Seth F
Seth F
  • Hometalker
  • Mcdonough, GA
Asked on Mar 6, 2012

Need opinions on Ivy filled beds

Dorothy ASouthern Trillium LLCJeanette S
+28

Answered

I have this large bed at the front of my house. Its filled with ivy. I kind of liked that when I first moved in here last summer but over the fall and winter it has kind of become an eyesore. Im wondering if i should get rid of it and replace with some low shrubs and other plantings or keep it and clean it up. It gets very little sun during the summer because of the trees above so that will limit me on what I can replace it with. I seem to keep coming up with reasons to get rid of it but I actually like the look of ivy so im kind of torn about this.
My pros for it are:
-its kind of good looking as long as its clean.
-its green and full all year round
-grows fast and covers the ground good
My cons for it are:
-full of leaves from above trees
-seedlings keep popping up
-constantly have to trim it
-harbors bugs and other critters right up against the house
Check out my pics below and let me know what you think.
Thanks!
need opinions on ivy filled beds, landscape, outdoor living
need opinions on ivy filled beds, landscape, outdoor living
need opinions on ivy filled beds, landscape, outdoor living
31 answers
  • Not matter what, you should maintain a 1' to 2' clear path all around the perimeter of the house. You might want to cut sections of it back gradually and selectively landscape smaller sections at a time. I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas here!

  • Hey Seth, If I were you I would take it out. There is a ton of plants that look so much better that ivy! we just worked on a yard today where the ivy was growing inside of the stucco walls of the house!!! As Handy Andy stated above keep it back from your house! Ivy can be aggressive and before you know it, it's everywhere! I would suggest planting in a tiered order. Maybe in the back go with a hydrangea, then do an evergreen such as soft caress mahonia, then layer the front with autumn ferns, Hosta, Heuchera, and other shade tolerant plants! The hydrangeas would give you some color in the summer, the evergreens would give you that strong backbone for green in the winter, and the ferns, host, etc would be your accents, all combined creating a tiered effect. You could even add some seasonal color to that area as well to add an extra burst of color for the front. Hope this helps!

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc.
    on Mar 7, 2012

    I'm not a big fan of English Ivy, if that's what it is. it is a non-indigenous, invasive species. CP

  • Marvin R
    on Mar 7, 2012

    I really dont think it looks bad at all.What about adding to it perhaps some pampass grass that will give you more height.Just dont plant it to close to the house since they get bigger.I have two in my front yard that i love.I think the ivy could be used as your base for shrubs etc.

  • Marvin R
    on Mar 7, 2012

    pampass grass pic

    need opinions on ivy filled beds, landscape, outdoor living, pampass grass pic
  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Not trying to be mean here, but I would not recommend pampas grass. First, it is a very, very large grass that can reach heights of 12 feet. Apart from the massive size, the blades are very sharp and can cut skin very easily. Also, almost every cultivar of ornamental grass, including pampas grass, will want nearly full sun to be happy. This location is mostly shaded. What may be best for you, Seth, would be to employ the services of a landscape designer or architect to assist you in designing the space, recommending the exact plant varieties and cultivars that will perform well for your situation. They can also provide assistance in understanding future care and maintenance for the plants that are recommended. There are several designers and architects that are on Hometalk that you could contact for help. You can also check out Kudzu, Yelp, and Angie's List for further information and reviews. Of course this will cost money, but buying and installing the wrong plants will eventually cost you money as well. Starting off with a proper plan, by someone that has actually seen the area in person,, will give you the best advice.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Here is info on Pampas Grass, and note the Warning near the bottom of the page. http://www.floridata.com/ref/c/cort_sel.cfm

  • Donna McCrummen
    on Mar 7, 2012

    I am a committed member of the No Ivy League. It is incredible invasive - whatever you do DO NOT let it grow up the trees - it will kill them. DO NOT let it grow up your house it will damage the mortar. GET RID OF IT. I'm not a big fan of chemicals but get some Bayer Brush and Stump Killer, there is a lot of ivy so use a spray bottle being careful not to overspray anything you want to keep. I've killed ivy growing right next to plants I wanted by painting the stump killer on with a cheap paint brush.... GET IT OUT - Can you tell I hate Ivy?

  • Gigi Moore
    on Mar 7, 2012

    When clipped back it can be lovely but as a landscape company in the past we had a client that had so much growth thru the years they had a pocket to come and go out of they said "we just loved it but it got to much work for us" We went in and cut it way way back and the next year it was almost like the year before. Tough to kill even with the ivy killer. We use a hatchet to get in deep to the hearty root. Point is get as much of the older roots out and if you like it try keeping only new young growth. So start chopping...

