Trimming Your Ground Cover Plants
Whether they’re low and sleek or tall and blousy, ground cover plants do just what they say they will. Although they need little maintenance, ground cover plants require trimming to stay healthy and manageable. Trimming ground cover falls under two categories: hand pruning or mowing with a lawn mower. The choice of whether to prune or mow depends on the plants involved. With lawn mower, the mower will shear plants off across the top, leaving them all the same height. Set the lawnmower to the highest setting to ensure the ground cover is not cut too short. In lieu of a mower, a string trimmer will shear the tops of plants nicely. A string trimmer can also edge the outer perimeter of the area where the ground cover is planted. Bypass pruners, lopping shears and hedge trimmers are all very useful when hand pruning. Bypass pruners function like scissors with blades that overlap. Lopping shears feature long handles and cut through branches up to 1 3/4 inches in diameter.
Hedge trimmers allow gardeners to cut more than one stem at a time. Plan each cut carefully and proceed in order of pruning importance. Start by removing any damaged or diseased stems and branches. Cut back to a healthy section on the stem or branch. Next, make cuts for training purposes, removing any wayward branches growing in an undesirable direction. Finally, thin out any ground cover with a solid canopy. Cut one branch out of every three branches. Thinning allows light and air to circulate among the plants and helps ward off pests and diseases.