Asked on Jul 14, 2019

How do I kill masses of ivy without poisoning the soil for planting?

Nancy TurnerHarvey in DallasRebecca Taylor


I planted a few English Ivy pots ten years ago in an effort to mitigate soil erosion on a hillside. The ivy has taken over everything in its path, climbing trees, choking shrubs, covering fences.

Vegetation killers caution against its use under tree drip line or over tree roots, and I've got several old growth oaks surrounded with the ivy.

Now, I want the ivy gone so that I can plant a trees in the same soil. How do I kill the ivy but save the existing trees and soil?

5 answers
  • Sharon
    on Jul 14, 2019

    I hate ivy with a passion, here in Oregon its an invasive species, and kills trees. I have spent thousands on pulling up the ivy which grew into my yard from the old lady next door who planted it. If you can find the main stalk, put a diagonal cut in it or peel off the outer layer, then wrap with a cloth saturated in a strong herbicide for ivy, then add layers of plastic wrap around the cloth, and top with aluminum foil..... like air layering but with herbicide. Be sure to wear chemical gloves and a mask when working with the herbicide.

  • Linda Sikut
    on Jul 14, 2019

    Hi Harvey,

    This article is basically about removing ivy from trees. From what it says, if you cut it the right way, the rest will die and the trees will absorb the roots. This is good information to add to your arsenal of ideas for getting rid of the ivy. Wishing you the best.

  • Rebecca Taylor
    on Jul 14, 2019

    Hi Harvey, I found this video that is interesting. It is using duct tape and table salt. It is not an overnight thing but it works within a few months and kills it off without harming trees or other plants. Hope it helps you. Here is the video.

  • Harvey in Dallas
    on Jul 14, 2019

    All nice ideas and I thank you for your input. However, I've got over 1,000 square feet of surface plus six trees, 150' of fence and 12 shrubs invaded with this ivy. If I don't KILL IT ALL ivy may grow up my legs and crush the house . . Any ideas, beyond spot treatments, are welcome.

  • Nancy Turner
    on Jul 14, 2019

    You could try digging it up, but that would be back breaking. Cut down what has grown over the trees and shrubs and pull it down. Probably the easiest way would be to cut each plant down close to the ground and hand paint the cut edge with a strong weed killer. By not spraying it and getting it on the soil, it should not get absorption into the soil and affect the soil. You will need to check the container to see what the wait period is for planting and go by this, but make sure you amend the soil where you are planting anyway.

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