  • Seth F
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Thanks folks. This is why I always come here for my questions. Anyone else want to chime in? I was hoping Walter Reeves would comment. :)

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Just curious, is that a crape myrtle beside the lamp post? If it is, I would recommend removing it as they prefer full sun. I think that is also why the conifers look so thin. I would recommend removing everything except the large tree, and starting all new.

  • Marvin R
    on Mar 7, 2012

    I chose pampas grass for my area and its not a full sun area.Although they may be correct about the blades cutting you.The only problem with bringing in a professional landscaper is the amount of money your going to pay.In my situation it was not in my budget i try and do my own planting when plants and flowers go on sale. I have a pic on my page on here of how i incorporated pampas grass into my landscape although im not a master garden and i dont claim to be lol.

  • Pampas grass has a unique look and it works in some places....if you like it...you like. You'll often get diverging opinions on Hometalk which is part of what makes it such a wonderful place to come for ideas.

  • Seth F
    on Mar 7, 2012

    I agree Southern...If I do this I will be starting totally new and taking it all out except the big tree. It is a Crepe but I havent had a chance to do anything with it yet. I do have a more sunny side of the house to put it on so I might go ahead and move it this weekend if the rain holds off for a sec. Whoever lived here before me planted a lot of different plants but either didnt know where to put them properly or the yard has just grown up so much that where they are now doesnt make sense.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 7, 2012

    it's the front of your house. You want to make a good first impression. I would get rid of the ivy. As Southern Trillium notes, you also have conifers that are struggling because of the shade. Yes, landscapers charge, but they can help you come up with a comprehensive plan that includes the right plants for the conditions you have, and they should be able to recommend stages of work that will work with your budget.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Mar 7, 2012

    I would recommend hiring a garden designer to develop a plan that you can implement over time. I moved into my home 6 years ago, the front yard was full of ivy and I hired two guys to remove all of it. You will be much happier and save money in the long run with a plan. Lots of creative ways to garden in your situation.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Good points Marvin about the costs involved. But as a counter point, let me present an example. There are many landscape/garden designers that will come out and do an on-site consultation to aid in designing an area, and will even provide a simple sketch of what to plant where. This cost for a small area like a foundation planting may only cost $150-$200. The homeowner can then handle the plantings themselves at no extra cost or fee to the professional. While some may say that this seems expensive, anyone can quickly spend and lose $150-$200 in the wrong plants that are purchased to put into the area. Sometimes, it is even that a homeowner may unknowingly put too many plants in the area, which is also spending extra money. A knowledgeable professional will be able to provide the recommendations to give you the best success for your situation, hopefully without spending money on the trial and error. There are even circumstances where different varieties/cultivars of the same plant will perform very differently. The professional may be able to steer you away from ones that will cause a problem, and in the future forcing you to spend more money to replace them. If you visit a nicer retail nursery/garden center, the cost of the professional is equal to as few as 2-3 plants if you assume a nice 7 gallon plant and a handful of 3 gallons. The major expense is in hiring out the work to be done, which is where may homeowners enjoy doing the work and saving money.

  • Walter Reeves
    on Mar 7, 2012

    If you want to follow the chemical route, Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer will kill English ivy if you spray twice at 4 week intervals. However, your patch is so small and planting time is so near, I think you should remove it by hand. Cultivators Design (above) has good ideas for adding plants. I agree with Trillium that the crape should go.

  • Marvin R
    on Mar 7, 2012

    Sorry hope i didnt mislead anyone :)

  • Deborah C
    on Mar 9, 2012

    Hi Seth, I am another who would get rid of the ivy, because it is TROUBLE. I would also remove the conifers, and crape myrtle cause they are not "happy" in the shade. However a dogwood tree would be.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Mar 9, 2012

    If you still want a small tree in the area, there are many options that you could use other than a dogwood. If you love dogwoods, then it is perfect, but here are some other options to consider. These are all spring flowering, deciduous trees, but it can give you something a little different. Korean Dogwood (Cornus kousa) white blooms appear after the leaves emerge. Something interesting after the normal dogwoods are finished. Two-winged silverbell (Halesia diptera) Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflore Autumn Brilliance)

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc.
    on Mar 9, 2012

    The Kousa is a great recommendation. Very nice for size and structure and is a little different. CP

