How to Prune Ground Cover Evergreens


Gardeners prize ground cover evergreens for providing low-maintenance expanses of year-round green. Evergreen ground covers such as ivy, myrtle and moss typically require infrequent pruning, and only then to keep the sprawl in check or to keep the plants tidy. According to Michigan State University Extension, trailing ground covers such as honeysuckle and euonymus radicans benefit from heavier pruning every few years to induce new growth and tamp down pests.

Step 1

Prune your evergreen ground cover lightly throughout the year as needed to remove damaged and dead material. Prune any dying, discolored, diseased or defoliated branches and vines. Cut back to a point of healthy tissue and pull the entire cutting from the ground cover mass.

Step 2

Prune more heavily for shape, size and rejuvenation in the in the spring or fall, bypassing the heat and drought stress of summer and the cold and wind of winter.

Step 3

Cut the perimeter edges of the ground cover to prevent invasion into adjacent planting beds or lawn or to prevent them from spilling over onto the hardscape.

Step 4

Trim the height of the ground cover every year or two to a height of roughly 6 inches. Blanket pruning rejuvenates the plants and encourages fresh growth. It also ensures penetration of sunlight into the plant mass, boosting healthy growth and rousting pests and insects.

Things You'll Need

  • Long-blade, scissor-style pruning shears
  • Secateurs


  • Michigan State University Extension: Pruning Ground Covers
  • Bob Vila: Evergreen Groundcovers
Keywords: pruning groundcover plants, evergreen groundcovers, pruning evergreens

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.