowers?

Are you planning to plant the entire 4x25' with this material..gonna get pretty costly and you'll be fighting weeds until it fills in as it spreads.
So, this material is going to bump up against your neighbor's fescue lawn?

How is the drainage to this parcel and why is grass not an option?
Have you considered ajuga.Not that I love the stuff but I bought a house last summer , an old one, and there are clusters of dark purple leafed ajuga growing in clusters all over the place..in full sun and in full shade.Same height as the turf it's in.
From what I read it is practically indestructible to walk traffic. I know I've run it over with the car tires several times and it doesn't seem to care.

Whatever you choose short of sod, prepare yourself for a couple years of it looking ratty and patchy.
If you've got the right growing conditions, in about three years of continuous weeding you'll have the effect you want.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Grass is an option...that's what has been there for 12 years. It's a hassle to maintain, though, which is why I want a groundcover. Running down one side of this area (the other side from the driveway) is a berm. It's a pain to mow, water, and use a spreader on. I'm looking for low maintenance on this section.

I was thinking of starting the groundcover from seed indoors, to minimize the expense.

I can look into the ajuga. Does it have advantages over the mazus?

I thought some of these groundcovers filled in quickly. I really didn't expect three years.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

You could consider periwinkle (vinca minor), too. You'd want some sort of barrier to keep it from ending up in your neighbor's grass since it does runner, but if it's surrounded on all sides it's a well behaved ground cover that is evergreen and looks nice and can tolerate a little foot traffic. It may not tolerate full hot sun here, though. Ajuga is nice, too- but same caveat about the sun- at least mine prefers part shade. and mazus is good as well- i've seen it wild in mats on the ground at nurseries, which is always a good sign. I do have to note that in my one area that i've tried several ground covers, the ajuga has done better with foot traffic than the mazus. Another to consider is creeping jenny- lysamachia reptens. It comes in green or golden green and spreads but does very well in the conditions you list. If it's full sun it will probably need some supplemental watering. Another thought is if you did stepping stones, you could widen your net by a lot b/c there are tons of groundcovers that will do very well if you can keep the foot traffic off. That would open it to sedums and other things that wouldn't need any water or fuss, and spread faster. Almost any groundcover you consider will be somewhat invasive unless it's super slow which will mean it's super expensive, like mini mondo grass. It's part of what makes for a decent groundcover.

Clover would be a good, kid friendly groundcover, though if you worry about bees, you'd have to weed whack the white blooms off a couple times in late spring.

Sadly, corsican mint won't hold up in our heat. Consider pennyroyal- another mint, instead. You may have to weed whack it when it tries to bloom but otherwise it's well behaved and smells nice. You can find seed for it, too. One caveat- it is an abortifeacant, so if your wife is, or gets pregnant, don't let her walk barefoot or handle it much. Like corsican mint you don't cook with it. Ajuga will do well in shade, too, as will the periwinkle and lysamachia. Something to consider for shade is actually the wild violets we have around. They are tough little guys, can deal with shade and will bloom prettily in spring. I'm currently getting a colony going on my own 'north side of the house, strip of pavers' that is always abused and never watered. They will seed themselves into a decent carpet once they are established.

Good luck!


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Tamelask, thanks for your reply. I would have replied sooner, but mulch was delivered Friday and I turned my attention to that for a few days.

I am actually planning stepping stones for the shady end of this area, alongside the house (north side), leading to the back yard. This is the main entry to the back and the area I wanted to plant corsican mint (among and around the stones). The area toward the front (the sunny area where I'm considering mazus) would probably only receive foot traffic on occasion, now that you've got me thinking about foot traffic more. That might help the case for mazus. I like some of your alternatives, but am concerned about the sun in that area.

About the Corsican Mint -- since this would be in a shady area, only receiving early morning sun, plus a short exposure around mid-day, do you think that would help? Or is it not likely to do well, even in those conditions? I'd rather not do the pennyroyal if it's risky in any way...no more babies for me, but others will use this path, so I'd rather avoid the risks. Thanks for that bit of info!

I so want to switch this area to groundcovers, mainly for low maintenance, but am starting to think it will be difficult to find something that works in my conditions. I do feel rather discouraged at this point.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

No worries- i'm just getting 'round to rechecking, myself. Mulch deliveries are good!

All i can tell you is that i tried corsican mint a couple of times in my path close to the house where it gets at most 2 hours of sun a day and it absolutely melted in the summer. Ditto for another lovely shady groundcover called scotch or irish moss. It's just too hot here for them, even in the shade. Maybe someone else can chime in with a better experience. There are gorgeous native mosses, if you like the look of that for your shady side, as another option. I understand abut pennyroyal, which is why i mentioned it. There are other plants with the same effect, just so you know (rue for one).

There's a website selling stepables, and has a great engine to help you figure out suitable groundcovers for certain conditions. Haven't been on it for a bit but i assume it's still out there. Logan's in downtown raleigh used to sell some of their plants. I do believe they are based in the upper midwest, though, so what might do well there in the sun may not be able to deal with our heat or level of sun, so just bear that in mind.

