Getting rid of Ivy

gjd1754(z7 PA)April 6, 2004

I am planning to rip out ivy that is covering my front yard. I have just recently moved into the house and it appears the ivy has been growing for many years.

My plan is to rip out the ivy, till the dirt about 6in, rake out the dirt, then plany sod.

Does this sound ok? ANY suggestions w/b helpful.


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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Ivy is notorious difficult to kill, any small piece left in the soil will grow. Rather than ripping it out, you may need to use two or three applications of Round Up.

Since you are posting on the Woodland forum, is your front yard well treed or otherwise in shade? Planting grass sod will not work, since lawn grasses do not grow well in shade or partial shade.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2004 at 1:36PM
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jerry_murray(20F/Puget Sound)

I recently pulled out english Ivy for a friend. Washington State is considering banning the sale of this nasty plant, and for good reason. It is very agressive and is taking over the country. Its waxy leaves do not allow systemics to penetrate so it is best to use a detergent with the herbicide mix to break down the waxy surface. Apply to the tender leaves when they first appear after your initial manual erradication effort. As for lawn grass, there are a number of shade tolerant grass seed mixes. Just check your nursery or online. Jer

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 12:01AM
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We live in z7, NC. I once lived in Tifton, GA., the site of major lawn grass experimentations, hybridizations, etc. There are still no reliable lawns grasses for shade. NONE. You will get initial green, but as the trees leaf out, it gets thinner and thinner and poof.

There are better, more environmentally friendly alternatives for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: alternatives to lawn grasses

    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 6:55PM
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I had established ivy under trees out front. I didn't want to apply round-up because of the trees, plus the ivy has a waxy exterior. Like the person above said, you'd have to apply on the undersides (what a pain!) and early in the season. Even then this plant is really really tough.

We ended up hiring a landscaper to bring in a team of guys with big mattocks (sp?) and manually remove the stuff. We could have done this ourself but it would have taken forever plus I am highly allergic to the stuff. After that we pulled up any sprouts (with as much root as we could get. I wouldn't mass-plant (such as grass or groundcover) anything in the area until you're sure the ivy is good and gone (it's been two years and we still have the very occasional sprout).

If you don't have trees, you could also try covering the area with black trash bags and rocks. Not pretty but it would deny the ivy all light or water.

Shade grasses - try creeping fescue mixed with tall fescue. From what I can tell, they'll take shade the best.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 11:49AM
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Well, I tried to get rid of this stuff that I planted before I knew what exotic invasive meant. I pulled it up by hand last year twice to avoid using chemicals and it's back full force. Thanks for the tip on spraying the new shoots that aren't waxy yet. I think I am going to use a stamp licker bottle filled with RoundUp to try round three with this ivy that has actually begun to heave up my newer 6" thick concrete sidewalks which are currently containing it from jumping into the lawn. What is this stuff? Bionic?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 4:07PM
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I also have ivy I am trying to remove from a woodland area of my yard. Part of this area near the house receives some sun. I was thinking of planting a cover crop such as clover that would hopefully choke out the ivy. Anyone tried this?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 9:56PM
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Actually, english ivy is very controllable with Roundup, but additional surfactant is required in the spray mix, plus the concentration of the Roundup has to be appropriately high, as the label directs for hard to control perennial weeds. Premixed ready to use Roundup will not work. No need to worry about the undersides of the leaves. And no need to wait for new growth, either. Efficacy trials have shown fall and winter to be good times to spray, with the added bonus of less worry about other desirable green plants about (it will not affect tree roots in the area, either- it is not soil active). One good application of the proper strength Roundup and surfactant will often control 95% of the ivy. Follow up by removing the small surviving resprouts.

