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"DIE, English Ivy!" And how to obliterate it

 
Posts: 81
Location: Shenandoah Valley (Virginia) Zone 6b
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All right, what are the best ways to get rid of English Ivy?

I've read a bit about English Ivy on this site and others, searching around for answers to my question.

Unfortunately, I think I know part of the answer already: with difficulty. We've already cut the big trunks that were covering one of our coniferous trees, and the ivy in the tree slowly died over this last year. (The tree had surprisingly less foliage than we thought. Most of it was the ivy!) We've been removing ivy where and when we can, but there's so much of it in a certain section of the yard that it's basically the only thing growing there. The previous owners must have not kept up with it for years, so sadly it is now VERY well established.

Here's what I've got so far from experience and reading:

1. Wear gloves when pulling it up. The sap can be irritating and toxic.
2. Don't put it on a compost pile where it will re-root itself. Or basically anywhere it could reach the ground.

Options for removal:
Burning with a flame weeder / torch?
Ripping up as much as possible, then covering with cardboard and a thick 6-8" mulch layer?
Black plastic sheets as mulch to heat and kill the area? (Would rather not if I don't have to, as it uses plastic and I'd probably have to buy materials for this.)

Options for disposing of removed vines:
Can it be burned? Some say no, it's toxic. Others recommend to burn it. Poison ivy of course don't burn, but English ivy?
Composting? Don't think so... it can colonize very difficult places and has a high tolerance for extreme conditions.
Leave it high and dry until it's dead-dead. How long does this take?
Someone else mentioned drowning it in water for a week. Does this work?
Toss it in the trash. Would rather not if I don't have to.

Options for making the area unfriendly to English ivy:
It tolerates a wide range of conditions, full sun to full shade, some acidity and some alkalinity, so I can't think of a way to change the soil in such a way as to discourage the ivy, but some of you may have other ideas.
 
pollinator
Posts: 255
Location: Michigan - Zone 6a
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We had a bit of an English Ivy problem here too - I've been anaerobically composting anything that seems like it would reroot (the ivy, thistle roots, anything with burrs/seeds, etc) by placing it in a barrel filled with water, placing a lid on it, and letting it sit for a few months.

Over the past few years nothing has grown back out of that - any seeds seem to be neutralized by the acidity/bacteria and water, and it produces an excellent (although smelly!) liquid fertilizer. It doesn't stink unless you open it / take the lid off, and you can continually add to it until it's full before letting it sit to rot away.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1588
Location: Ashhurst New Zealand (Cfb - oceanic temperate)
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Ivy is a massive problem here as well. We have neighbours who don't care for their section and it's strangling several of their big trees. What's worse is that it sets a huge crop of berries in the autumn and those get dispersed by birds...onto our land. We pull thousands of ivy seedlings every year. It's frustrating in the extreme.

My main method of getting rid of it is repeated hacking. Cut anything that's growing up a tree or fence and let it die, then pull it down in sections. I use a stout rake to get it out of the ground if there's nothing else around it that I care about, otherwise I yank it out by hand. I pile it up in sunny spots with decent air circulation and it usually dries out without taking root again.

Once it's dry it goes into the kontiki whenever I do a batch of biochar. You really don't want to burn the stuff when it's green, because it makes toxic smoke. But a flame cap mitigates this really well.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2883
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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Hi. Here (in the Netherlands) that ivy is the only ivy (we call it 'klimop' in Dutch, that means 'climb up'). I am very glad we don't have any 'poison ivy'. As far as I know 'English' ivy is NOT poisonous or irritating (I think someone who says so is confused with poison ivy).

But it is indeed a difficult weed. It grows all over (over trees, over walls, over the ground ...). It covers a surface fast. It roots very easily.

I don't know what you can do to totally get rid of it. I have time to work in the garden often (I'm retired). I have 'restrictions' for the ivy: it is only allowed to grow at the edges of the garden, next to the hedges. When I see it move too far from that place, I cut that branch, or I pull it out. And then I throw those pieces on a heap I have in one corner (so that is in the 'ivy territory').
I don't think this is an answer to your question ...
 
