Asked on Jul 12, 2013

I'm de-jungling my yard and removing most of the ivy, partly due to

by Louise
the jungle-look effect, and partly to eliminate a friendly environment for snakes. I don't see snakes, but people tell me I can be sure they're out there. My neighbor's yard is full of uncontrolled ivy and she doesn't care what happens to it, so I'm probably going to go spray it to kill it. I have some ivy that I planted at the top of two retaining walls so it would drape over the wall (see photo) and I keep the part where it grows trimmed back but then there's the part that falls over the wall. That part, as you see, needs a trim, which I plan to do in a day or two. But, does the part that falls over the wall attract snakes? If so, I'll pull up ALL of the ivy and leave a bare wall. I'll stucco it or something to make it more attractive than a bare concrete wall.
  20 answers
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jul 12, 2013
    Good question. I don't know if the ivy attracts snakes, but I would certainly be careful about grabbing an armful of ivy and ripping away. I think some careful poking around first with a long stick would be a good idea. Around here, there would be plenty of dangerous spiders hiding, even if there weren't any snakes. Please be careful, whatever you decide.
  • Sally M. Sally M. on Jul 12, 2013
    Last year I tried to plant ivy to climb a retention wall we had to put in for our pool. I was told to plant the ivy on the bottom of the wall and let it climb up. I was hoping it would take hold as quickly as it did in another part of my yard. Our property abutts 100 acres of deep woods, and I really don't want to attrack snakes. I will have to do some serious research before it takes off.
  • Kelly Christianson Kelly Christianson on Jul 12, 2013
    Ivy on my brick house attracts snakes. In the yard, in the house, doesn't matter. They are only garter snakes, but everyone in the house is afraid of them except me. My husband is threatening to rip all the ivy off the house, but they are a great insulator in the summer. He doesn't care. A friend told him to sprinkle rock salt (like ice melter) along the outside walls of the house and the rain will dilute it and kill the ivy (and everything else). I'm heartbroke because it's been there almost 90 years and 35 of it has been since I've lived there.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 13, 2013
    Sally, it takes about 3 yrs, I think, to start growing vigorously. I never considered making it climb, but should have since that makes way more sense. But I'm leaning toward ripping it all out. A TV reporter here was bitten by a snake while cleaning out some ivy in his yard and he was hospitalized a couple of days.
  • Karen Karen on Jul 13, 2013
    You have the same species of ivy I have. I hate it because of the constant new, long "sprigs that grow. I wish I had the ivy that just clung and grew close to the fence/wall/brick. Would be much easier to manage and not look so sloppy. I don't know about the snake issue. May depend on your geographics....we've never had a problem.
  • Mary-Jo  Westbrook Mary-Jo Westbrook on Jul 14, 2013
    what's the problem with snakes? just let them be, and they will let you be- if you make a lot of noise before working in the garden, they will leave the area so you can work.
  • Peni Plucker Peni Plucker on Jul 14, 2013
    My daughter in NC had beautiful ivy growing on the side of her garage. They removed it after finding baby copperheads hidden at the base. So be careful if you remove yours.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 14, 2013
    Mary-Jo, the problem with snakes is that I'm terrified of them. Horribly unreasonable, I know, especially for ones that won't harm anyone. I don't want to have to tiptoe around my yard with the fear of happening upon one. And a friend's dog was bitten by a copperhead last year and it killed the dog. I have a much-loved dog and don't want to invite anything into the yard that might tempt her curiosity and harm her, even tho she's mostly inside the house.
  • Jill Jill on Jul 14, 2013
    I know what you mean about having a fear of snakes. My neighbor has had them and one bit and killed my cat a few years back. I refuse to plant ivy, ice plant and a few other things for that very reason. It's not so much that it attracts snakes, but it attracts rats or mice, which in turn attracts the snakes. Both my dogs are now vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine because of it. It's not cheap, and won't stop your pet from dying, but will give you enough time to get them to a vet for the antidote. Recently I was at Lowe's and saw something that repels snakes, and have been thinking of getting it and using it myself. It was in the section where they have all the summer stuff towards the garden dept and is used to rid snakes off your property. It is is a granular form and has a rattlesnake on the package (ironically even that gives me the chills). You might want to check it out first and save yourself a little trouble by using it to rid yourself of them and maybe can keep the ivy. Here is the link for something online: Some people have written reviews on it and say it's nothing more than kitty litter and mothball crystals mixed together. I suppose you can even try that. But I think on top of it I would also spread some type of repellant to get rid of the mice and rats because that is most likely what they are going after.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 14, 2013
    Jill, I heard about some of the snake repellents and did a Google search and found reviews saying they don't work. I think I'm just going to pull up all the ivy in my yard and spray to kill the ivy next door where the residents do nothing in their yard and won't even know I've sprayed it. When it dies, they'll think it's natural. :-) Then I'll stucco my concrete retaining wall so it won't be ugly.
