‘Persistent’ ivy plants ‘will die’ with garden expert’s 3 ‘most effective’ tips

Gardening: How to remove ivy from brickwork and trees

English ivy is a family of around 20 species of evergreen plants and, depending on their surroundings, can be both ground-creeping or climbing nearby trees, rocks, fences and pretty much anything else they can get wrap their stems around. 

While it can be a popular choice for many gardeners, for others, it can be a thorn in their sides.

Ivy can potentially attach to and damage property, and can also be harmful to children and pets, causing allergic skin reactions from mere touch. 

To ensure gardeners can avoid all of these problems, Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal, has shared how to eradicate this plant.

He said: “Dealing with English ivy can be quite a challenge due to its rapid growth and resilience. 

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“However, here are some of the most effective ways to combat this persistent plant.”

1. Manual removal 

While this method requires physical labour, it’s the most environmentally friendly way to control English ivy. 

Start by cutting the ivy at the base with garden shears or a pruner and then pull out the vines. 

Gardeners should try to remove as much of the plant root as possible to “prevent regrowth”. 

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For larger areas, gardeners may find that they might need to repeat this process several times.

2. Smothering 

After manual removal, gardeners can cover the ground with mulch, cardboard, or landscape fabric to “smother any remaining ivy”. 

Gene explained that this “will block the sunlight”, preventing the ivy from photosynthesising and eventually “causing it to die”. 

However, this method requires patience as it may take several months to be “effective”.

3. Use herbicides

If the ivy is widespread or in an area that’s difficult to access, gardeners might need to use a “systemic herbicide like glyphosate”. 

However, gardeners should use this “as a last resort” because of its potential environmental impact. 

Also, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to “minimise harm to non-target plants”.

If the infestation is “severe” or if the ivy is growing on trees or buildings, it might be worth hiring a professional. They will have the tools and experience to safely and effectively remove English ivy.

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