Save the Groundcover
Protecting the pachysandra from smothering under leaves
In the fall and winter, lots of oak leaves from the nearby woods blow into our pachysandra. Should I cover it with landscape fabric or netting to make spring cleanup easier?
— Clare, Holliston, MA
Roger Cook Replies: You're on the right track, but the netting will be a real head-ache to remove come spring after the snow has pushed it down into the plants. Instead, use a leaf blower to remove as many leaves as possible before the ground freezes. Don't try to get rid of every single leaf — just enough to prevent the plants from being smothered. Any leaves left underneath will break down over time.
You can't really prevent the leaves in the woods from getting into your yard, but you can surround your ground cover with a simple fence made of netting held upright by stakes. Netting blends in much better than landscape fabric.