How to Control Low-Growing Ground Cover


Low-growing ground covers have a number of useful purposes in the home landscape. Once they mature, they will be dense enough to keep unwanted weeds under control. They can prevent soil erosion, especially on hillsides where grass isn't practical, and often, they will grow where nothing else will. Low-growing ground covers can also be very attractive, as long as they are properly controlled and maintained.

Step 1

Control weeds until the low-growing ground cover has grown enough to fill in the empty spaces. Pull or hoe the weeds, and then spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch such as straw or bark chips to keep weeds down.

Step 2

Prune low-growing ground covers with garden pruners or a weed trimmer before new growth begins every spring, but be sure to wait until after the last frost. Remove any damaged or dead foliage, and trim as much as necessary to keep the ground cover neat. Don't cut the foliage back too severely, which can damage the plants.

Step 3

Mow low-growing ground cover every two or three years with the lawn mower blade at the highest setting, or with a weed trimmer. This will keep the ground cover healthy and well-manicured.

Step 4

Fertilize low-growing ground cover after its annual spring pruning. Use a balanced dry fertilizer or an all-purpose liquid fertilizer, and apply it according to the manufacturer's directions. Be sure to water the ground cover well immediately after fertilizing. Fertilizer will help to keep the ground cover green and healthy.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe
  • Organic mulch
  • Garden pruners or weed trimmer
  • Lawn mower


  • Colorado State University Extension: Ground Cover Plants
  • NC State University: Ground Covers
  • The Garden Helper: Growing Ground Covers in the Garden
Keywords: ground covers, low-growing ground covers, organic mulch

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.