How can I KILL English ivy and bamboo?

by Victoria
I just moved into a place and the English ivy and bamboo are taking over the whole yard. I have tried digging and pulling but it just seems to think I'm trying to be nice to it. I've tried boiling water, and vinager. I am at a loss as to what if anything will kill this stuff.

  16 answers
  • Kim Kim on Jun 24, 2017

    Both of those are next to impossible to get rid of! I would hire a landscaper to remove it. Every little piece of root has to be removed or more will grow back. :(

  • Deborah Coyner Petch Deborah Coyner Petch on Jun 24, 2017

    I usually try to avoid weed killer, but bamboo is really hard to kill. Chop it down to the ground and apply stump/root killer. If the ivy is in the same area, it will kill it also. if new growth tries to spring up, kill it immediately. It will probably take more than one season to kill it all., but if you stay on top of it, you will be the winner!

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Jun 24, 2017

    Oh Victoria, I could cry for you and all the work ahead! For Bamboo we are looking at about 3 years of diligence AFTER the main bamboo is cut down at ground level, the roots dug out (by machine or by hand, but remember it spreads so concentrate on the clumps and I will tell you about the shoots in a minute. As the stand of bamboo re-emerges (and it will, regularly) you will need to cut it down again as close to the ground as you can get it. The easiest way to do this is with your lawn mower set at its lowest setting (remember though to reset it before cutting your lawn). Some of the rhizomes underground can get as big as your forearm! and it is from those rhizomes that new bamboo shoots will sprout every Spring (and only in Spring, and are called CULMS). Culms will grow to their full height in only 60 days, which is why you must be diligent in knocking them down Wait until they are about 6 to 12 inches tall and then just push them over with your foot and step on them (please be aware that some types of bamboo can grow 4 feet in a day! according to Steve Bender "The Grumpy Gardener" of The DAILY SOUTH Magazine). They won't grow back again once you cut'em down to size ;), in other words, to ground level. IN a few years your bamboo plants will die off due to starvation as long as you make sure you mow down that original stand every time to mow your lawn, and every Spring take down those Culms as they pop up. IF the encroaching Culms / Bamboo is from a neighbor's yard you not only have to be diligent about getting rid of it but you will also have to build a barrier between your yard and theirs made of metal or concrete between 2-3 feet deep and at least 6 inches above ground level! WHAT A PAIN! If you try to make the barrier out of wood, it will get weak and the bamboo runners and rhizomes will push through it. (Heather Rhodes HOW TO KILL BAMBOO PLANTS AND CONTROL BAMBOO SPREAD). Whew! Victoria, good luck with this part of your problem.

    Now on to the English Ivy which will seem like a cake walk compared to bamboo problems. Cut it down to the ground, place vines in a black plastic bag, and throwi n the trash, making sure you've cleaned up AS MUCH of any part of the plant that you can, because cuttings WILL root themselves. Then pour pots of boiling water over the area where they have been cut down --- BIG pots of BOILING (not just hot) water BEING CAREFUL NOT TO SCALD YOURSELF in the process of scalding/cooking/killing the ivy roots. You want to soak the ground with this boiling water, so you might have to make several trips depending on how large the area is that you want to kill off. Do this again the next day also. Then wait a week and do it again. That should about do it, but IF you see ANY growth developing there, cover the area with a thick layer of newsprint (I used 6 sheets thick) and saturate it with water, then cover THAT with some corrugated cardboard slightly larger than the newsprint, and wet it down too. Then weight the edges of the cardboard. All of this insueres no sunlight will get through. Keep the area damp for several weeks, at least (I just let mine stay all summer, then when the winter ice and snow melted and the cardboard and paper dried up after spring rains, I took it all up (what a mess) and haven't had a problem since, and that was 2 years ago.

    OK Victoria, that's the best I can do for you. Good Luck! I hope this part of your dilmma get resolved as well as mine did :) Thanks for coming to Hometalk for help

  • Lynn Goins Lynn Goins on Jun 24, 2017

    As far as the ivy is concerned, you could dig it up and send it to me. I lost about half of mine this past winter. First time ever. I have it growing on a slope and over a concrete retaining wall. Made the wall look 1000 times better! When I was a little girl (about 60 years ago), my grandma had a "wash house" in the back yard close to the back door. It was made of brick and it was covered with ivy. It was so pretty!

