How to Treat Ivy


Ivy is a vine that is either a blessing or curse, depending if you want it on your landscape or not. The green leaves wind themselves up around trees, households, fences and as a groundcover, and are drought- and shade-tolerant. While this can appear aesthetically pleasing and mysterious, ivy (which comes in a range of varieties) spreads so quickly that it can suffocate other landscaping plants, even ones as strong as mature trees, and can spread fire more easily. With adequate tools and a properly executed procedure, you can get rid of ivy from your landscape for good.

Step 1

Pull the ivy vines up from the ground. Although it can look like there are several vines, usually only two to three main vines grow from the root, so locate the root as soon as you can. Once you start to pull up the vines, they will easily pull up although they may be dozens of feet long. Throw out the vines.

Step 2

Eliminate ivy that is growing thickly on large areas of ground by mowing slowly on a low setting.

Step 3

Soak the area that was mowed from ivy with herbicide specific to the variety, found at your local gardening store. After the ivy is dead, rake up or pull with your hands any remaining roots or vines. The ivy is dead when it is dried out and brown, or extremely wilted.

Step 4

Cut away any ivy that is growing and climbing around the tree trunks, or any other structure such as a fence or house. Use pruning shears to cut the vines to about waist height. Use a ladder if necessary for very tall structures.

Step 5

Pull the ivy up from the bottom of the structure after pruning from the roots. Discard the ivy. Minimal vines left up high that stick after the bottoms are ripped off will eventually die, because they don't have a root system.

Step 6

Cover any area where ivy was growing with herbicide, such as the bottom part of a tree, fence or house. This reduces the chances that ivy will regrow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves when handling the vines to avoid possible skin irritation.

Things You'll Need

  • Trash disposal
  • Gardening gloves
  • Herbicide
  • Ladder
  • Rake
  • Pruning shears


  • Walter Reeves: Ivy Control
  • The Ardens: English Ivy
Keywords: eliminating ivy, treating ivy, ivy removal

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.