Eight species of groundcovers commonly used in the southwestern United States were subjected to renovation by mowing during a 2-year study: red apple, coyote bush, pink iceplant, trailing lantana, prostrate myoporum, trailing African daisy, dwarf rosemary and garden verbena. Plant response was evaluated monthly in terms of total height, thickness of thatch, density, and overall appearance. Six species responded favorably to mowing at a height of 10 cm (4 in) in that thatch and height were significantly reduced for up to several months with only a brief loss in aesthetic quality. Coyote bush, trailing lantana, prostrate myoporum and garden verbena responded well to March mowings, while pink iceplant and trailing African daisy responded well to June mowings. In the two species that did not respond favorably (red apple and dwarf rosemary), the 10 cm (4 in) mowing treatment significantly reduced thatch and height but their aesthetic quality and density were reduced to unacceptable levels for several months. These findings provide landscape managers, architects and designers with specific information needed to conduct effective, minimum input maintenance programs.
Support provided by Univ. of Calif. South Coast Research and Extension Center. The authors gratefully acknowledge staff research associate—Douglas B.Holt, and statistician—Lori Yates.
2Environmental Horticulture Advisor, Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension.
3Extension Urban Horticulture Specialist.