When you think of English ivy, you may think of ivy covered cottages or large brick estates in England. English ivy grows well not only on walls, but also up trees and along the ground. It can become quite invasive, taking over yards, structures and gardens, using up valuable space and valuable nutrients. English ivy is sometimes difficult to control and digging it up completely is physically challenging and often ineffective. Fortunately, with the right timing, method and persistence, you can kill English ivy, roots and all, quite effectively.
Cut down English ivy in the early spring. Pull it off any structures it is growing on and use handheld clippers to clip the ivy at the base, about an inch or two from the ground. You can also mow English ivy that is growing as a ground cover. First mow it on the highest setting and then go over the area again with the lowest setting.
Spray the remaining foliage and stumps with an herbicide that contains triclopyr, such as Brush Killer or Ortho Brush B Gon. You can also use an herbicide with glyphosate, such as Roundup, but it should a 50 percent glyphosate solution.
Reapply the herbicide to any new growth the following spring. As much as 10 percent of the English ivy may still live and if you don’t treat it, in several years the ivy will grow back and be as full as ever. With effective herbicide applications, the English ivy roots will starve and die within two to three years.