shady ground covers

Hello, I have a wooded area that I want to replace the weeds with attractive groundcovers. I have fresh dirt and need to plant. Would planting from seed take too long? I am having a hard time finding the plants. Most mail order companies won't ship until the fall and I can't really wait that long. I am looking for suggestions. Thank you. Jody
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It depends Jody. You haven't mentioned what planting zone your in, etc. But as a general rule, planting ground cover seeds in mid summer doesn't sound very productive. The reasons why the mail order companies aren't shipping those kind of plants now is because it's not a good time to do so. That shouldn't deter you from pulling out all the weeds, herbaciding two weeks later for sprout eradication, than roto-tilling and amending the soil in preparation for fall. It will keep you busy.

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J. Caldwell, I am in zone 6 (Near Philadelphia, PA). I figured since it was a woodland site that gets filtered light I could plant. I did pick up some ground covers and some perennials at the local nursery. I am going to put these in now and I was thinking of putting down a mulch that will decompose easily. I do not have access to a rototill and use only organic products. (Difficult task with the kinds of weeds that grow in woodland areas. The vines seem to go on forever underground.) That does limit me in regards to herbicides. There are some natural products on the market that I am going to try. Any suggestions on this would be of great value. I understand that mail order catalogs aren't shipping plants because the summer heat does not allow for safe shipping. Anyway, thanks for your response and advice. Sincerely, Jody

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Hi Jody,
I was waiting for you to post your location. I'm in zone 5b- Chicago, and for shade area groundcover I see lots of vinca, ivy, and wintercreeper amongst others. If you want a nice bright taller plant/groundcover, Bishop's Weed is attractive (IMO), but is VERY aggressive. Spreads quickly too.
Good luck.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Guglielmo Portas) wrote:

Hello, I'm in Zone 7, Carolina, but you might also try Ajuga. Nice purple spears in spring, cover with leaves/straw in winter. Spreads if fertilized. Real low ground cover, maybe in front. Also, creeping euonymus is cool. Hope it helps,
hands in dirt, b
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I like lamium for wetter areas. Or, if you can get some hosta growing in between trees, it reproduces every year.
When I lived in zone 5b in Ohio, I had a HUGE stand of Royal Standard Hosta. It was always an eye catcher with shiny leaves (very green and lush) and I even divided it and sold large 1 gallon samples for a few dollars apiece every year (at a block garage sale). Now I'm in California, where the soil is sandy and rock hard, the sun is hot, and the soil is mucho acidic! (No more hosta except in containers.) There's a pic at http://www.millernursery.com/perennial/hostaRoyalStandard.htm . The only secret is watering a lot the first year.
Good luck.
--Ashley Burns

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How about taking a walk through a wooded area and see what is growing native to the area? Most bulbs look nice in a wooded area if you just throw them out and plant where they land. Bleeding hearts do well in wooded areas and grow very well in the Philly area. I helped my friend in Philly completely renovate her yard to look "natural" since it is a pre-revolutionary house in Chestnut Hill, and it looks AWESOME, like all the things we planted grew there naturally. She isn't much of a gardener, and it still looks great 3 years later.
Good luck!
Suzi

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Thank you all for your tips. A lot of the plants you mentioned I found at a local nursery already. Some of the other ones I couldn't find so I was trying to get them from a mail order nursery but I can't do that until the fall. One of the questions I still have is whether you can grow some of these type of perennials from seed. Also, we cleared the land of poison and other nuisance plants and don't want them to grow back by the time these plants get established or planted (since many I can't get until the fall). I really am looking for a solution to cover the raw ground with until that point so the weeds don't come back. I also need some type of organic weed killer for the ones who do make an appearance. Is there anyone out there who has experience with organic weed killers?

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| Also, we cleared the land of poison and | other nuisance plants and don't want them to grow back by the time these | plants get established or planted (since many I can't get until the fall). | I really am looking for a solution to cover the raw ground with until that | point so the weeds don't come back. I also need some type of organic weed | killer for the ones who do make an appearance. Is there anyone out there | who has experience with organic weed killers?
One option is covering the area with black plastic or a lot of newspaper. The newspaper will eventually decompose too. You may want to do a search at http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/ and under the organic garden forum. I get a ton of info from the Garden Web forum.
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You could use peat moss, which decomposes faster than a wood chip mulch. I'd forget about organic weed killers for poison ivy. That's hard enough to kill with regular weed killer. Of the choices available, Roundup is probably the safest vegetation killer, but it will probably take multiple applications to kill poison ivy.
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Great suggestions! Thank you.

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