Removing Ivy Off Of Trees...hints?

homersgarden(7)October 31, 2007

I have posted a message about removing ivy off of the ground, but now, I have a bigger issue...the trees. I have ivy growing up several maples, cottonwood, and other trees in my "woodland". I cut the stems of the ivy the summer before last thinking that this would begin to kill the ivy, but alas it is still thriving. We have lost two trees due to the ivy (a cherry tree and another I am not sure of) pulling them down. What else can I do to get rid of this ivy? Could I spray Crossbow on the ivy or would this hurt the tree? The ivy vines are an inch thick in some areas! Ideas?

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Brute strength seems like the way to go.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 6:39AM
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I've read the most effective method (outside of using goats) is to just keep pulling it out of the ground. English ivy has a very waxy substance on the foliage, making it hard to control via sprays (and I don't know what Crossbow is). The only way to get past the waxy coat might be to mow it so that you expose some cut foliage and then spray a brush killer on it.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:27AM
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eric_in_tn(6b TN)

Don't just cut it, cut out a large segment of it a couple feet off the ground so it won't grow back together. If the trees are mature and there is a canopy the lower part will have a hard time growing back up the tree. What is already in the tree will die and decay over time. I did this in my woods last year with good results so far.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 11:43AM
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Cut the vines low, then cut the same vines a few feet higher and remove what is in between all the way around the tree. This allows you to be sure you did not miss a vine on the way around the tree trunk and allows you to spot new growth more easily. Also, rip all of the ivy out of the ground in a circle all the way around the tree for as may feet in diameter as you can handle. Do not pull vines off of the higher portions of the tree -- just make sure the vines are severed and that a space of a few feet all the way around the trunk is completely free of vines. With the portions of the larger rope-like vines that are still attached to the higher points of the tree you might want to nick those parts here and there and peel off some of the outer skin of those vines to hasten their decomposition and drying.
Check out the Nature Conservancy website for a management abstract on English Ivy and check out the link attached to this message.

Here is a link that might be useful: The

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 2:54PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I agree with Bob and Eric - you need to cut a wide band around each tree or you cannot be sure that you have cut every vine. Cutting a piece out of a vine will definitely kill the top, and once all new growth is down at ground level you can kill it a variety of ways. If you cannot pull it out, perhaps you can cut it back to the point where you can use a string trimmer to control new growth and try herbicides to kill it. It will be easier and you will have less accidental spray on other plants if you cut it back as close to ground level as possible before spraying.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 12:01PM
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I know the usual way to deal with invasives is to cut them, then immediately spray the cut area with herbicide. I don't know if this poses any risks to the 'host' tree or not. You have to do it right away, and the poison will be carried back to the roots.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 3:34PM
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Try 'painting' the chemicals on the 1 inch cut stems. The bottoms of the ivy leaves are less waxy so if you can get some spray on the undersides of the leaves it may help.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 5:52AM
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do you need to? does it hurt the tree?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 12:21PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

When the goal is getting the ivy out of the trees, you really don't need to hit it with pesticide. Just cut the vines all of the way around the bottom and a foot off the ground (as several people have mentioned). You can then just grab the ground vines by hand and pull them up or just cut them across and pick up the stems.

Once you get the ivy away from the trunk, you can spray it with double strength round up if it is not growing through anything you want to keep. It takes two sprayings a few days apart. The first one disrupts the waxy coat on the leaves, the second kills the plant. Don't spray the tree. It can hurt the tree and just cutting the stems across will cause what's up the tree to die over the course of several weeks.

Once you remove the really thick stems, the rest will pull up by hand easily as ivy doesn't root deep.

I don't like to use a stringtrimmer because you need to pick all of the big pieces up from the ground so they don't root (which does not happen with the stuff up the tree). A string trimmer makes lots of divisions that could root. What you pick up should be put into a trashbag and solarized so all of the pieces die other wise they can root in your compost pile or in the dump.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 4:49PM
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We cut all the ivy off some very large trees from the ground up to about 8'; one tree is over 200 years old! The growth above this area is still there; anything at all that can now sprayed on them to kill it off. These trees are on the edge of woods in our rear yard and exposed to the yard. Thanks so much

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 4:33PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Susy, the correct way to cut it from trees was outlined above -

Depending on the thickness of the vines, use either loppers or a pruning saw to cut through each vine at shoulder height and at ankle height. Be careful not to wound the bark of the tree when cutting the ivy vines. Strip the ivy away from the tree between the two cuts (some vines may be so big that you will need to pry them away from the tree). Be careful not to damage the bark.

It may take a while, but the ivy left in the tree above will dry and die.

Next start pulling up as much ivy as possible and as deep as possible around the base of the tree. Keep extending the pulled area around the base of the tree until the pulled area is at least six feet from the tree's base all the way around -- this is the tree's lifesaver.

There isn't really anything you can spray that will stick to that semi-waxy coating on the ivy leaves but will not harm the trees. The two 'P"s, persevere and be patient are the best weapons :)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 5:09PM
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