Smothering the ground with plants minimizes the possibility of weed seedlings becoming established. Any number of plants can be used in this way, as long as they are planted close enough together. The term ground cover is normally applied to low-growing plants used to fill in the spaces between other plants, but the lawn, the meadow and naturalistic plantings, already discussed, are all also examples of ground-cover plantings. Once established, ground covers are low on maintenance but initially, whilst the plants are developing, they can require a lot of attention, particularly the need to remove weed seedlings which appear between the plants. In less formal areas of our gardens the lawn may be replaced with ground-covering ornamental grasses as these usually require less maintenance. Also, lawn grasses often present problems when grown near to trees. Too much shade, or soil that is sucked dry by tree roots, are frequent causes of lawn failure. A well-chosen ground cover should in the long term generate less work and either look as good or better than the lawn it replaces,. The woodrushes are an ideal evergreen candidate for a wide range of difficult garden situations. Luzula sylvatica will rapidly cover the dry, shady ground under established trees, producing a lush and healthy sward about 45cm/18in high. Other less vigorous species might just as well be chosen. Where attractive white spring flowers are desirable, L. nivea , reaching a height of 30cm/12in, produces a neat and glossy cover; for a similar, but very low covering, L. luzulina cannot be bettered; for large areas L. pilosa , a weed in some gardens, quickly forms impenetrable mats of vegetation. Excerpted from Gardening with Grasses by Michael King, Piet Oudolf All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.