A non-native, invasive, aggressive, near-evergreen vine without a natural control mechanism--that's how some gardeners describe English ivy. Yet, others strive to grow English ivy as an addition to landscapes, ground cover, and in other areas around the home and garden as an enhancement. But for those in the first group, the most effective and quickest way to kill English ivy is the only topic of interest when speaking of it.
Eradicate ground cover by mechanical means when at all possible. Mow the area as close to the ground as necessary, to eliminate the leafy cover, and expose the vines' origins to be rooted up. If ground vines are too numerous or hard to pull up, paint the ends with glyphosate to kill the vine and the roots.
Remove English ivy manually from fences and from around trees by hand, by ripping it loose and pulling it away. Pull the vines and roots up from the ground, where they originate. Cut those vines that may be too large to remove by hand, as close to the ground as possible, and paint the cut ends with glyphosate.
Cut very large English ivy vines with an electric saw when they have become too large to completely remove by hand. When vines are growing around a tree or some other structure, cut the vines at waist level, making sure to get all vines found climbing the structure. Cut a second swath about 12 inches above the first, and remove cut pieces to create a 1-foot gap between the two halves. Paint or spray the bottom portion of the newly exposed wood with glyphosate to kill it off. Larger vines and areas may require a second glyphosate treatment in a week or two.