Good ground covers serve several uses for a gardener. Like mulch, ground covers shade the soil. This cools the plant roots in hot weather and also reduces watering needs. The ground covers reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the soil, thus greatly reducing germination of weed seeds. They accomplish all this while looking very attractive and adding to the beauty of your garden.

Unlike mulch, many ground covers flower, and they are mostly permanent. Instead of decomposing into the soil as mulch does, ground covers expand to cover more territory each year. Ground covers are also a good answer to controlling erosion on steep slopes.

Barb Mrgich is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone is 717-334-6271.

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