Ground cover in Louisiana is used for aesthetic value, erosion control, and ease of establishment and maintenance. Ground cover typically includes traditional lawn grasses, shrubs, perennials and low-growing vines. However, unlike turf grass on lawn areas, ground cover plants are used for landscaping in less traveled areas that are not intended for pedestrian use. Both broadleaf and grassy weeds compete for space with ground cover plants.
Yellow foxtail (Setaria glauca) is a grassy, summer annual with rolled, light-green leaves extending vertically from a central clump. This weed spreads by seeds, which are produced on a long stem terminating in a bushy seed head. Yellow foxtail seeds germinate in the spring and summer when the soil temperature reaches 65 degree F. Removing the seed head and the grassy clump controls growth in ground cover areas.
Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi) is a common grassy weed found throughout the Eastern United States and Louisiana. Low growing with narrow, folded, white-green leaves, nimblewill spreads quickly through the use of above ground stolons and seeds. Nimblewill grows aggressively in shady ground cover areas and turns brown during the winter months. Regular mowing is an easy method of prevention, however, ground cover areas are rarely mowed making prevention challenging.
Blackmedic (Medicago lupulina) is a low growing, broadleaf, summer annual that prefers low fertility soils and direct sunlight. With green foliage and clover shaped leaves, blackmedic produces globular clusters of yellow flowers and spreads by seedpods. Blackmedic is opportunistic and will take advantage of sparely growing ground cover areas.
White clover (Trifolium repens) is a broadleaf, winter perennial with a shallow root system that spreads by the use of above ground stolons that branch off at nodes forming new stems. With green foliage and oblong leaves, white cover weeds have white flowers that bloom May through September at a rate of 20 to 40 flowers per individual plant. Ground cover areas are particularly susceptible to white clover because of their ability to spread quickly and thrive in unmaintained areas.