The English ivy is to many people, a marvel and beauty of nature. It climbs and creeps on its surroundings, and given a good base; it can go as high as 30 meters, displaying its lush splendour. Yes, it’s somehow cute, but it can sometimes be invasive on our property, climbing and covering every structure.
It’s not everyone one of us that wants our home to have that look of an ancient castle. But that’s not all there is. If left unattended, the plant can cause damage to the structures. It can also lead to an allergic reaction on the skin.
Are there Other Reasons to Remove Ivy?
Other reasons to evict the evergreen perennial climber include the menace it causes our trees and beautiful flowers. You see, other plants do not fancy having a climber intruding and as a result, cannot thrive. The English ivy robs them of water and essential nutrients, climbing up to also steal their access to sunlight.
The mass and weight of the ivy can cause the trees to fall over, becoming a safety risk. The creeping vine can also block gutters and piping, requiring an extra expense to get a repairman.
The ivy provides an excellent shelter to pests and rodents. Their berries also attract insects, bats, rats and wasps. It’s not that bad for the ecosystem, but no one wants their backyard to be a little wildlife sanctuary. And if you have kids around, the English ivy is not the best to have around, given their curiosity. The children can eat it and as a result, cause vomiting.
The Ivy Control Methods
Removing the ivy doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a few eco-friendly and nontoxic methods you can utilise to kill the intrusive plant. Well, the first one is using your regular vinegar we have lost count of the many uses associated with good old vinegar.
All you need is spray the ivy with a mixture of water and 20% vinegar. Do it thoroughly and be careful not to spray other plants in the process. The solution can kill the surrounding plants as well if you are not careful.
Give the vinegar a few days to do its thing and move in to inspect the damage. Pull out the dead ivy and discard it as is necessary.
Another excellent ivy killing idea is sheet mulching. For this method, you will need grass, old newspapers, leaves or clothing. Anything biodegradable is ideal. The idea here is to cover the ivy and suffocate it in the process. And since you are using biodegradable materials, you will not need to remove them. They will decompose with time.
You can also use salt, yes salt, to kill ivy. Using the garden clippers, make a fresh cut on the vine and use the duct tape to form something like a cup on the cut. You then put some salt on the cup wound and pour some water on it. Eventually, the salt will kill the plant by messing with its vascular system.
Whatever home remedy you choose, patience is key. It may take several treatments and removal to get rid of it entirely, but it’s all worth it in the end.
For some of us that want a quick and easy way of killing ivy, chemicals such as glyphosate weed killer are ideal. To get started, locate the base of the climber, and cut it in patterns. You will have to work your way from the ground up, pruning the vines in the process. And depending on how up it is, it can be some real work. Pile the cut vines and treat them with the weed killer, before moving on to the freshly cut vines. Repeat the process every few weeks.
For the wall climbing ivy, treat its roots with glyphosate to kill it and prevent regrowth. You will also need to dig and pull it out in areas where you cannot safely use the weed killer. Areas where there are also other plants such as in the flowerbed. If you are not using a chemical killer, then make sure you pull out all the roots. Ivy is a resilient plant and can regrow from a single remaining root.
Well, what makes glyphosate so effective on the English ivy is that it quickly penetrates the climber’s stubborn leaves, making its way to the vascular system. The process may take weeks, but it eventually kills the ivy.
However, the chemical is indiscriminate in its killing mission, and so you will need to be extra careful with the plants you need to preserve. You don’t want your flowers to die along with the ivy.
Disposing of the Cut Ivy
One way or another, you will be left with a pile of cut ivy. Some people suggest composting the vines, but it’s not a great thing to do because of two reasons. First, glyphosate treated material may pass on the chemical to other plants killing them also in the process. Secondly, the cut ivy many have active seeds, and you may end up transferring the problem somewhere else.
Well, you can dispose the vines in the standard trash pickup, but that will still amount to transferring the problem to someone else. The only real solution is burning them. However, make sure that the weed killer used does not produce some noxious fumes when burning.
How to Prevent Ivy
As they call it nipping the bud to prevent a problem, you can prevent the English ivy from developing within your property at its initial growth stages. Among the simple ways include uprooting and digging it out in the early stages – this should be simple to achieve.
And if you are landscaping and you love the ivy, with all its flaws, you’ll need to take good care of it. Trimming it adequately from time to time will prevent overgrowth and instances where it becomes a problem.
You can as well plant it in a basket or pot to contain it and enjoy its appeal at the same time. And when it comes to disposal, burn it.