How to Get Rid of Ivy


Is it Really that Hard?

Evergreen and ever growing.  

It's low maintenance and year round green make it a popular choice for gardeners & landscapers.

Unfortunately, the same resilience and ease of care make extremely 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.

Before you get started here are some key points to consider:

  • Manual removal and smothering are effective methods to kill ivy.
  • Weed killers can be used to kill all kinds of Ivy, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Natural remedies like vinegar, saltwater, boiling water or bleach (not natural) can be used to kill ivy but will likely be much less effective than strong commercial weed killer.
  • Assess the severity of the infestation and consider professional assistance if needed.

Need a strong Ivy killer?

Best for Ivy : Triple Action | Buy now

Manual removal

One of the most effective ways to kill ivy is by manual removal. Follow these steps:

  1. Start by cutting the ivy near the ground, leaving a section of the stem for easier removal.
  2. Gently peel the ivy away from any structures or trees, working from the base upwards.
  3. Remove as many roots as possible to prevent regrowth.
  4. Dispose of the ivy properly to avoid any chance of reinfestation.


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.

Smothering / mulch

If you're dealing with a large patch of climbing ivy, smothering can be an effective method. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Cut the ivy stems and remove as much foliage as possible.
  2. Cover the remaining ivy with a thick layer of mulch or a tarp.
  3. Ensure that the entire patch is covered to prevent any sunlight from reaching the ivy.
  4. Leave the covering in place for several months to completely smother and kill the ivy.

Herbicidal control

  1. Ivy has a waxy coat that can prevent all of the weed killer being absorbed. Rake over or "bash" the Ivy to break this protective barrier.
  2. Spray thoroughly trying to coat the entire Ivy plant - cover every single bit!
  3. Don't be to hasty! Wait 3-4 weeks before re-applying and at least 8 weeks before you start cutting the Ivy back.
  4. Be patient! Weed killers which contain Glyphosate take time to work but they do work against Ivy and they work well!
  5. Once the Ivy is dead, cut it back, do not cut the Ivy back before applying the weed killer as it is absorbed through the leaves - only cut it back once the Ivy is dead.


This is by far the best Ivy killer. It kills all kinds of infestations, big and small.

Natural methods

If you prefer to avoid chemical herbicides, there are natural alternatives to consider. Here are a few methods to kill ivy naturally:

  1. Horticultural Vinegar: Fill a spray bottle with undiluted horticultural vinegar and apply it directly to the ivy leaves. Repeat regularly to exhaust the plant's energy and inhibit its growth, this is more costly than using a commercial weed killer.
  2. Salt water Solution: Mix a 1kg of salt in a gallon of water and spray it onto the ivy. The high sodium content can help dehydrate and kill the plant. This will only work if the Ivy hasn't been established for long and may prevent you growing in this area.
  3. Boiling Water: Pour boiling water over the ivy leaves and root area. The intense heat will scorch and damage the plant. Your mileage will vary with this method, it will likely require hundreds of treatments unless the Ivy is a tiny infestation.

Remember, natural remedies may require repeated applications and may not be as effective as chemical herbicides. It's crucial to be patient and consistent in your natural approach.


I appreciate not everyone wants to use a strong commercial weed killer. It is fully understandable to look for cheaper & more environmentally sound choices but when it comes to Ivy the only two methods that will 100% work is a herbicide or manual labour.

Preventative measures

To prevent ivy from becoming a persistent problem in the future, consider implementing these preventive measures:

  • Regularly inspect your garden for any signs of ivy growth and address it promptly.
  • Create physical barriers, such as installing a root barrier or a fence, to prevent ivy from spreading.
  • Maintain a well-managed garden with regular weeding and pruning to discourage ivy growth.
  • Avoid introducing ivy onto your property by being cautious of its presence in potted plants or garden materials.

By following these methods and preventive measures, you can effectively kill ivy and keep it from causing further damage to your property or garden.

Remember, persistence and consistent maintenance are key when dealing with an ivy infestation.


If using manual methods, never compost the cut down Ivy. It is very resilient and can regrow from a tiny fragment of root.

Always dispose of the Ivy by burning it or at your local recycling plant.

