There are a couple of places in my yard I once wrote off to bush killer and inch plant.

Bush killer, sometimes incorrectly called Virginia creeper, is hard to eradicate. After repeated digging and spraying, I surrendered.

Inch plant is not unattractive, but it grows thickly and there were things I wanted to grow where the inch plant grew. I dug up the inch plant and transplanted some of it to the bush killer bed. Using inch plant as ground cover didn’t get rid of the bush killer, but it slowed the pest plant’s growth considerably and, eventually, I began mowing that part of the yard. Today, the bush killer is manageable. I continued mowing where the inch plant had held sway. After a few months, I was able to till the ground. This summer, that once useless part of the yard supported a nice stand of giant zinnias.

Other uses for what might be called ground cover are erosion control on slopes, getting something to grow where grass doesn’t do well, reducing temperature and glare, and reducing the amount of yard you have to mow.

LSU horticulturists define ground cover as low-growing plants other than turf grass. Some ground covers do well under trees. Others act as barriers and may be used to direct foot traffic through a yard or garden.

For more on monkey or mondo grass, liriope, Japanese ardesia and Asian jasmine, go to