How to Get Rid of English Ivy
How to kill & prevent climbing, common or English ivy.
Evergreen and ever growing.
Often called Climbing Ivy or Common English Ivy. It's common all across the UK. Low maintenance and year round green make it a popular choice for gardeners & landscapers.
Unfortunately, the same resilience and ease of care that can make ivy the choice of landscapers makes it difficult to get rid of.
While its removal can be frustrating, time and patience are the only things required. Remember, procrastination is a gardeners worst enemy and Ivies best friend.
Obviously the method you choose to get rid of your Ivy problem will depend on the time you have and amount of money your willing to spend.
If money is no object and your short on time then the easiest and best way is to call a professional landscaper or gardener.
If you choose to do it yourself you will find that regardless the method, it takes a concerted effort to kill English Ivy as once it sets in roots, the plant's interconnected structure makes it difficult to completely kill.
Using chemical or manual methods will likely require multiple "treatments" ... Ivy is notorious but with persistence and patience it can be easily eliminated.
Eliminating that PESKY Ivy isn't an expensive job and even if you have zero gardening equipment it can be picked up for less than £20 at your local garden store.
The most important equipment no matter what method you choose to eradicate your Ivy is a good pair of gardening shears. This is because live or dead, you will need to cut away the tendrils and leaves.
The size of shears will likely depend on how established your ivy has become. The longer its had to grow, the thicker its stems and tendrils will likely be, requiring potentially larger or sharper pruning shears.
The best choice for shears are ones that likely allow you either to chop away large stems and tendrils or allow for quick and comfortable clipping of smaller pieces.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE SHARP!
Consider both a smaller set of shears and a larger pair as you will need to trim away smaller pieces along with the larger stems. Long armed pruning shears may also come in useful if the Ivy is growing in a hard to reach place.
On its own, herbicide is difficult to use for two reasons:
The first problem is that English Ivy has a waxy layer on its leaves, making it difficult for herbicides to penetrate and take effect on the ivy.
The other issue is that many herbicides will kill not only the ivy, but most other plant life, making this method difficult for the removal of ivy that has encroached on other plants.
Most likely you will have to use an herbicide that contains glysophate which will damage other green plants if they come in contact with the glysophate, meaning that you will need to be careful when applying.
An alternate to glysophate that is more ideal for ground cover ivy is triclopyr, which is suited for weeds that grow in grass.
If ivy has encroached onto your lawn, triclopyr can minimize damage to grasses. But keep in mind that triclopyr is harmful to trees and shrubs,
Regardless of what you've read online, there are no DIY weed killers that will kill Ivy, they may burn parts of it but it will just regrow.
Even with herbicides, which are easier and less work intensive at first, they do require similar clean up and trimming to remove the dead ivy as chemical free methods. You will also likely have to make several applications to completely kill off the ivy.
The clear advantage is that most herbicides will also kill the roots of plants, preventing their return once the leaves wither.
TOP TIP :
Add dish soap to your weed killer to aid in the penetration of waxy leaves. Alternatively you can roughen up the leaves with a rake before application of the weed killer. Always use a sprayer when applying weed killer to Ivy for accurate dispersal.
No matter your method of removal, you will likely need some way to dispose of English Ivy in a way that will prevent its spread to other areas.
While ivy can be composted, most knowledgeable gardeners do not recommend that you compost live plants, or plants treated with glysophate or triclopyr.
You could also bundle and dispose of the English Ivy with your regular trash or garden waste pickup. One caveat with this method is that depending on what is done with your garden waste, it is likely possible that you could be passing on this problem to someone else.
A better choice if possible is to burn the plants once removed. This will prevent any seeds from spreading after removal. Make sure though that if you used a chemical treatment that those chemicals can be burnt without noxious fumes being created.
TOP TIP :
Sharp pruning shears are a must. Ivy isn't too thick but make sure you get a well made pair as it's likely you will be cutting a lot.
Click here see more manual weeding tips for other tough weeds and general gardening.
TOP TIP :
If properly killed and disposed of it's unlikely to return. If you are going to kill Ivy use a weed killer and let it do it's work then remove by hand and burn the plants.
The weed killer will ensure the Ivy is properly killed so that it doesn't regrow from the root system. Ideally leave it for 30 days after application before removing.
TOP TIP :
If using a herbicide be ultra careful not to get on to the tree. You can use a sprayer or paint the concentrated weed killer on with a brush or similar. Most weed killers can't be absorbed through bark but the Ivy may have damaged underneath.
Did you know?
Ivy is a perrenial weed and can easily regrow from left over roots. If you don't use a weed killer make sure you get all the roots.
Patience is key with Ivy, even with a strong weed killer you may need 2 applications to completely eradicate the climbing Ivy.
Top Tip :
If you don't mind waiting you can cut the Ivy at the base of the wall or fence and pull up the roots. This will slow down the growth until you can get around to dealing with it properly.
While it can be a pleasing part of your landscaping, can also be an unwanted part of your garden. Many enjoy allowing their Ivy to climb their home and it provides ideal nesting grounds for small birds and other wildlife.
Many believe it a nuisance plant and if left unchecked it will damage walls, crowd out other plants and even grow into your concrete,
Through a concerted effort and diligent work, you can remove it. The key is patience & persistence.
While it is possible to kill off the ivy through both manual and chemical means alone, it recommended to combine the two, along with thorough disposal, in order to most likely assure that the ivy does not recur..
Did you know?
Ivy was hugely popular in the 60s, 70s & 80s for landscaping. It is still relatively common across gardens in the UK.