ivy planted on hill in backyard

DSM_in_AtlantaAugust 1, 2012


I purchased a foreclosed home in the Atlanta area a few months ago and I've been working hard on improving the yard and landscaping. There is a hill in the back yard which slopes towards the house and the previous owners planted a bunch of ivy on the hill (see picture below). The ivy doesn't seem to be spreading all that much or thickening up. I've read that ivy does best in shaded areas yet this gets a lot of sun (the hill faces north). Is there anything I can do to improve the looks of the ivy? Did they choose the wrong type of ground-cover for this type of hill?

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English ivy is an invasive plant in the Atlanta area. However, it largely becomes invasive when it is allowed to climb (like up trees) because that is when it becomes "mature" and is able to flower and set fruit.

It is not a desirable ground cover. The denseness of the foliage allows small mammals to live there (like mice and snakes) and also holds sufficient moisture to harbor mosquitoes.

As a fellow Atlantan I would encourage you to rethink keeping this around.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Another Atlantan dittoing Esh. English ivy is evil here. I recently took out a huge amount that had grown from 3 4" pots. My yard was so bare and I was desperate. Thrilled that it's gone.

I've been successful establishing a big flower garden on a slope like yours. Would be happy for you to come see what can be done and get some perennial baby plants if you like them.

Rosie, in Sugar Hill

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:49PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Not much you can do now but you might try interplanting with iceplant since it's a sunny well-drained spot.
Interplant with daylilies you might find on special this time of year.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:14PM
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I've thought about removing it but that seems like a rather large undertaking. I suppose I would need to figure out what to plant first.

So what is the best way to get rid of ivy? I would prefer to not use chemicals for fear of them running down into my lawn or the neighbors yard. Seems like digging it up would be a real pain but I could try in the fall when it's not so hot.

Any other ideas for good ground cover type plants that do well in sun and wouldn't require a lot of maintenance?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Why settle for ground cover type plants? Knock out roses would be fabulous there.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:57PM
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I removed ivy about two months ago. Weed whacked it as low as I could, watered well and started pulling. It's not a fun job, but I'm so happy every time I look at where it was. You will be too! Have gotten a very small bit of regrowth, dug that out with a small shovel. Important: bag/get rid of all the stems and root pieces.

Have a large slope in full sun, similar to yours. It's planted with a big variety of plants, including a Knock Out. One of the ground covers I've used is Rubus - creeping raspberry, planted on about 3' centers. It's carefree except for an occasional weed popping up through it. And had a great crop of raspberries in June/July. You only need 4" pots as starters - grows fast.

HTH, Rosie, Sugar Hill

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Matt Webster

I'm also in Atlanta, and purchased a foreclosed home with a lot of poison... I mean English Ivy. Again: Rip it out.

It is a big undertaking, but you'll be surprised at how fast it goes. You will need a shovel, but you don't need to dig out the whole thing. I suggest getting your gloves, find a good strong vine, and pull up- as in vertical. Try not to break the vine, but follow it, follow it follow it to the base, then give a little shovel to it to try and get the roots. The trick is to get the vines as long as you can. They may come back a little, but if you're a gardener, its just like vigilant weeding when it's coming back.

I also tried a couple of kinds of brush killer, but it was largely ineffective because of the thick, waxy leaves and resilient nature. The poison did more of a number on other plants around it. I regret that (though, I don't regret using it on the privet and poison ivy!).

Get rid of it get rid of it get rid of it. Lots of other ground cover options. Here's another to add to previous suggestions: Royal Alyssium

Here is a link that might be useful: Royal Alyssium

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Thanks for all the ideas. I have decided to tackle the removal in the fall/winter season and I've been trying to figure out the best way to do this.

Atl_Brownthumb - Thanks for the encouragement. It's nice to see that someone else has done this before and was able to take control of their yard. I'm considering the wild/creeping raspberry because my parents planted this on a hill in their backyard and they have been happy with it. I'll look into the Royal Alyssium too. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:49PM
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DSM, glad you mentioned using the Rubus. Neighbors want to plant 'something' on a slope in their back and even though I have it and like it very much, never thought to suggest it. Will though. One other benefit is that it comes in 4" pots and can be planted on about 3' centers, making it a much less expensive option than say, junipers.

Remember, much easier to get the ivy out if you weed whack the heck out of it. Then can visualize the stems much easier.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Just wanted to provide a quick update. A few months ago I finally decided it was time to get rid of the ivy on the hill. I used one of those brush clearing tools (wood handle with flat blade on the end). I then dug up as many of the centrally located roots as I could find. I also used RoundUp brush killer and sprayed the entire hill. I ended up filling 19 paper yard waste bags full of ivy. After a month of clearing it all I covered the hill with pine straw. Now I'm just trying to decide how I want to landscape. I may do some shrubbery in addition to some ground covering plants. If anyone has any other suggestions I'd love to hear them. I'm just happy the ivy is finally gone!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Good job, DSM!

When - IF? - the soil is drier, suggest you get a soil sample before you plant.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 5:59AM
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Suggest you plan to plant in the fall. That appears to be a full sun area. Are there any landscaping goals that you have for yourself (e.g., you want some roses, native plants, evergreen plants, a few trees)?

You said shrubs and groundcovers so far. One of the low junipers would meet that goal in one (but don't get 'Blue Rug', that's TOO low).


    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 9:00AM
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We are in the process of putting together a landscaping plan for the hill. Our biggest challenge is finding plants that are resistant to rabbits! We have several rabbits in our area and we see at least 2-3 in our backyard daily. They have eaten several of our plants and we have been trying all sorts of things such as homemade repellants. I'm hoping we can find plants that are naturally resistant to rabbits.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:01PM
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If you are fully fenced, do you have a dog?

I have rabbits here for the first time. Haven't seen much damage and really wish I could trap them to relocate. Never see them, just the damage.

Friends with a huge garden kill rabbits with a pellet rifle.

Hope you'll share what you learn. Regrettable, for sure.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:57PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

Rabbits make for a good supper.

If the slope is fairly smooth could put down some grass sod? Then maybe put in some trees/shrubs/plants.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Plant clover. The rabbits prefer that over any of my prized plants.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:08PM
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