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How To Get Rid Of Ivy

How To Get Rid Of Ivy

Though Ivy can look attractive, when it gets out of control, which it often does, it can look unkempt, damage brick work, and harm trees. Stella Fear, Head gardener at Holland Park, London, shows us the best ways to limit Ivy, or destroy it altogether.

Step 1: You will need

  • Gloves
  • Weed killer
  • Secateurs
  • A saw
  • A scraper
  • A wire brush
  • A fork

Step 2: Killing top growth

You should always aim to keep ivy away from paint work and gutters, and ensure it isn't damaging the brickwork.

Ivy is extremely resistant to weed killers due to the glossy nature of it's leaves. Spray the offending plant with a weed killer containing glyphosate, this will speed up the death of the plant, making it easier to remove from the wall without damaging brickwork. Bear in mind it may require repeat applications.

Once you have done this, severe the plant from it's roots by cutting all stems as close to the base as possible

Step 3: Removing top growth

Once the weed killer has done it's job, you can start to remove the plant. The longer you leave it, the easier it should be to remove. Get your secateurs under each stem to dislodge the aerial roots, and then pull the ivy away, being careful not to pull any mortar with it.

Ariel roots attached to brick work are harder to remove. Scrap them off with a paint scraper at an angle of 30 degrees so as not to damage the brick. Go at any remaining pieces with a tough wire brush.

Step 4: Removing roots

You may read about treating the severed stump with ammonium sulphamate, but it is worth noting that this, and any products containing it, is now banned.

Instead, dig out the stump along with it's major roots in one go. You must remove as much of the root system as possible, so dig as deep and wide as you reasonably can. It is unlikely you will remove everything, but alas there is no other answer.

Digging up seedlings as soon as they appear will save you a lot of time in the future.

Step 5: Removing from trees

When Ivy climbs a trunk it has the potential to strangle the tree and prevent the growth of buds, especially if it gets into the trees crown.

Simply pulling the ivy from the tree is very messy, and can damage the bark. Cut the stems of the ivy to kill all of the plant above the cut. Leave the dying ivy for a month or so that it becomes dehydrated, it will then be much easier to pull from the tree with out removing bark and harming the tree.