Cover crops such as clover, even if you could get them started, will definitely not outcompete english ivy. In fact even most of the toughest invasive weeds cannot outcompete this one. It's so bad in Oregon, it's now an official state listed noxious weed, and is banned from sale.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2004 at 12:25AM
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Hopefully, some of the experts on this thread are still around or new ones to answer my question re: ivy removal. I just pulled ivy from a woodland bed in my yard. Am hoping to eventually plant one dogwood tree to join the others in the large bed and then bulbs beneath the trees...pinestraw for weed control in the meantime. I plan to spray Roundup as soon as any new ivy leaves appear then till 12 in. as the original poster had planned then pinestraw this season and plant bulbs in the fall. What do I use as surfactant in the Round -up mix...ordinary dish detergent? How much? And would anyone add anything to my plan?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 3:29PM
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For best results, use a commercial surfactant and follow the label rates. Remember to wait until the ivy plants are completely dead before tilling or other physical removal activity. Newly emergent ivy is not necessarily the ideal time to apply, however. No need to wait for that to occur as dormant ivy applications work very well.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 10:37PM
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All of the green leaves are gone right at the moment since I pulled all of the obvious green leaved vines up. I know Round-up doesn't work on just roots alone. In a post above, someone suggested spraying with Round-up before the newly emergent leaves become waxy.JAYK,if newly emergent is not the ideal time, when should I spray?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 5:01AM
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I too am plagued with rampant ivy in a wooded area alongside my house and into my neighbors. Sooner rather than later, I will muster the strength to remove the stuff on my side, but am 100% sure my neighbor will not do his part. If I remove the stuff on my property and keep on top of regrowth, would installing a bamboo barrier keep my neighbor's ivy from spreading back on to my property?

(I have read about but never seen or worked with bamboo barrier.)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 10:37AM
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You can still spray then, but make sure there is enough foliage present to accept a fair amount of product. If I could choose an ideal time, I would pick fall or winter (in zones 7 or 8). This may not fit your schedule.

Bamboo barrier is excellent for bamboo, but ivy would just pour over the top. A vigilant pruning regimen is what is most needed.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 12:16AM
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Birds will also keep planting it for you. You will need to remain vigilant against seedlings. My neighbor has let ivy climb his trees and fruit, so I pull seedlings every spring.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 2:03PM
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Well, this sounds difficult. I was hoping that zapping it with Round-up as soon as it emerged again would do the trick..Do you think it would be effective to cover the area with thick black garbage bags opened and stretched out then cover with a thick layer of pinestraw for the summer? I was thinking of uncovering it then zapping it in the fall with Round-up if anything grows through that, waiting a few weeks,tilling, then plant some bulbs?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 7:00PM
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I'm not much of a fan of the plastic smothering technique for ivy, since it impacts the soil so much, and the ivy can remain viable for so long even when covered. I think your spring application of Roundup as has been discussed will work, my comment about better timing was more a recommendation for those who can wait. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 10:49PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Marie, I had a huge stand of ivy covering hundreds of square feet and very densely growing on forest floor, way up tree trunks over deadfalls,stumps, EVERYWHERE! It took me two winters to pull most of it up. I actually found the mindless labor of evicting the ivy very therapeutic especially after a long day at work!
The upshot is, three years later and very few sprigs have shown up again. I go in and survey the area every few months and just spot pull the brave sprouts. No chemical at all. It is not laborious at all.

As for the trees, I cut the strands as they went up the trunks near the base of the tree, let the ivy die very thoroughly for several months and pulled it down. This is less injurious to the bark of the tree where the ivy has attached itself.

I agree with those who have said prune vigilantly as it tries to emerge from your neighbors (I have the same problem,) and also that the birds will spread it for you to a degree. A walk is not complete without scavenging some errant ivy- think of it as a treasure hunt and the good you are doing the world by getting rid of it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 12:07AM
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monals(9 CA)

Thank you for this topic, I have been fighting the neighbor's ivy for years. I am going to take all your advice, I want it GONE! The neighbor planted ivy next to the fence dividing our properties - and then moved. The new owners pulled up the ivy on their side of the fence, but it keeps coming up on my side. It was planted surrounded by concrete on their side - but nothing to stop it coming my way. It sure is a persistant pest. Thanks again for the topic! Mona

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 9:16PM
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Maybe not such a good idea but I planted three small sprigs of the english ivy along a chain link fences between our woodland yard and the neighbors for a privacy wall. Is it ok as long as I keep it pruned? or should I use something else?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 12:54PM
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Rip it out as soon as you can. It is not suitable for your area and three small sprigs will quickly become a big maintenance problem in your yard, your neighbors yard, and elsewhere. It is a listed noxious weed in your state. There are numerous better choices for you to use. How about a Clematis armandii?

