English Ivy: I need help from gardners, please.

I have it in my backyard and I can't stand it. I just spent a few hrs today trying to rip it all up. Not easy. I'm wondering if I just mow it as short as the mower can go, rake up everything then cover it with a few yards of mulch will that smother what's left??

I'm not 100% sure what I'll do with that plot later, but the ivy is growing up the fence and trees, I'm afraid of it killing the trees.

Anyone have ideas?
We had lots of it at our last house. We tried for almost 10 years to kill it...mostly unsuccessfully. The best thing was mowing it each week, and planting lots and lots and lots of grass-seed in those areas. In some places, we were successful at getting grass to grow completely in replacement of the ivy. In others...well, let's just say that when we put the house on the market, we hired landscapers to dump huge amounts of mulch on it and planted a few flowers in the mulch to pretend it was an intentional garden, rather than a pile hiding a tenacious patch of ivy.
Join Date: Mar 2008
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It doesn't kill trees.

I think I will mow and mulch. Then try to keep on anything that pops back up.

Good to know it doesn't kill trees, thanks. I went from a yard the size of a postage stamp in the city to a good sized yard out side of town. I have no idea what I'm doing.

I also don't like the way it looks. All unruly and unkempt.
I have a bunch of english ivy in my back yard and currently I am ripping it up with metal rakes. Once I have gotten most of it up I am wetting the ground to easily pull up the rest of the vines. I plan to keep it away/smothered with a combination of cardboard and newspaper.

Also I am currently on the hunt to rent some goats they will easily eat the ivy killing it. I am really hoping that my goat idea comes true so I don't have to keep ripping up the stuff. My neighbors are happy I am getting rid of it. They hat it creeping into their yards.
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We had a neighbor once that had ivy growing up every tree in his yard. Finally, one day he cut the strands of ivy all the way around the bottom of the trees and in no time at all, the strands of ivy going up the trees died and they pulled right off the trees. Otherwise, trying to remove it while it's still alive is VERY difficult, if not impossible. If you want if off your trees, it's worth a try!
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We have a lot of ivy that creeps over from our neighbors' yard and it's such a pain. According to something I just read, you need to make sure you pull up as many of the roots as you can then cover the ground with 6 inches(!) of mulch. This will smother most of what's left. Then monitor carefully every spring to make sure you pull up any sprouts before they have a chance to grow out of control.
Ugh, ivy.

I wouldn't allow ivy on my trees. The ivy can cause damage and it's a host for rats, bugs, mosquitos, etc. Nothing good.
The weight of the ivy can cause stress on a tree also possibly causing breakage.

When I mulch, I like to use newspaper or cardboard under the mulch. This adds to the effectiveness and causes the mulch to break down slower.
For some areas, I use black plastic and will add a layer of wood chips on top to disguise it.
I don't use hay/straw because that just adds to the weed problem.

I would mow it as low as possible then apply an herbicide like Round Up. You need to use a surfactant like dish soap because ivy has waxy leaves and you need to penetrate that waxy layer. You want to be thorough. this will take multiple sprayings over a couple years, possibly.
Here's some info
English Ivy Identification - Hedera helix


English ivy is an invasive weed in Pacific Northwest | Northwest Gardening - OSU Extension Service

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 15,529

There's a lot of ivy hatin' here.

I personally quite like it.

I've got lots of things I wish it would crowd out, such as poison ivy, and a ******* form of Queen Anne's lace.

It's a blessing for shady yards like mine.
There was a bunch of English ivy smothering my lilacs and creeping all over my yard when I moved in. I finally got it all removed a month or so ago. I rolled it up like a giant carpet to get rid of most of it. There's really no easy way to remove it, it's either hard manual work or using chemicals. I created a new (native) garden bed on top of where the ivy was, and put down 4-6" of mulch, and put grass seeds down on the other areas.

Good luck!
Alright, it's back to Lowes for some round up then I'll be back at it today.

I want to get a jump on the day, it's supposed to be 90 deg today. And! I have two peony's and a hydrangea to plant.

I have 8 bags of mulch at the ready, I thought I over bought but if I need 4-6" of mulch over the remainding ivy I'm probably short.

Divegirl, you rolled the ivy up like a carpet? Damn, girl, you are tougher than me! I resorted to pulling up chunks and cutting the roots, pulling/cutting...for hours.

Wish me luck, ya'll!
I can't believe the ivy haters here! I love it. My dream is to one day have an English Tudor home covered with ivy.
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I can't believe the ivy haters here! I love it. My dream is to one day have an English Tudor home covered with ivy.
Originally Posted by Lotsawaves
Really??! That's so funny, only because I think that would be my worst nightmare. I'd be constantly thinking about what was living in there.

It does look pretty and old worldy I'm just a spaz about it. I don't like not being able to see the ground.

I think "This American Life" once did a piece on one person's dream being anothers nightmare...I'll have to go listen to that one again.
I can't believe the ivy haters here! I love it. My dream is to one day have an English Tudor home covered with ivy.
Originally Posted by Lotsawaves

It wrecks your house. The ivy creates holes in the siding and water gets in and you get all kinds of damage. Those ivy-league universities have a terrible time keeping their buildings in shape, but they do it anyway because of their ivy-reputation.
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Posts: 41,035
I think curlylew has a bunch of it.
I wonder what she would say.
I like it, as well.
My folks had it, but took it all down.
I like the look

I have 8 bags of mulch at the ready, I thought I over bought but if I need 4-6" of mulch over the remainding ivy I'm probably short.

Wish me luck, ya'll!
Originally Posted by cailin
How did the gardening go?
I love peonies but have never grown them.
They need partial shade here and I dont have afternoon shade and morning sun. Otherwise they'll fry during a typical summer.

Heres a site that will figure out the math for you so you know exactly how much to buy
I need more mulch. I had enough for the area, just not enough for a good smothering.

My coworkers were making fun of me, they said "C, you live in the country now. If you make a phone call someone will actually deliver it to your house"

Le sigh, they don't understand my city ways.

My neighbor has peonys....I covet them,
I was suprised everyone hated ivy so much too.
I've got a ton of crap planted in my yard that I wanted to replace WITH ivy. sigh.

I was suprised everyone hated ivy so much too.
I've got a ton of crap planted in my yard that I wanted to replace WITH ivy. sigh.
Originally Posted by SpaghettiHead
Just research it first... there are lots of other ground covers that aren't invasive and just as tolerant, easy to grow, etc.

Ivy is like bamboo. Seems like a good idea at first but 10 years later, not so much and it ends up causing more damage than what it's worth.

Ivy doesn't just stay in your yard.. it travels and invades areas where it shouldn't be destroying the natural habitat. Not to mention ivy is just a home to rats. Eww.

Here's one site with pics
Central Library English Ivy Alternatives Demonstration Garden : Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources : Arlington, Virginia

IvyOUT: Native Plant Alternatives to English Ivy

Bamboo...ugh. I used to have tons of that stuff in a past house....I could never get rid of it.

Thanks for the links! I will definitely check it out. I just love the way ivy looks, and tons of houses in our neighborhood have it because we are full of trees and shade, I assumed it is the best thing to grow. It's so frigging hot here too.

It would be nice to find something that would "eat" all of the leaves that we get falling half of the year, and still look as pretty as ivy does.

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