Kill the Ivy! Kill the Ivy! Help me Kill The Ivy!

mdesiderioApril 13, 2006

For the first 8-10 feet of my front yard I have a fairly steep north-facing slope before the yard levels out. The previous owner had planted some spreading conifers that died probably because of the lack of sun. Due to admitted negligence on my part the highly dreaded English Ivy established in the slope area.

$100 and a number of man hours later by this wonderful young man, the area has been stripped of the ivy completely above the ground. Looking closely I can still see some of the root system is in the ground, despite his hard work and braun (Hate the Ivy! I am a HUGE fan of manking it illegal like in Portland).

Anyway, here is my question - - what is the best thing to ensure that doesn't come back? Do I just pull out any new sprouts or am I better off spraying an herbicide like Roundup on any new growth? I really want to make sure that as many roots are dead as possible before I consider any new plantings an I am willing to wait until next season if necessary to make sure it is completely gone.

I do realize there will always be a battle to wage as neighbors on both sides have Ivy that I don't believe they are willing to remove and I am sure that is where it came from to start with. All help would be greatly appreciated.

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English ivy roots run very deep, so it will be a matter of getting a spade, digging down about 8" and unearthing the darned root system, then pulling it out. It's a mean job (we just did it!), but if you don't you will have it growing back with even more force.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 6:27AM
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kayjones -- Would it help to use a rototiller on the area? Digging and pulling kills my back which is why I hired someone to do the work, but my fear is that as hard as they worked they didn't get all the roots. I am also worried about making that slope too unstable and losing all of the topsoil.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 9:10AM
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mowmowgreen(z7 GA)

I'm also battling ivy as the result of my nextdoor neighbor having planted it between our houses. The waxy leaves are a strong defense to topical herbicides. My plan is to cut through the runners with a weedwhacker, create an open wound and then spray with Roundup.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 9:12AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Don't rototill the ivy, it will sprout from tiny pieces of chopped root and you'll have a gazillion plantlets.

"Use an incremental approach for steep slope areas:

Remove good-sized circles within the ivy mat, from 1 to 3 feet in diameter.
Plant "good" landscaping plants in those circles; plants that have large root systems to keep the soil intact.
Keep the circles ivy-free for the new plants to become established, adding more new plants in new circles cleared from ivy over time.
Eventually, "connect the dots" by removing ivy in between. "

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 1:19AM
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I have a north-facing side yard in heavy dense shade and we were considering planting ivy there because it's so dark and nothing else will grow. I guess, considering the title of your post, you would NOT recommend ivy?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 6:57PM
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PLEASE do not plant english ivy. It is a non-native invasive that is literally choking out many of our native plants and ruining natural parkland and landscapes. Once established it is very difficult to remove, but worse spreads far and wide by its long shoots and by birds. In some states it is actually illegal to have it on your property (as I do believe it should be) and some stats and cities are spending thousands of $$ and manpower to get rid of it.

I am not an expert, but have you tried hosta? I have had good luck with them in dense shade in my yard -- and there are many beautiful varities. It won't offer year round green. But I would do a search either on this forum or on Google and I am sure that you will get some good suggestions that you can try.

But please, even if you don't take my word for it - -search "kill ivy" on Google and see what other people say.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 10:07PM
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gshann(Z6 PA ChesCo.)

How can I tell whether it is illegal to have English Ivy in my state? The big blue box store down the road from me (orange one too) has lots of quart containers of the stuff, so I'm guessing it is legal here in PA. I have a very steep south-facing slope in my backyard. I have to wear baseball cleats to go up and down, and the grass planted on it originally is an eyesore (clumpy and brown for too many months of the year). The stickerbushes that have proliferated from the treeline behind us (I back up to a fairly dense line of trees and underbrush) are even more undesirable. I hoped to have something invade this unusable slope while preventing a mudslide, and I purposely got english ivy and vinca minor (for the more shaded portion of the slope) for their invasiveness. I guess I need to know if I should dig up.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 12:22PM
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I would also assume that it is legal in PA, but you can always check with your cooperative extension and see what they say. You mentioned that your slope is southfacing, so I assume that it gets sun. That should make it easier than a shady site to get something to grow. I am probably not the best expert, but what about forsythia bushes? The one I have in my backyard is prolific without being uncontrollable and I think would be deeply rooted enough to help stabilize the slope. Also I would think that they would be fairly inexpensive and common at the big box stores so that you could get a bunch in without breaking the bank. My other thought was some low growing evergreen bushes. I have some on my sunny slope and they are doing quite well. For the shaded portion of my slope I am looking at planting some hydrangeas (once I get the ivy out) and maybe some ferns. Litrope would also be a good choice and is sold at the box stores.

I would consider digging it up now while it is not completely established and not out of control. Like a misplaced tree, it will just get to be a bigger proble to solve later if it is left to flourish now. Plus I would expect to find it establishing other places in your yard (far from where it is planted) and becoming a problem in many spots. Last, I know that in my english ivy is where the poison ivy starts. I only have poison ivy where the English Ivy is and that is a bigger problem!

Here is a link that might be useful: MD Suggestions for Groundcovers

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 12:59PM
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gshann(Z6 PA ChesCo.)

I've planted 4 forsythia bushes, 2 each at the corner of my property. The burlapped bushes were quite an effort to lug up the hill, but I was able to get them up there and dig. The hard thing (aside from needed a sherpa to do the lifting) is digging a hole deep enough without causing a minor landslide or falling down the hill myself. I only bought them last year, and they'll need some good pruning this year, because some of the canes look a little weak in the bloom department. I had thought about Liriope as well, and maybe that is an angle I'll pursue, as they were in the same section as the vinca, but I thought of those as more of a shade plant, and the area where the ivy is planted gets 90% sun, so water and sun tolerance is key. Kind of the opposite of the needs of the post originator. Sorry about that.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 1:54PM
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My experience withthe forsythia is to prune then soon. This way you don't have to worry about upsetting the bud formation. I cut mine drastically every year and it blooms fabulously.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 2:41PM
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I have a very large old poplar being slowly consumed by ivy. I have tired hacking away every spring, but i am losing the battle. Help! Is there anything more i can do short of calling in an aborist to try to pull out as much as possible?


    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 2:55PM
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"What we cannot cure, we must endure" :) Arum

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 8:23AM
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I have had good luck with daylilies om my slopes below the pine trees

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Sharpsburg, take your clippers and cut the ivy around the base of the tree and spray with Roundup. The ivy can be pulled from the tree or left there. It will die and turn brown, fading into the bark of the tree. Keep spraying the ivy with Roundup until no more grows there.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 8:54PM
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The very best replacement I've found for folks who want ivy-ish groundcover is vinca minor. It is dense, it spreads by runners if desired, blooms with 1" lavendar-blue flowers (like mini morning glories), and has glossy evergreen leaves for year round color. Flowers bloom most in spring. It is not difficult to control, is shade and drought and heat tolerant. I use it to underplant heirloom roses. Also good, although not evergreen, is kenilworth ivy, which is not really an ivy but a spreading groundcover with light green leaves and teeny orchid-like lavendar flowers. Grows anywhere, spreads quick, looks great trailing out of planters or baskets.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 1:11PM
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