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Evil ivy

IvyWhat’s the deal with ivy? It climbs where it’s not wanted, chokes and kills most other greenery in its path and harbors bugs and spiders. Why would anybody plant this stuff?

These are my thoughts as I work to get my home ready for painting. I practically need a crowbar to get ivy "ropes" out of the grooves in my exterior walls. And we have "scars" on our wood ceilings inside where ivy pushed its way in, unwanted, unbidden.

You always hear about the struggle to get rid of ivy. Is anyone planting ivy these days? Why? I don’t want to hurt the ivy industry, but geez. Who needs this stuff?

I’ve pretty much gotten it off my walls. Any suggestions on how to rid my garden of it altogether and forever?


8 Comments on Evil ivy

  1. Good luck. Removing 30-yr. old ivy was a 2 year long ordeal for me. Tried Roundup, it won’t stick to established leaves and vines(they have some sort of waxy coating on them), thus won’t work. Maybe there’s some industrial-strength herbicide that will work, but make sure that it isn’t permanent, otherwise you won’t be able to plant anything there afterwards. Wound up cutting all of it to the ground, then covered it with black plastic over a summer and fall (8 mons.), figuring no water and the heat would kill it. Wrong! The roots are kind of like potatoes, they’ll sprout when they’re exposed to sunlight again. Rototilled the roots and soil down about 14 in., then went through all the soil and removed every blasted piece of root and stem. That did it. Put it in a different, more colorful and less aggressive ground cover, and have never regretted the ordeal of removing the ivy.

  2. I’ve taken out the bigger sized ivy that grows commonly around here. It’s tenacious in the extreme and most herbicides don’t work*. I have resorted, successfully, to digging it out by hand. You have to go deep into the ground to get the very last bit of roots. Otherwise they will resprout.
    *I have reliable information that a special herbicide (don’t recall the name) designed for poison oak / poison ivy will work, but you have to paint it onto the ivy stalks by hand. Not a safe task, I suspect, and difficult with your smaller ivy.

  3. Inland Empire // November 14, 2007 at 11:47 am // Reply

    Also slugs and snails love it and skunks love to eat those. Walking on it tends to kill it so might start there.

  4. A word of caution. I have a lot of thick ivy growing around and on my house. I learned a painful lesson last year when I tried to pull it all out by the roots by hand. some of the roots are very thick and deeply engrained. I was standing over them using all of my weight to yank them out, and when they loosened, my head snapped back and I ended up in the hospital.

  5. Rats love to nest in ivy. Want rats? Plant ivy.

  6. In the defense of Ivy, it’s green and does not require chemicals. We use it a lot in the South East as a ground cover. It spreads fast, never needs water, and cuttings actually grow! Unfortunately, it will take over your kingdom if you neglect it. It takes maintenance.
    I didn’t think Ivy would grow in CA. Wouldn’t Ivy make a great FIRE resistant ground cover?
    Carl Heldmann

  7. i have not tried it yet myself (our rental house needs some weed-killin’ though), but allegedly boiling water will kill any plants you pour it on. much better to try this before going nuclear with the Roundup.

  8. Three years ago we bought a house that looked like it was deserted…a real halloween house. It was covered with ivy, as were the trees around it. The gutters had collapsed under the weight of it (we live in Ireland, good weather for ivy!)
    We found no sustainable solution except to remove it all by hand. We even had some of the trees felled because they had been smothered to a mis-shapen mess by the ivy. We weeded the garden, front and back, by hand and took all the ivy to the dump – do not compost. We have the occasional outburst now, but nothing that can’t be dealt with easily. The house has been fully renovated and is beautiful!

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