  • Vinegar to the rescue. Lots and lots of vinegar. Cut everything as far back as you can. Then drown the area in vinegar. May take more than one application, but it will kill to the roots. Then dig out and dispose. In the fall turn everything over and add in good compost. Re treat any problem areas.

  • Dale Dale on Jun 24, 2017

    The Big Box Home stores sell a product that works on ivy. It is known to landscapers as Oxbow. One landscaper told me to use pure, undiluted glysophate (it has a trade name)on the cut bamboo. It is so tough you have to cut it and apply the weed killer directly to the cut ends. God Luck!

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Jun 24, 2017

    Running bamboo and english ivy both multiply through runners. You will have to use weed killer and cut any new shoots that pop up. This may take a few years. Best of luck to you!

  • Q.k9003237 Q.k9003237 on Jun 24, 2017

    The only thing I found that worked after a summer of diligent reapplication is Crossbow. After pulling most of the ivy i kept a sprayer with Crossbow mixed up and when a shoot reared its ugly head, I gave it a shot. It took all summer, but it is gone. Good luck.

  • Allison Allison on Jun 24, 2017

    If you do not wish use chemicals, is it possible to get it cut to the ground and then cover with clear plastic? (weighted down along all edges) If it's in the sun the plants will bake in 6-8 weeks and no harm to the beneficials in your soil. It might be an eyesore for 2 months, but you won't have to try to rebuild your soil for other plantings.

  • Rorrie Rorrie on Jun 24, 2017

    hi, i am a green person and like to use natural products, but there are times. if you use too much vinegar or salt, it will kill other things, and it will get a buildup and turn your yard into death bed.

    boiling water will also kill other things and if it is the type that comes back boiling water often does not work.

    so, here is what i found works. round up. I will tell you what i used it on. i had a black walnut growing right by my front porch in the middle of my hydrangea. it could not be pulled out. too big and too old. so i got a shower curtain liner. on dry non windy days i would take clothes pins and pin it around the black walnut and over the hydrangea. i would then give the leaves of the black walnut a thorough spray wait for it to dry and then remove the curtain. is it a one time issue? probably not, i had to spray 3- times. then there was no stem or anything. kills to the root. there are several types now, pick the best for you and do that. remember you want to try not spray the yard. someone did that on a house i owned and for years half the yard grew the other died.

    I wont lie it will take time, but not years.

  • Carole Carole on Jun 24, 2017

    I live at the Jersey Shore, NJ and we cut the bamboo down, easier to rent backhoe and dig out the clumps (be careful not to leave the Springer roots which gets mighty mighty big-1/2 Acre of land took us a full summer to get rid of and 6 weeks in the spring and when you pull the roots put Rock salt on top of it)stay on top of it every time you dig out a shoot put Rock salt on top and cover with soil. Ivy I use Ground Clear from Ortho two separate applications and you should be good, don't plant in the area for 1 year.

  • Patricia Patricia on Jun 24, 2017

    You have two vigorous invaders, sadly you might need some professional help selecting the most appropriate herbivore

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jun 14, 2023

    Well, our lazy neighbor has a bunch of bamboo in her back yard and it spread to ours, now I have the battle of the bamboo, so highly invasive. I have cut it off with an axe and poured bleach in the stumps, so far it kills the stalk but, too late, it has spread. You have to keep tackling it as it occurs, unless you are successful in digging it out.

    For the ivy, pull it out, it is easier after it rains. It might start to grow again if you attempt to compost, throw it in a trash bag,

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 16, 2023

    Apply glyphosate herbicide to the stems and leaves of the bamboo. Herbicides that contain the ingredient glyphosate are the most effective at killing bamboo.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jul 03, 2023

    And mix and spray vinegar to kill the Ivy but ivy has a waxy coating on the leaves so be prepared to apply several applications.

  • You need to dig up the roots.