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Originally published Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 7:00 PM

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Ground cover may be best plant choice under trees

A list of ground cover plants that work well under trees.

Daily Press (Newport News, Va

Tired of seeding, fertilizing and watering grass and it just dies on you, thanks to trees that gobble up all the moisture and nutrients you put down?

Stop fighting Mother Nature and do yourself a favor. Plant ground covers instead under trees and enjoy your yard more with less work and hassle.

What's a good, easy ground cover?

Liriope, cold hardy in Zones 5-11, is probably the easiest — but only if you select the right variety and plant it properly.

For the right liriope, consider the clumping variety known as Liriope muscari instead of the rapidly creeping variety known as Liriope spicata. In late summer, liriope produces a beautiful purple or white flower spike, depending on the variety you plant.

Liriope gets no disease or pest problems, tolerates sun or shade and is easy to maintain when you plant it in a huge mass that a power mower can cut down in late winter, before new growth emerges in spring.

Cutting liriope by hand is a pain, so avoid planting it in a long border that's not accessible with a mower. Even a string trimmer is bad because it throws liriope clippings everywhere.

Other ground covers to consider as a turf alternative include:

• Ajuga for morning sun/afternoon shade

• Mondo grass for dappled shade (needs extra moisture in sun).

• Day lilies (tolerate dappled sun/shade)

• Plumbago (light shade, pretty purple flowers in summer)

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• Violets

• Lenten rose (light shade)

• Pachysandra (light shade)

• Sedum (sun)

• Periwinkle (sun to shade)

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