How to Kill Ivy Permanently? Get Rid of Climbing Ivy Forever

How to Get Rid of English Ivy

How to kill & prevent climbing, common or English ivy.

How to Kill Ivy : Is it Really that Hard?

Evergreen and ever growing.  

Often called Climbing Ivy or Common English Ivy it's 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 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.

Need a strong Ivy killer?

Best for clearing large areas: Extra Strong | Buy Now

Best for a small amount of Ivy: Doff | Buy now

Best for Ivy on walls and hard surfaces: Triple Action | Buy now

What you'll need

Obviously the method you choose to get rid of Ivy 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 - they'll have the tools and expertise.

Want to do it yourself?

I will warn you that great patience is required - even if your using a weed killer.

Ivy can spread far, it's interconnected nature and deep root structure can make it extremely difficult to kill.

If your doing it the old fashioned, manual way then you can remove most of the Ivy on the first try but it will likely start to shoot back up from the remnants that you missed - you will miss some!

Using weed killer to kill Ivy will surely be easier? Right, right?

It will require a lot less manual labour but patience will be required as there are no weed killers that will kill Ivy in one treatment.

If your Ivy has been present for many years it will require several treatments, likely over several seasons to completely eradicate.

Onto the equipment...

Garden shears and gloves

The most important equipment no matter what method you choose to eradicate your Ivy is a good pair of gardening shears. This is because alive or dead, you will need to cut away the tendrils and leaves, they should be disposed of in the recycling or burnt.

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.


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:

  1. English Ivy has a waxy layer on its leaves, making it difficult for herbicides to penetrate and take effect on the Ivy.
  2. 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 a herbicide that contains glysophate. Glyphosate is the most popular and strongest weed killer for Ivy, however as outlined earlier you will require several treatments unless your Ivy is newly established or weakened.

Get the Triple Action Weed Killer. It'll Kill Ivy no matter how established.

An alternate to Glyphosate 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 (salt, vinegar or bleach won't kill Ivy).

Weed killer can make the killing of Ivy much less labour intensive but you will still need to "clean it up" - Once the weed killer has not it's job, you will still need to cut the tendrils as close to the ground as possible, you could wait till it decomposes but it may take a few years!


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.

A disposal method

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 Glyphosate 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.

 Get rid of Ivy without chemicals

  1. Removing Ivy requires you to start close to the ground and work your way up. Ivy needs to draw nutrients from its roots, deprive it of that and it will die.
  2. Cut thoroughly to ensure that the Ivy plant has no contact with the ground. Since Ivy creates a web of tendrils and stems to support itself, even one living stem can be enough to sustain an Ivy plant.
  3. Your first cuts should be roughly six to twelve inches from the ground. This gives you enough plant to grip to uproot (pull up) the Ivy.


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.

 How to kill Ivy with weed killer

  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.


Add dish soap to your weed killer mixture to more easily penetrate the waxy Ivy foliage. If using weed killer we recommend using a sprayer set for accurate and efficient distribution of the chemical.

 How to prevent Ivy growing back

  1. In many parts of the world, Ivy is considered an invasive plant and in some areas illegal to even plant it! Since you are reading this article on how to kill English Ivy, it is likely that you want rid of it - one way or another.
  2. English Ivy is popular (or at least it was) as it's green all year round but if you don't regularly prune it, it will grow in places you don't want it to be. Stay on top of it!
  3. Once your Ivy has been killed - dig it up! Do not cut it back before it is dead, weed killers take time to make it to the roots, be patient and let the weed killer do there thing.
  4. Dispose of it! Do not compost Ivy, burn it or put it in the recycling.


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.

 How to kill Ivy climbing trees

  1. Start with the lowest Ivy first. If done correctly, it will cut off nutrients to the higher ivy, making it easier to remove if necessary.
  2. Work your way around the trunk of the tree at around several inches to a foot off the ground and cut then spray the Ivy with the weed killer (or paint it on to the roots)
  3. Once you have completely cut away near ground level, you can tear some of the Ivy away from the tree, being careful to not strip away bark.
  4. Continue progressively moving up the tree, cutting in away in bands until you get to about shoulder height.
  5. Once at shoulder height, you can spray with weed killer again then wait a few days. Then get on a ladder to try to remove higher Ivy if desired as it should no longer be tightly attached to the tree.
  6. Finally, if there is any Ivy on the ground around the tree, you will want to cut back the Ivy around the tree about two to three feet, creating a cleared ring around the tree and limiting the possibility of the Ivy regrowing onto the tree.


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 the bark underneath allowing the weed killer to enter the tree - great care should be taken when applying weed killer around trees.

 Get rid of Ivy growing across the ground

  1. If the Ivy is growing across ground filled with weeds and plants you don't care about - then spray the entire area with a Glyphosate based weed killer.
  2. You should then wait 3-4 weeks then use a brush cutter or garden shears to remove all the Ivy once it has died.
  3. Sadly if your Ivy is growing across plants you wish to keep, weed killer will be of no use. You'll have to cut away as much as possible then pull up the roots.
  4. Once the Ivy is cut away, dispose of it - do not compost Ivy.

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.

 How to get rid of Ivy on walls or fencing

To remove Ivy from walls or fencing, it's best to work incrementally by removing it in manageable pieces. Ivy typically attaches itself to pores in the bricks or fencing material, so it may be easiest to spray herbicide and clear away dead ivy plants. 

However, be careful when removing the Ivy as it may have grown into cracks or gaps, potentially causing damage to the structure it's growing on. 

Start from the bottom and work your way up, watching out for other areas where the Ivy could have taken root, such as wood or gutters.

For brick, concrete, or stone surfaces, scrubbing with a brush, sprayer, or power washer is recommended to remove Ivy that has worked itself into the surface.

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.

Ivy, friend or foe? You decide.

While Ivy can be a pleasing addition to your landscaping and provides nesting grounds for small birds and other wildlife, it can also be an unwanted part of your garden.

If left unchecked, it can damage walls, crowd out other plants, and even grow into your concrete. However, with patience and persistence, it is possible to remove it.

Here are some helpful tips for getting rid of Ivy permanently:

  • Work incrementally, removing the climbing Ivy in manageable pieces to avoid causing damage to the structure it's growing on.
  • If the English Ivy has worked itself into cracks or gaps, be careful when removing it to avoid damaging the structure.
  • Start from the bottom and work your way up, being mindful of other areas where the Ivy could have taken root.
  • Consider using a combination of manual and chemical means to kill off the Ivy and ensure it doesn't recur.
  • Thoroughly dispose of the dead ivy plants to prevent them from regrowing.

Did you know?

Ivy was hugely popular in the 60s, 70s & 80s for landscaping. It is still relatively common across gardens in the UK.

Need a strong Ivy killer?

Best for clearing large areas: Extra Strong | Buy Now

Best for a small amount of Ivy: Doff | Buy now

Best for Ivy on walls and hard surfaces: 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.

  • Chris says:

    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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