Can creeping Charlie be used for a lawn?

Q: I have creeping Charlie growing in my backyard. I like the way it looks, it doesn’t need mowing, and it can handle my five dogs. I’m thinking of planting the rest of my lawn in creeping Charlie. Would that be a big mistake? Janice Morrissey, email

A: This member of the mint family smells good when you walk on it or mow it. Even though it is a perennial plant, it will die back somewhat in winter. There are variegated forms that are used in hanging baskets. To experiment, I think you could collect pieces in your yard after you mow and scatter them in bare areas and cover slightly with soil. They should all take root and sprout.

Q: My small asparagus garden has gone to ferns, as it should. Are the red “berries” on the ferns seeds? I harvested the red berries, air-dried them and squeezed out the small black seeds. Can they be planted in peat pots? Robert Radics, Forsyth County

A: You bet! The seeds need to be exposed to two months of chilly temperatures and moist conditions to initiate sprouting. I’d fill peat pots with potting soil, put 2-3 seeds an inch down in the pot, moisten the soil, cover with plastic so they don’t dry out, and put somewhere dark outside from now until late April. You should see little green sprouts then.

Q: I planted zebra grass this past May but cannot find good information on how to care for it in winter. When should I cut it back? Do I need to mulch around the base for it to come back next year? Kellie Marsh, Walker County

A: Zebra grass, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’, should grow fine in Walker County. You should cut it back to 6-8 inches above the soil surface in February. It’s important to cut it as low as you can without getting down into the living crown of the grass. If you consistently cut it high, the center of the clump will have lots of rotting debris in it and new sprouts won’t push through.

Q: I saw your article about using dwarf mondo grass in a lawn instead of grass. When is the best time to plant? Meg Anderson, Madison

A: In clay soil, it would be good to loosen the soil beforehand. If you have a way to water, you can plant any time. I fertilize mine once a year with any organic fertilizer (Milorganite, Holly-Tone, etc) I can find.

Email Walter at georgiagardener@yahoo.com. Listen to his comments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener, for his latest tips.