Growing English Ivy in Central PA?

AltoonaPAApril 25, 2013

I planted English Ivy last year for the first time... It grew great! But it sure is ugly now!

What should I expect now? Am I to trim it? What? Help! Thanks!!!

This post was edited by AltoonaPA on Sat, Apr 27, 13 at 19:01

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Are we talking about Hedera helix? Weed, weed, weed. Destroy it before it gets going. Seriously, there are better, non-invasive ground covers. What did you plant it for? A problem slope? Poor soil that grows nothing else?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:39AM
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My advice is that if it's Hedera helix, you should pull it up NOW. All of it. Before it's too late. See here:

"Do not plant English ivy including invasive cultivars. Individual vines can be pulled by hand when soil is moist. Vines covering the ground can be uprooted and gathered using a heavy-duty rake, then close to the ground with pruning snips, Swedish brush axe or other cutting tool. Gathered vines can be piled up and allowed to desiccate and rot which will occur quickly, in a matter of days. If needed, material can be bagged and disposed of in normal trash. Vines climbing up trees can be cut a few feet from the ground, for convenience, to kill upper portions and then apply systemic herbicide to lower cut portions."

(I apologize for answering a different question from the one you asked.)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:22PM
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Yes it seems I am referencing the lovely "Hedera helix"... LOL Now that some of your have vented... My specific question for now is... When can I expect to see new growth?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 5:20PM
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When do you NOT see new growth? The stuff is the kudzu of the north. I spent the entire day today digging out and cutting back english ivy planted by some (idiot) previous owner. There was plenty of new growth. I'm near Philadelphia.

What do you mean "it sure is ugly now"? In what way? Yank it all out now!!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Here's a photo of the large Ivy...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Here's a photo of the small Ivy...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 5:28PM
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These I call ugly... So my question still stands... When will the new growth appear?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Anyone... Anyone???

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:25PM
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maureeninmd(z6 MD)

It's quite dead, whatever it is. Hedera helix is evergreen as well as nasty. What you had looks like the sort of small-leaved ivy usually used as an annual for container gardening.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:19PM
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amanda_m(z7 MD)

Yes, that is not the English ivy that I am battling in Baltimore.
I would get out and clip all the dead growth off, water, and wait and see what happens. It might come back, although I agree that it looks pretty dead.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 10:27AM
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To answer your question:
I've been seeing new growth on ivy now, but I live a bit farther south than you do (MD) so your mileage may vary.
This stuff is all over the place--we're not being drama queens. My advice is to cut all that old growth back and keep an eye on the plot. If the ivy starts to take over--and trust me it will--cut it back. Don't be afraid, you cannot kill this stuff!
My take on invasives is that if you're going have them in your yard, it's your responsibility to keep them there by any means necessary. I've heard that one way to contain an invasive is to plant it in a container and sink the container in the ground, but I'm not sure that would work with ivy. Whatever you do, keep this stuff contained if possible.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:32AM
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a wonderful little book with color photos listing native alternatives to invasive species ... but I left it at my sister-in-law's house last visit, so cannot refer to it now. However, Virginia Native Plant Society has a list of alternatives to hedera helix - link below. I'm sure there are many more alternatives that, while not native, at least are not invasive.

The NJ Invasive Species Strike Team has an excellent site with loads of information on invasive species (insects, pathogens, mammals, etc, as well as plants). Their website is Their fact sheet on hedera helix is at

There was English ivy growing here when we bought the house and I left it, along with the "ditch lilies" and Star of Bethlehem, because so little grew in this dry, sandy, shaded yard. Over the years we've improved the soil and now have a delightful garden ... but haven't been able to get rid of the aforementioned plants (I won't resort to using an herbicide). Based on that experience, my advice is don't let them get a foot in the door!

Here is a link that might be useful: Alternatives to hedera helix

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:22AM
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