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How to Kill Ivy in Your Flower Beds

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ivy can creep where it is unwanted when left untended.
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The ease and care of ivy, and its ability to fill spaces and climb up walls and fences makes it a desirable plant among many gardeners. Whether it is English ivy (Hedra helix), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 11, ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, or another type, if left uncontrolled ivy can invade areas where it is not wanted, such as flower beds. To kill the ivy creeping into your flower bed, select the eradication method that best fits your situation.

Moisten the flower bed with 1 inch of water. Pull and dig up the ivy the next day, ensuring that you remove and discard all the plant parts. Any ivy pieces left behind can take root and grow again. Loosen the soil using a mattock, if desired, but remove all the chopped roots. If the ivy returns, persistently dig or pull it out so it does not come back in full vigor.

Trim the ivy 2 or 3 inches above the ground with a weed trimmer or pair of pruning shears in fall. Paint the cut stems immediately with an herbicide that contains 41 percent glyphosate, or a brush killer that contains triclopyr, using a paint brush. If new growth occurs, wait until it is at least 6 inches long, then spray the foliage until it is moist with a ready-to-use (RTU) glyphosate product.

Spray a ready-to-use herbicide that contains 2,4-D and MCPP or glyphosate to moisten the foliage in spring when the vine is growing actively, or when it is in bloom, depending on the plant. Reapply the product in fall in a similar manner, and again the following spring, if necessary. You can also use a natural product that contains pelargonic acid or vinegar in the same manner if desired, but it likely will need more reapplications for the ivy to be eradicated from the flower bed.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose
  • Spade
  • Mattock
  • Weed trimmer or pruning shears
  • Herbicide
  • Paint brush
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Cardboard


  • Wear gloves and protective clothing when working with herbicides, and apply on a dry, calm day. Protect the flowers in your garden by using large pieces of cardboard to block any overdraft when spraying, especially when using glyphosate.


  • Avoid products with dicamba if shrubs and trees grow near the flower bed.

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.