How to get rid of English ivy

misslisamhamNovember 11, 2012

I have just moved into a house with a very neglected garden. One side of the house is covered in English ivy, and I have the distinct displeasure having to remove it. Right now I'm cutting it down to the ground and just digging it out. Three questions:

- Any smart tips for how to eliminate it?

- Can I compost any part of it, or does composting even, say, the leaves risk its propagating itself in the compost pile?

- I know I need to remove all roots, but what about the little clumps of white root hairs that extend off? It will take significantly longer to sift through the soil and get all these, but I want to do this only once, so I'm willing if it's necessary.


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English Ivy can root from stem cuttings so unless you can be sure what goes into your compost pile will be kill off by temperatures in the 135 degree range do not compost it. Every bit of the plant, leaves, stems, and roots, anything that can possibly produce new roots, needs to be removed.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:46AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Digging it up is the only way I know besides poisons. You'll get it if you keep working at it.

I wouldn't put it in an open pile without killing it first, which I would definitely do. You're going to earn that organic matter, it might as well be put to work. You could kill it in a plastic bin or bucket like a trash can, a trash bag, or even laying exposed on concrete or sheet metal to bake in the sun. After a point, it will definitely be dead, then you could put it in the compost to finish decomposing.

It's not flowering and producing seeds is it?

About the tiny roots, if you are able to smother the area with cardboard or newspaper after you are finished digging and leave that alone next summer, you should be able to be sure that any ivy that attempted to keep growing was smothered under that layer. Cover with mulch or leaves so it's not an eyesore and stays in place. Maybe set some potted plants there next summer. Then you are free to garden the area at will after that. If that's impractical, it should be fairly easy, assuming you've done a thorough job of removing the bulk of the roots, to spot-dig little pieces you might have missed that throw up new sprouts. They might be so loose you don't even need to dig, just pull. You'd want to check it often next spring.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 12:37PM
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gvozdika(8 OR)

I would suggest pulling them out, CHOPPING in small pieces and leave them to dry on the sun. In the winter time when there is no chance for them to dry I tie them in small bunches and take them off the ground to wilt, next year or so when the bunches are dead I CUT them. Dry ivy vines are very tough, it's easier to cut them while they are green then work with a spaghetti mess later. However I've never tried to compost them in a high temperature pile, maybe they will compost nicely.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:37PM
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