Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy
English Ivy is a woody climbing vine that can quickly escape the area it was planted and take over the fields and forest creating a "ivy desert".
(This article is not about poison ivy...Click here to learn how to get rid of poison ivy).
WHY ENGLISH IVY IS A PEST: Ivy kills trees, brush, and everything else it grows over. English ivy is not native to this country and has no natural predators. Seeds are spread by birds and the vine just crawls further along... day after day.
Ivy is a problem as it is a safe harbor home for aphids, ants, rats, mealy bugs, white flies, spiders, mites and many other small creatures.
Ivy causes structural damage by virtue of its weight on a structure, the harboring of insects that can attract a structure and in the case of brick, it slowly removes the grout layer between the bricks.
ORGANIC CONTROL: Plant ivy in pots not in the ground to contain it securely.
BIOLOGICAL CONTROL: There is no biological ways to control ivy.
CHEMICAL CONTROL: There are many herbicides which you can purchase locally to spray on English ivy to kill it.
REMOVAL: Goats eat it and are available commercially in some areas to eat all you have to offer them.
- Cutting: Cut the vines with loppers, starting with the trees and then the ground mat. Be careful when you pull it down from a tree because dead branches and things like wasp nests can rain down on you very quickly. Slowly rolling up the ivy mat around a log is one technique used world over. Pull out as many roots as possible. You will probably have to do it over a three year period to remove it permanently.
- Grubbing: Grubbing is using a pick axe to dig out the roots entirely. This also will probably have to be repeated before the ivy is completely removed.
- Mulching: If you put 2 or more inches of mulch like clippings on it then covered with cardboard, the ivy will slowly die. A variant of mulching is often successful whereupon you lay a rug or tarp over the ivy until it dies (It may take a year).