Eradicating English Ivy (surreptitiously)

borboleta(7)November 13, 2008

Hello all -

I know this is bad, but I'm sort of desperate. I'm looking for ideas on killing English ivy without my neighbor knowing. I bought an end unit townhouse in May and worked all summer to get my garden and yard in order. Come next spring I'm really looking forward to sitting outside and enjoying it with my dog. The problem? Asian Tiger mosquitoes. We've done everything we can to eliminate water sources, I tore out the hydrangeas they loved hiding under, and they're still as numerous as ever!

I've spoken to my adjacent neighbor about mosquitoes and she's upset about them too. So I recommended dunks for her bird bath. She says they aren't necessary because the water is moving in a fountain. (she drained the fountain for a month in the summer and it helped, but the mosquitoes were still bad) I told her that the English ivy she has growing all over her fence is a habitat for them and she said she just loves it to much! The ivy comes under, through, and over the fence into my yard, which I really have to keep on top of. But it also harbors armies of slugs and I can see the mosquitoes coming out of it as the sun settles low in the sky. I'll keep working on my neighbor, but I'm sick to think as much as work as I put into the garden and as much as I paid for this house (which I chose for the garden!) I can't sit outside without being devoured.

I know this is bad, but does anyone have ideas on how I could kill the ivy, at least on the fence section I share with her, without manually pulling it out? Preferably some sort of spraying? Maybe it would look like a disease.

Here is the good part. English ivy has been banned in our town so if it dies, she can't plant it again.

If I can't get rid of it, does anyone know of an effective spray to control the mosquitoes? I know she is interested in using one, but I worry about the environmental effects and efficacy.

Thanks in advance!

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Mosquitos can fly, the odds you killing all the mosquitos aren't very good, IMO. As far as spraying the ivy, I'm not really sure how laws and such work if you're sharing a fence. I mean the fence could be entirely on your property or her property or who knows? You may not need to be "sneaky" if you're well within your rights to treat the fence or other boundary structures. English Ivy is an unwelcome species that is spreading invasively in much of the United States. There are a lot of website and such on its control, just google away! Perhaps, you could ask her about replacing the Ivy with something else that would work better for everyone?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 5:45PM
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That is so cool that English Ivy has been banned in your town! I have a similar problem with the ever-present mosquitoes and will be happy to know if there is a solution, but I don't have my hopes up. I tried spraying down all the azaleas and shady plants around my yard with a chemical labeled for mosquitoes. It seems to slow them down for a week or so, but I still have to wear long pants and long sleeves to enjoy my yard. The chemical was pretty nasty as well and I'm afraid to use it any more.

I like midwesternerr's approach to suggesting a mutually agreeable plant. Thankfully, my one neighbor I've met has given me the green light to "fire at will" with our shared boundary. One down, 2 to go.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 8:42PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

In case you go the route of agreeing on another plant, a couple of native plants that might be able to get rid of the English ivy without needing to yank it out are Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) and Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle). I have a sunny fence here where they are giving the English ivy a real challenge. I help things along now and then by trimming back the ivy to the advantage of the other plants, and after a couple years there's less of the ivy than the other 2 plants.

I don't think you mentioned your location, so you'd want to see if these plants are native there. On the other hand, my standard for invasive ground cover or vine replacements is lower than my other standards. If it isn't invasive and serves the purpose I'm happy with it. I've found native replacements for sunny locations, but really still haven't for the shady ones.

-- Lori

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 5:11PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Well, if the english ivy comes over to your side of the fence, what about cutting it off and painting the stumps with round-up or garlon in the fall?

You're neighbor has a well pruned and mulched specimen tree in his front yard. It's a buckthorn. I'm still trying to figure out a way to kill it, subtly.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 7:58PM
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We had mosquito problems a few years back. They were hiding in forsythias between our yard and the neighbor's yard. I used a pump sprayer and stuck the wand inside the bushes and sprayed several times. We saw a dramatic decrease in mosquitoes. Use a wide spectrum spray. Do it twice the first week and then about once every 10-14 days. It keeps the neighbor happy and we can both enjoy the forsythia in the spring.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 12:24AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Not sure that you can "surreptitiously" kill the ivy, as it will be quite obvious if part or all of such a vigorous plant suddenly and inexplicably dies! But good luck, this stuff is a pain.

Ahughes, I have been battling both Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn) and Frangula alnus (Glossy buckthorn) in my yard. These are both horrible, IMO, right up there at the top of the list of worst woody invasives in the northeast. Try a search for "basal bark application" of herbicide. (oops, I didn't post that, did I??)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 9:21AM
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I'm running into the same situation. Your neighbors English Ivy plant is invading your property. The plant sends out runners that are a pain to eradicate. You're risking a lawsuit by damaging your neighbor's (owner/s property) plant.
find out how deep the runners go. Construct a cement barrier.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 4:39AM
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Nothing you do to the ivy will take care of the mosquitoes so stop trying to do something that will not work. The tiger ones will basicly hatch from a droplet of water, not quite but almost. You will need to spray something like yardgard when you plan to go outside. As midwesternr stated they fly and the source may be 100 ft away and not your neighbor. Get to know your neighbors not just the one that you think is causing the problem to work out a solution. With tiger mosquitoes you can lessen the amount but can not get rid of them entirely.

This is a situation where what you think is the problem is only part of a larger problem.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:58PM
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I guess I don't understand how eliminating mosquito breeding on one side of a fence will stop mosquitoes from bothering you, unless mosquitoes have learned to respect fences. I would try to control the ivy on my side of the fence but the idea of killing my neighbor's plantings surreptitiously if I couldn't come to agreement with them openly is not one I could embrace. It doesn't strike me as a very honorable approach to the problem. Surely you would not poison their dog if it was a bother to you. Would you?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 10:51AM
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I would be very surprised if the Ivy harbors the mosquitos as far as I know standing water is the host of the mosquito.hOWEVER THEIR ARE MANY PRODUCTS THAT ATTRACT AND KILL MOSQUITOs quite successfully.I would try mosquito trap on line and see what is out there.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 3:20PM
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Many insects take shelter under plant foliage including mosquitos. Go outside and watch what emerges from the foliage.

Since the original poster posted in 2008 I would like to know what happened.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 10:05PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I know this is an old post, but this may help if you are still having the problem. You could always work into a casual conversation how rodents (especially rats and mice) LOVE ivy. I live in northern VA in zone 7 and saw a rat in my yard years ago just after we moved in when neighbors were adding onto their house and we were in the midst of a drought as well. Our city sent an inspector who took one look at our yard (at that point mostly bamboo and ivy courtesy of previous owner-thanks SO much) and said rats and mice love both bamboo and ivy. Good cover, I suppose. Anyway, that did it and I was out there that day whacking, pulling, cutting it down. You might want to present her with a lovely substitute -oops, was going to suggest hostas or hydrangeas, but you probably don't like those since you already pulled out your hydrangea and you mentioned slugs...oh well...anyway, good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 5:31PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think killing english ivy is a fine idea, but killing someone else's english ivy without permission, especially beloved english ivy, is going too far.

As for mosquitoes, they breed in water. It could be a tin can or old tire, it could be a birdbath. One thingg about mosquitoes is that the larvae and pupae are easy to see if they are present. Get to know what they look like, and talk to your neighbors about searching for their breeding sites. it takes only a few minutes to check if mosquitoes are present, and I would think, with access to the yards, in a few hours you could check all of the land within a couple hundred feet of your backyard for potential breeding sites. There is no need to argue over whether a particular bird bath is or is not a breeding site - look in the water and you should know.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 9:58AM
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