  • I have used the pink kousa dogwood many times. I love halesia but they are picky, and worth it. Southern T is right, many good landscape designers do not charge hefty fees and you will save money with the best plant selection. I love bringing life to shaded spaces. I would design your yard with a mixture of perennials, annuals, evergreen ferns and maybe a couple of small evergreen plants that will welcome you and visitors to your home. Swoops or drifts of impatiens leading the eye to bleeding hearts, ferns such as autumn fern which is evergreen, Lady in Red Fern, Alabama or My Mary Azealia where the crepe is. These native azaleas grow like a small tree, the fragrance is delicious and the flowers are beautiful! Also scented geraniums, blue hosta, caladiums that are variegated white and green to lend some moonlight beauty. Purple palace Coral Bells, and Seth, I could go on and on. You can create one of the most gorgeous and welcoming front gardens in your neighborhood! A couple of garden rocks...I think the unwanted ivy is a blessing in disguise.

  • Seth F
    on Jun 28, 2012

    Just fyi...Roundup extra strength does nothing to this ivy...it brown for a few days and then came right back. Any other ideas for a chemical kill solution here? I tried pulling it up myself and got about a quarter of it done and that is not going to be the way to go with removing this.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 29, 2012

    Make sure the herbicide you use contains at least 41 percent glyphosate as the active ingredient. Your next step up would be one including triclopyr. You need to be much more careful using that. For more control suggestions, see: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/hehe1.htm

  • Seth F
    on Jun 29, 2012

    Thanks Douglas...I actually found some Roundup Pro yesterday afternoon which has what you have suggested. I sprayed it yesterday evening so im hoping to see some reaction in the next few days or so. Thanks again. BTW...I moved the Crepe...parred it down to about a 3 foot stump, dug up the whole rootball and moved it to a sunnier place. It has already recovered and produced new limbs. Still havent decided on what im going to put in this bed yet though.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 30, 2012

    Seth, try to spray the Roundup when that area is getting as much sun as possible. You may want to add a little dish detergent to it to help it cling to the leaves of the ivy. Good luck! (And keep us posted on the rest of the bed.)

  • Jeanette S
    on Jun 30, 2012

    One of the prettiest landscapes I have seen was the use of different greens. Look around and you can find all colors of plants that will take shade. Then supplement with hanging baskets on shephards poles in different seasons.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Jul 1, 2012

    Just a little education for everyone. The % active ingredient on the label of the bottle does not mean that you will be applying the chemical at a higher dosage or that it will be more effective than another bottle. All that means is that the mix inside of the bottle is a higher concentration. When you prepare the mix in your sprayer, you are diluting the higher % more. In other words, the bottle contains more active ingredients and less neutral carriers, but at application, you are applying it at the same rate. Here is an example, using the Round-Up QuikPro, the label reads 73.3% Glyphosate, 2.9% Diquat dibromide, and 23.8% other ingredients. The other ingredients are carriers which are usually added to make mixing the chemical easier. QuikPro is mixed at 1.5 ounces per gallon of water. Even though the % of glyphosate is high in the bottle, you mix very little with each gallon. On the other hand, you can buy Round-Up Concentrate Plus which reads 18% glyphosate, 0.73% Diquat dibromide, and 81.27% other ingredients. You mix this version at 6 ounces per gallon of water. So if you do the math, since you put 4 times the amount of the Concentrate Plus into each gallon of water, you are effectively applying the same amount of Glyphosate when you spray. You put 4 times the 18% Concentrate Plus in the water, which is nearly identical to the 72% of the QuikPro. The difference is that you are purchasing a higher concentration with one version, and diluting it more when mixed. But the final outcome is that Glyphosate is Glyphosate and the application rate is the same. There is no need to over mix it either, as the suggested ratio is what is needed to kill the target weed/pest/grass. Adding more ounces per gallon is just wasting money. Always read the label.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Jul 1, 2012

    So for some fun math here, when I mix our Round-Up QuikPro, which the label says is 73.3% glyphosate, the rate at application is 0.86% glyphosate per gallon of water. If you buy the Ready to Use Round-Up, the package is ready to spray, no water added, it is 2% per gallon. Therefore, the pre-mixed Round-Up is done at a higher concentration than our 73.3% Round-Up QuikPro

  • Dorothy A
    on Jul 1, 2012

    Lots of really great easy to care for shade and partial sun plants such as hostas, coral bells, types of ferns. Just removed pachysandra from shaded area. It was a beast to remove but so glad I did it. Hostas and coral bells come in many colors and shades of green.

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