Here is a link that might be useful: C. armandii

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 12:01AM
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I have pulled out ivy along the side of my home, covered the ground with some black tarp, and covered that with some treated mini pine chips. The challenge now is putting in an attractive border. the ground slopes and I am faced with what kind of border to place along the walkway. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 11:55AM
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I live on Long Island and we had Ivy all over the back yard. My husband mowed it all up but I'm sure this is not a cure all. I also have 3 dogs so I don't want to use anything that would injure them or make them sick. Can I just till the soil and rake?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 11:56AM
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I have had success using layers of newspaper covered by several inches of soil and mulch to decompose grassy areas, Sort of a lazy-person's way of creating a garden bed without digging. Does anyone think this will work to stampout the ivy. I was thinking of trying the round-up/detergent followed by newspapers, weed barrier cloth and soil. Any input would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 2:53PM
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A heavy duty barrier should help to suppress resprouts in the combination treatment you describe.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:58AM
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I got so aggrevated at the ivy that kept popping up & choking my dogwoods, I grabbed the first sprayer I could find. It was a bottle of Lime-Away, & IT WORKED !! Killed the ivy by next day, & it never came back. Be sure to just spray the leaves of the ivy, & don't get too much in the ground or on anything else. After it withers, just pull it out from your good plants.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 1:52PM
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We bought a house three months ago, its great. I scoped out a choice spot for a rose garden BUT it is was covered by ivy and several choked trees never given a fair shot a life. I have chopped down those trees (mercy killing) and removed the debris. Over the last several weeks I am now getting down on my knees ripping out the vast network of vainlike root system blow ground. I have also enlisted the help of my chickens (professional plant/ground diggers) during the week to pick out the sprouts coming up. My question to you all is, this spot is 15 feet from my well(our source of water) is this too close to use Round-Up? If not, how long after my applications can I start planting my rose garden. If it is too close then what is the BEST recommendation at this point (burn, black tarp-sounds time consuming) Today, I also was out using a mattock digging up this ivy-this is back breaking work. Your thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 2:49AM
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statconsultants(z 9-10? L.A.)

I love the limeaway solution. Haha. That stuff is truly a panacea. God knows what it will do to our pets, not to mention our kids, but hats off to whomever stumbled into that concoction.

Never heard so much support for roundup, either. A testament to the evilness of ivy.

Sounds like there are no serious concerns about roundup and pets/kids. What about tomatoes?

Thanks, all!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Is there an organic formula I can use to get rid of ivy in a semi-shaded are of my property?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 2:24PM
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I have had success mowing the ivy close to the ground with the lawn mower, layering several layers of cardboard then covering the cardboard well with mulch.

Keep pets out of the yard if spraying Round-up. It is highly toxic if it gets on kitties fur or feet.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:13PM
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ApprenticeGardener(7b or 8)

I've had success with tearing some of the Ivy away from the ground in a number of areas, thus exposing the underside while still rooted. Then spray with a "strong" mix of Roundup. Also had success with mowing it down to several inches high and doing the Roundup routine. Either way, when the leaves are dead, mow again with a mulching blade and a bag attached. Wait several weeks and spray any shoots that reappear. Repeat again if necessary--but usually one spray of the shoots has been enough.

Best Wishes--Carl
Atlanta, GA

English Ivy wasn't born here, but it sure found a good home.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:59PM
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