How to Get Rid of English Ivy

Overview

English Ivy, also called Hedera helix, is an evergreen vine with dark green, waxy alternating leaves. It grows both as a ground cover and a climbing vine. Once established it grows vigorously, overtaking any plants or buildings in its path, potentially destroying them as it goes. Older or established English ivy vines are nearly impossible to remove, but with a combination of manual and chemical control methods you can rid yourself of this invasive plant.

Step 1

Put on protecting clothing and gloves before working with the English ivy. The sap from the vines may irritate the skin if you make contact.

Step 2

Start eradication in the winter when there are no bees, snakes or other critters hiding in the ivy. Pull out small English ivy plants from the ground if possible. For larger infestations, trace the vines back to the central nodes from which they radiate. Clip the vines at the nodes with pruning shears and carefully detach them from walls or plants.

Step 3

Place the vines in a heavy-duty trash bag. Rake up any remaining vine remnants and place these in the bag as well. Throw the trash bag away to prevent any more spread.

Step 4

Wait until the English ivy begins to grow again in the spring. Apply an herbicide with glyphosate or triclopyr to kill the ivy. For best results, wait until the temperature is above 55 degrees F and there is no rain in the forecast for 24 hours. Follow the directions on the package for application and safety instructions.

Step 5

Re-apply the herbicides if the ivy starts to grow back. The extreme aggressiveness of this plant makes it likely that you will need to perform multiple applications to eradicate it.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Heavy-duty trash bags
  • Herbicide

References

  • King County Noxious Weed Control Program: English Ivy
  • PCA Alien Plant Working Group: English Ivy
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Going Native: English Ivy

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University Extension: English Ivy is an Invasive Weed in Pacific Northwest
Keywords: chemical ivy control, manual ivy control, english ivy control, invasive english ivy

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.