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Ground cover for sun baked clay back yard

 
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Good evening,

I just moved into a new home, and I am looking for a good ground cover for my back yard besides grass.

The backyard has basically nothing growing in it now, as it is in Georgia, and it is clay baked in the sun for 8+ hours a day. I want something to shade the ground, and to start to loosen the soil. My yard backs up against the woods, but it faces south and bakes. Also, when it rains, everything just sweeps to woods.

Now, on the plus side, I have started installing microswales in the yard, and the erosion is decreasing. I figure once i get more in, it will start to hydrate as well. Just looking for something to shade the ground, break it up a bit, and help hold the moisture in. Any thoughts would be awesome.

Thanks,
Andy in Georgia
 
Posts: 1837
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
122
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Our soil is clay as well. Forsythia do well in it. We have some clover growing just fine. Wheat grows really well though.
 
Posts: 122
Location: VT, USA Zone 4/5
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I have some pretty compacted clay soil. I seeded with a mix and red clover is pretty much the only thing that took - and it is doing well. It's a nitrogen fixing taproot, so pretty good for increasing organic matter!
 
Posts: 411
Location: Georgia
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Cover the ground with whatever you prefer: wood chips, pine straw, hay, wheat straw etc.

Then gradually plant whatever you want. Part of my yard is in daylilies but I have a fig tree, blue berry
Bushes and a fenced in area for vegetables. You really can grow just about anything you want in a permanent
mulch.
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Posts: 93
Location: New England
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Native plants are a good option. They do not require work if planted in the correct place.

Good list:

http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/native-plants-for-georgia/
 
pollinator
Posts: 518
Location: AndalucĂ­a, Spain
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We have hard clay on a south facing property in the south of Spain - dry dry dry. We have covered it in mulch (full of seeds - natural seeds as it was weeds from the municipal cutting of the ditches around here) and goat manure and dug micro-swales and shade by palm leaves. Stuff is growing now - we have planted red clover, mustard, rocket, corn, cucumber/squash, potatoes and trees (all in a lovely mess), the ground is covered and now with minimal watering we can plant stuff that will shade out the grasses. Bit by bit we will get the ground loosened - we will continue to ad massive layers of mulch and manure.
 
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