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How to Permanently Kill Ivy

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ivy vines often climb on other plants or structures.
ivy image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

If it's not controlled and killed, the ivy vine--both true ivy (Hedera spp.) and poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)--can quickly take over your landscape. The vines grow quickly and often smother surrounding shrubs and plants. Homeowners can permanently kill true ivy and poison ivy using both manual control and chemical control. After killing the ivy, stay vigilant. New seeds in the ground can sprout up, and it's much easier to remove seedlings than it is to kill an adult vine.

Put on protective gear. Skin contact with both the poison ivy plant and true ivy can cause an allergic reaction. Wear shoes, pants and a long-sleeved shirt with gloves.

Cut the ivy vine from its base using pruning shears. Unwind the vine itself from its supporting structure, such as a fence or another plant. Discard the vine; do not save it or put it in your compost.

Dig out the ivy's remaining base using a spade. Insert the spade in a circular fashion around the ivy's base to loosen the soil. Grab the base and pull it upwards to uproot it.

Spray the ivy vine with a dicamba or glyphosate herbicide as an alternative to manually removing the plant. This is ideal for those who don't want to expend the physical effort on digging and cutting. Mist the herbicide on all exposed surfaces of the ivy plant. The plant will die within 10 to 14 days. Follow the herbicide's labeled guidelines, since toxicity varies by product and brand.


Things You Will Need

  • Protective gear
  • Pruning shears
  • Spade
  • Dicamba or glyphosate herbicide


  • Never try to remove or kill poison ivy with fire. The smoke carries the plant's poisonous components and, once airborne, can cause a reaction in your lungs or in your eyes.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.