One suggestion i make fairly often for a large planting of anything- be it groundcover or a windbreak, or whatever, is rather than starting a monoculture, try 2 or 3 different species of plants and see which one does better. Eventually one is likely to take the whole way over for groundcovers, but in the meanwhile you have a beautiful tapestry of colors and textures. The other nice thing is if they do develop at a similar pace and don't outfight each other, and disease hits, only one of the varieties of plants will likely be affected and the others will fill in fast because they'll already be established. Especially for large plantings of trees or shrubs it's hard to find replacements that match size & scale- not so much of an issue with groundcovers.

Not sure where you are but if you decide you want to try periwinkle, holler, because i have a hillside of it i'd like to get rid of. I planted it in the woods but it's a bit too invasive with the natives for my taste for that use. What you'd be doing with it, though would keep it contained. Again, i'm not sure about the sun, but you're welcome to try if you'd like. I'm in a burb of Raleigh.

Don't feel discouraged. Groundcovers can be a bit of work as far as installation and cost, BUT they are less work after they are well established than grass- i'd say after year 3 you're in good shape. And they are beautiful, and add other textures, colors, etc to an area! Grass gets awfully boring. If you decide on what you want, you may want to ck craig's list or some such and see if anyone is getting rid of what you want- you may just save some money and get more plants in exchange for a bit more work. Just a thought.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Hello to all, I just stumble across this thread and happen to have Mazus in a 4x12 ft. Area. 3rd summer and it is choking weeds out nicely (pulled 4 weeds all summer so far.) I'm new to ground covers as I liked the look of mulch. However this little area of Mazus that I have us rapidly changing my mind do to it's VERY low maintaince (weeding) that I want ground cover in 4 other beds. However, I'd prefer not to duplicate by using the ground cover. I'm looking in the Vinca Minor, Thymus and Phlox families. What I understand from Tametask's response that Vinca Minor and Thymus will choke out weeds as well as Mazus does once established (2/3 years). Did I understand that correctly? Also I'm looking for recommendations for shade ground cover that 1. Chokes weeds out, 2. Will cascade over small(8 inch)
wall, 3. Is low growing (traffic is not a problem, raised bed drains well) thanks for any ideas.

Kenny


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Hello to all, I just stumble across this thread and happen to have Mazus in a 4x12 ft. Area. 3rd summer and it is choking weeds out nicely (pulled 4 weeds all summer so far.) I'm new to ground covers as I liked the look of mulch. However this little area of Mazus that I have us rapidly changing my mind do to it's VERY low maintaince (weeding) that I want ground cover in 4 other beds. However, I'd prefer not to duplicate by using the ground cover. I'm looking in the Vinca Minor, Thymus and Phlox families. What I understand from Tametask's response that Vinca Minor and Thymus will choke out weeds as well as Mazus does once established (2/3 years). Did I understand that correctly? Also I'm looking for recommendations for shade ground cover that 1. Chokes weeds out, 2. Will cascade over small(8 inch)
wall, 3. Is low growing (traffic is not a problem, raised bed drains well) thanks for any ideas.

Kenny


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Lawn replacement is one of major objectives in our garden development. Here's a summary of our experiences so far:

Dry areas in full sun are the biggest challenge to fill with steppables (for paths between beds). Sedums and delospermas grow well there but even their shorter varieties are definitely non-steppable. Sedum acre is particularly low-growing and listed as traffic-tolerant but it doesn't seem to handle the Southern heat very well. Thymus serpyllum, often named as the lawn substitute for full sun, has a tendency to melt as well. We managed to establish a few patches and it seems to help if it is planted in the fall not in the spring. Taller thymes, such as Thymus citriodorus, seem to grow better here. This season, we started testing Herniaria glabra, which resembles creeping thyme but is claimed to be more drought resistant because of deeper tap roots, and it looks promising. We are also scaling up Rubus pentalobus and Muehlenbeckia axillaris.

In wet areas in full sun, we see good growth of Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea' and Pratia pedunculata (a.k.a. Isotoma/Laurentia fluviatilis); they both do also well in drier shade. Pratia is a particularly low and compact grower.

In part shade (still a hot Western wall exposure), we've had good success with Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue' - grows taller with time but can be mowed occasionally. It filled a 40' x 3' area in two seasons (with repeated layering) from a 1 gal container and this spring it was already a dense carpet covered fully with blue flowers. It was less successful in full sun in a wetter location - a small patch was established over winter but attempts to expand it by layering killed it.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Thank you for sharing your experiences.my understanding is all of the ground covers you've tried do well with weed control. I'll have to find different cultivars of different types and see what will work for me. Thank you again


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

Ajunga.
Only thing I would plant there, I love the stuff.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - or dwarf mondo lawn replacement in the Trian

Are there any more follow up for the ideas in this conversation? I in the the RTP area and have grown dwarf mondo for many years. I am just now thinking of making a small area off my patio (15 x 10) entirely in mondo grass.


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RE: Mazus Reptans - OK as lawn replacement in the Triangle?

coming back to this thread, keeval I hope you did not go with vinca minor. It cannot be controlled because it runs both above and below ground. You want something that will not invade your neighbor's fescue lawn.
You didn't mention the 'berm' raised aspect of this boundary between yards until describing later why grass is not preferred (due to difficulty mowing).
May I also suggest that you add simple iceplant among where your other choices are planted. It thrives in the sun and well drained areas and is everblooming a rosy fuschia color flowers that close in the late afternoon. Keep one plant potted and from that you can root in simple cup of water as many more plants as are needed. It even stays semi green during the winter.


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