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Groundcover or ground cover is any plant that grows over an area of ground. Groundcover provides protection of the topsoil from erosion and drought. In an ecosystem, the ground cover forms the layer of vegetation below the shrub layer known as the herbaceous layer. The most widespread ground covers are grasses of various types. In ecology, groundcover is a difficult subject to address because it is known by several different names and is classified several different ways. The term groundcover could also be referring to “the herbaceous layer,” “regenerative layer", “ground flora” or even "step over." In agriculture, ground cover refers to anything that lies on top of the soil and protects it from erosion and inhibits weeds. It can be anything from a low layer of grasses to a plastic material. The term ground cover can also specifically refer to landscaping fabric which is like a breathable tarp that allows water and gas exchange. In gardening jargon, however, the term groundcover refers to plants that are used in place of weeds and improves appearance by concealing bare earth.