Boston ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, is the ivy of the Ivy League. It effectively and attractively covers masonry with its rich green foliage. Unfortunately, Boston ivy can sometimes get out of control. If not trimmed regularly, it can work its way into woodwork and under siding and roof shingles. The best way to get rid of Boston ivy quickly and permanently is to use a combination of cutting and chemical control. Start this project in spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing.
Cut the vines at ground level with hand pruners or lopping shears.
Cut the runners from the base of the plant with the pruners or shears and dig up any that have rooted, using a shovel.
Apply liquid glyphosate weed killer to the cut ends according to label directions. Glyphosate helps weaken the root system as soon as it is applied.
Apply the weed killer to new leaves as they appear during the growing season. Repeat each time the plant rebounds and puts forth new growth to further weaken the root system. It might take a whole season for the plant to completely die.
Dig up the stumps with the shovel after they have died and stopped putting out new growth. They will be easier to dig up if you wait until the following spring after the roots have weakened from rot.
Things You Will Need
- Hand pruners
- Lopping shears
- Liquid glyphosate weed killer
- If Boston ivy covers the house, it is better to let the cut vines die before gently pulling them off the walls. The pads of Boston ivy are strong and pulling on freshly cut vines can damage masonry and woodwork.
- Don't compost Boston ivy because live vines can take root and dead vines might have seeds that can germinate. Discard by burning or bagging and throwing them away.
- For an organic, chemical-free eradication, skip the glyphosate. Dig up the stumps right away and be vigilant about digging up shoots that appear in the future. It takes longer to kill Boston ivy this way, but the roots will eventually die if deprived of leaves to photosynthesize.