Posts: 74
Location: Kentucky
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Goats will kill it by continually eat any green growth it produces.I know most people dont have goats or can let them eat everywhere,but if one on a leash could be had for cheap they can be used to eradicate many plant pests,but also your other plants too.

Place any roots or cuttings in a black plastic bag or bucket with a lid on it,the heat will kill them.They will also be light deprived and if you vent to lid daily the moisture will be evaporated as well.I place weeds and roots in my greenhouse up off the ground where they cant get any moisture,the sun dehydrates them in a few days.
 
Posts: 30
Location: SE France
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Hello, Bonsoir,
I know I know, this is not what this thread is about and it doesn’t answer the tricky question….
There is a fine selection of ivy here, ground, trees, wall, bushes, deep sigh, peach trees popping up with their oak companions.
Ivy makes fab clothes wash. I rip up or tear off somw ivy, stick it in a large pan, fill with water, put the pan on the woodstove for a while, take the pan off when I feel that it has had enough, steam, a pleasant
perfume, pour into bottles/jars, store in a cool place.
I use it in the washing machine and for some hand washing. It doesn’t keep too long, hey ho.

My commiserations to those drowning by ivy. I refrained from inviting goats to deal with Ivy and Bramble, (saw the jerusalem artichoke barrier thread). Goats are too indiscriminate.
I suppose that I’ll just join in the cutting and tearing and swearing and careful composting.

Courage, with French accent,
M-H
 
pollinator
Posts: 265
Location: South Central PA
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I abhor English ivy. That noxious weed killed my peonies, my best rose bush, and almost killed my nine-bark & purple lilacs. Really the only thing I've found is pulling it and deep mulching. And repeating till no more of the evil things sprout. I got my one bed mostly under control, but am still waging a war on another bed where it is threatening to take out my white lilac. When I got rid of it, I did just put it in the trash (which gets burned), I didn't put it with my municipal "compostable" stuff because I was afraid it would become a problem for them by taking root or what not.
 
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Goats.
I rented 42 last year (just happened to get 42, didn't ask for that number) to eat ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, small princess trees and tree of heaven.  They ate the poison ivy, too!
And they pooped everywhere.  And they were super nice, and came with 2 great pyrannese (sp?) guard dogs since we have coyotes.  Also the company set up a solar electric fence.
They cleared 2 acres in about 11 days.
I am getting my own goats soon.  Pesticide and herbicide free weed control.
 
pollinator
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I'm gonna throw in my standard suggestion for woody plants you want to get rid of: girdling. Cutting the vines probably just stimulates the roots to put out new growth, kind of like the hydra (I wonder if that story was inspired by some gardener in ancient Greece trying to get rid of some troublesome vines...) Girdling, on the other hand, won't stimulate the plant to make new shoots (not as much anyways) since as far as the plant knows the old shoot is still connected to the roots. So the roots keep feeding water and nutrients to the above-ground parts, but don't receive any sugar in return, since the vascular tissue that would transport stuff downwards was in the bark that you cut away. So over time, if you girdled all the old vines, and keep girdling any new ones appearing, the root system will starve to death. In theory at least. Just remember to scratch away the layer just underneath the bark when girdling, since this can make the bark regrow if left in place.

I've seen girdling used as a means of getting rid of ivy, in park-ish areas in Belgium. It seems to have worked, the girdled vines were dead and I don't remember noticing any young ones on those trees.
 
pollinator
Posts: 163
Location: northern lower peninsula of Michigan
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Not only goats but pigs and chickens will aid in clearing land. I've used both by penning them in the area I wanted to clear with some success. Also covering with cardboard works well and that can be covered with other materials and planted on or just weighted down until it deteriorates and then the area may be planted.
 
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I've removed english ivy a time or two. What has worked for me is to rip up every bit of it that you can see and cut it off any vertical supports, and then come back every time it's resprouted and remove the new growth.

I do have goats, so they get the greens now, but I've also dried it out completely and then composted it.
 
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