Assessing the Severity of the Infestation

Determining the severity of the ivy infestation is crucial in deciding the most suitable method for killing ivy. Consider the following factors:

  • Area Covered: Assess the size of the ivy patch. Smaller patches may be effectively controlled through manual removal or natural remedies, while larger areas may require smothering or herbicidal control.
  • Proximity to Structures or Trees: If the ivy is growing close to structures or trees, manual removal or herbicides should be carefully used to avoid damage. Smothering can be a safer alternative in these cases.
  • Type of Ivy: Different types of ivy may require specific control methods. For example, English ivy has a dense root system and may be more challenging to eliminate compared to other types. Research the specific species to determine the most effective approach.

By assessing the severity and circumstances surrounding the ivy infestation, you can make an informed decision about the best course of action.

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.

Seek professional advice

In some cases, tackling a severe ivy infestation may require the expertise of a professional. Here are a few scenarios where professional assistance is recommended:

  • Large or High-Risk Areas: If the ivy covers a vast area or is growing on tall structures, seeking professional help can ensure safe and efficient removal.
  • Difficult Access: If the ivy is in hard-to-reach areas, such as rooftops or tall trees, professionals trained in working at heights can handle the removal effectively and safely.
  • Preservation of Valuable Plants or Trees: If you have valuable or sensitive plants or trees near the ivy, professionals can use specialized techniques to remove the ivy without causing harm.

While professional assistance may come at a cost, it can save you time, effort, and potentially prevent accidental damage to your property.

Remember, every ivy infestation is unique, and it is essential to assess the specific circumstances before deciding on the best approach. In some cases, a combination of methods may be necessary to effectively kill ivy and prevent future growth.

For example, if you are dealing with a large ivy patch covering a wall near trees, you might start by manually removing as much ivy as possible while being cautious not to harm the trees.

Then, you can smother the remaining ivy and apply herbicide to any regrowth, all while monitoring the area regularly. This comprehensive approach addresses the immediate problem and ensures long-term control.

By considering the severity of the infestation, seeking professional assistance when necessary, and implementing a combination of effective methods, you can successfully kill ivy and reclaim your space from this invasive plant.

Your questions answered

1. Can I use vinegar to kill ivy on trees? 

Yes, vinegar can be used to kill ivy on trees. However, it is important to exercise caution and apply it directly on the ivy leaves without overspraying onto the tree. Remember that vinegar is a non-selective herbicide and can harm other plants it comes into contact with.

Vinegar will only burn away the visible part, your Ivy will eventually recover & regrow.

2. Will cutting the ivy at the base kill it? 

Cutting the ivy at the base is a crucial step in the manual removal process. However, will not kill the plant entirely. To ensure complete eradication, it's important to remove the roots as well, as ivy has the ability to regenerate from even small portions of its root system.

3. How long does it take to kill ivy with herbicides? 

The time required to kill ivy with herbicides can vary depending on the specific product used and the type of ivy being targeted. In general, it may take a few weeks to several months to see significant results. Patience and consistent application of the herbicide are key to achieving successful eradication.

4. Can I compost ivy after I've removed it? 

It is not recommended to compost ivy due to its ability to reestablish itself from small fragments. Dispose of ivy clippings and plants in sealed bags or containers to prevent any chance of regrowth.

5. Is it necessary to kill ivy on trees? 

While ivy can damage trees by competing for nutrients and water, smothering their foliage, and adding weight to branches, the decision to kill ivy on trees ultimately depends on the extent of the infestation and the impact it has on tree health. Consult with a professional arborist to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.

6. Can I use a weed torch to kill ivy? 

Using a weed torch to kill ivy is generally not recommended due to the risk of fire and damage to surrounding vegetation. Additionally, ivy's waxy leaves can make it resistant to heat, making this method less effective in killing the plant.

7. How do I prevent ivy from growing back after removal? 

Preventing ivy from growing back after removal is crucial to maintain a ivy-free environment. This can be achieved by regularly monitoring the area, removing any new growth promptly, and implementing measures such as physical barriers, regular maintenance, and proper disposal of ivy clippings.

Remember, each ivy removal situation may have unique considerations, so it's always helpful to seek professional advice if you have specific concerns or questions about your particular circumstances.

Need a strong Ivy killer?

Best for all types of Ivy: Triple Action | Buy now

About the author 


Hey there, I am founder and editor in chief here at Good Grow. I guess I've always known I was going to be a gardener. I'm on a mission to share my UK based weed control & lawn care tips with you all. If you have any queries please post in the comments below.

  • I have ivy growing between two fences at the bottom
    of my garden. I am unable to get to the base of the plant, due to a large garage being in the way. Any tips on how I can kill this ivy, as it’s burrowing through my shed roof? Cheers and thanks for an insightful website.

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