Mowing Thyme Groundcover in New Mexico
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Mary Barr
Posted on: March 11, 2004

I would like to plant a thyme groundcover on the ENE slope of my yard underneath high Ponderosa pine trees. The area gets good sun until early afternoon, then is in shade from the pines and from the house. I live in Zone 5 at 7500ft elevation in northern New Mexico where the sunlight is quite intense. Do you think Mother-of-thyme would be a good choice? Also, can thyme withstand being run over by a lawnmower (set at about 5")? The area has little vegetation, but there are some tall weeds that could be easily controlled with regular mowing.

Mother-of-thyme, or wild thyme (Thymus pulegiodes, syn. Thymus serpyllum) thrives in zone 5. In our zone 5 location in Goodwood, wild thyme successfully competed against lawn grasses and weeds to produce a dense patch in our lawn completely free of weeds -- without need for any weeding at all. The area gets mowed regularly.

You may need to irrigate during dry spells. In our area we have never needed to irrigate because our rainfall is adequate for wild thyme. Even when grasses are turning brown during our dry spells, wild thyme always stays deep green. But your area gets less rain than we do, so this is something that needs to be watched.

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