  • Ann Alba Ann Alba on Jul 14, 2013
    I have Snakes in my Garden our attraction is the Pond the stream & second pond. snakes go for the food source toads frogs birds rodents though I am not so partial to rodents or toads( except when they breed they do am amazing job of cleaning my pond) I do love to see the birds & frogs. I too have Ivy English Ivy when it takes off it is very hard to eliminate Canada has a pesticide & chemical Ban so it is dig & pull to get rid of..... Boston Ivy is more easier to control & grows up fast . A trick my neighbor did was scatter RUBBER snakes around her garden she claimed it kept the snakes away... come Spring she complained that the Voles & Mice destroyed her Lawn so though I don't like Snakes they do keep the Wee beasties from damaging the Lawn & building nest where I can stumble upon them. Ann.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 14, 2013
    I'd forget there were rubber snakes around and would jump 5 ft into the air when I encountered one. :-)
  • Di Anicker Di Anicker on Jul 14, 2013
    Good luck ridding your place of the English ivy. I started removing it on my overgrown property and figure it will take a minimum of 5 years, or longer, of pulling to get rid of them.
  • You cannot kill ivy with spray. Any leaf that is shiny like ivy, periwinkle resists spray unless you want to spend a fortune and douse it ~which is bad for the environment and pets. As for snakes~wear rubber boots, always wear jeans and first walk through the area to stir up any activity. Pulling out ivy is the best solution. I had an area about 100'x50' and as high as 25 feet on the Oaks so ridding your yard of it is not too difficult just time consuming. Ivy "does not play well with others" so if you ever want to plant something flowering and beautiful on your wall, you will have to rip out the ivy. Ivy is invasive in the south and it will take your time to keep it in check. As for your neighbor, ivy attracts mosquitoes, gnats, and pests so I would then come up with some sort of edging to try and keep the ivy in your neighbor's yard. Good luck.
  • Sharry Speaks Closter Sharry Speaks Closter on Jul 14, 2013
    Make sure you get the roots or it will grow right back. If theyr'e anything like Horsetail the roots run under ground, everywhere.
  • Carol Harris Carol Harris on Jul 14, 2013
    I love ivy, but after reading all of this guess I might have to get rid of ours, we only have a corner in our back yard that has it, I put some in a pot and its took over, can't even see the pot anymore, I'll be cutting it all back soon.
  • Gabriel D Gabriel D on Jul 14, 2013
    I had an immense area of ivy in a yard I used to own. I never saw a snake in it even when I finally trimmed and dugup most of the roots. You will find snakes against a hot bacgdrop such as a house wall or a dry grassy area or in the West Pacific near the edgy grasslands along the ocean beaches such as here in Victoria, BC. Spiders are a definite with ivy but I've only found non poisonous species amongst the ivy. As gloves and long sleeves work well when pulling ivy or most any other shrubbery they (spiders) needn't be a concern. I've been a gardener/groundskeeper/ landscaper for over 40 years. Back East in Ontario and here in British Columbia.
  • R.V.R. Farris R.V.R. Farris on Jul 14, 2013
    Several years ago, in a previous house, we had ivy growing up an oak tree right off of our back gate. My husband loved it and I really had no issues with it other than it did seem to harbor the largest roaches I'd ever seen. And at night they visited the carport and all around the kitchen door. That is what I hated. So, one day I decided to spray an entire can of Raid roach spray all around the ivy to kill the roaches. Didn't take long before my husband realized I had also killed the ivy. There was the occasional snake, and even after the ivy was gone, we still had the occasional snake. However, there was a decline in the roach population. Just adding my two cents, in case it helps.
  • Phyllis Phyllis on Jul 17, 2013
    We moved 10 yrs. ago in our home and the timber next to us was full of ivy and it crawled up the trees and killed a lot of them. Also if you let ivy crawl up your house it can actually ruin the mortor in bricks. I was told by an insurance agent if you have ivy on your house they don't insure it! I spent many hours pulling ivy out and did a good job of getting rid of it! You have to watch so when any new shoots come up you can pull them out.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 17, 2013
    I've started posting it on Freecycle and Craigslist for people who want it to come take all they want. One woman came today and got some but I need many more to come grab it. I do have roaches on my deck more than I'd like. Never occurred to me the ivy could create that. All the more reason to eliminate it. I hate roaches almost as much as snakes.