The most efficient way to kill ivy growing on the side of a house?
December 2, 2013 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Hello, I've got a mass of ivy leaves growing along the side of my house, digging its way into the brick and poking through windows at some points. The ivy is growing from a "bed" with a couple of other plants (my terminology may be off, I'm not much of the gardening type). I want this ivy to die. The other plants that are growing near it are acceptable collateral damage. What I'm looking for is basically the chemical equivalent of a flamethrower. I'd like to buy something I can dump all over the roots and then come back a few days later to find all of the ivy growing on the side of my house dead.
posted by mrplaid to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
RoundUp, spray the foliage early in the day, repeat until death.
posted by hortense at 2:58 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

RoundUp, indeed. Try to do it on a day that's not too windy.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:01 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Rip it out. Pull it into a log. Paint undiluted RoundUp on the roots, or try cutting and putting the stems in little bottles of RoundUp held on with tape or elastic bands.

Expect to get rid of 90% the first time you do it. Come back next year and take out 90% of what's left. And so on.
posted by holgate at 3:04 PM on December 2, 2013

Roundup killed almost all the bindweed that drove me nuts, and that stuff is hard to kill. If you confine the spray to the ivy and not the other plants, then the other plants should live. I didn't see much collateral damage in my back garden and I mixed it extra strong.
posted by K.P. at 3:04 PM on December 2, 2013

Round-up is more effective on ivy if you sprak after rain and spray onto the underside of leaves (ivy leaves are very waxy, but the stomata open up after rain which lets the round up in).
posted by girlgenius at 3:34 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

You are going to have to remove it manually, ivy is tough. That or hire goats and scaffolding. And I am not sure even goats will keep ahead of ivy. My mom and I managed to kill off a bunch with relentless manual removal over about a summer but it was relentless and tough. We now use crossbow (which is 2-4D, not glysophate(roundup) on it and it does really kill it. However 2-4D is not as benign as roundup and you need to be a little careful with it. And it only really works after you break up the ivy with manual removal first.
posted by bartonlong at 3:44 PM on December 2, 2013

RoundUp or something similar, but you're going to have to physically remove the vines on the wall first. You were going to have to do it anyway, so that's not really a problem.
posted by valkyryn at 4:16 PM on December 2, 2013

I've been successful in getting rid of English Ivy on my house but it takes a few years of work. The first year we cut the trunk of the ivy, coating the cutting blade with glyphosate (RoundUp) at a 25% solution when cutting (I find this is more effective than painting the concentrate on after cutting). We then removed all the ivy from the side of the house manually.

Any new growth was sprayed with 3% glyphosate solution when 3 to 5 new leaves appeared. Older growth gets the waxy coating and the herbicide isn't as effective. After the third year, the ivy gave up.

Scotts does make Roundup Poison Ivy Plus that has some triclopyr mixed with the glyphosate, which is an herbicide that can be absorbed through the waxy coating. I've not tried it on English Ivy, but the Scotts web site says it will work.
posted by bCat at 5:22 PM on December 2, 2013

YEah, bCat beat me to it - cut the trunk, apply RoundUp (glyphosate) to the stump.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 6:24 PM on December 2, 2013

Timing is critical when trying to control English Ivy.

More details from a different site (I can't provide the link as it has gone stale):

"Treatments in the spring when plants had 2 to 4 newly expanded leaves provided the greatest control. Delaying treatment by only 6 weeks resulted in dramatically reduced control. . . . treatment with 2% by volume Roundup, in the spring when plants had 2 to 4 leaves, followed by another application about 6 weeks later (to re-growth) maximized control."

I sprayed new leaves and painted cut stumps last spring and got lots of dead ivy, though there's been some resprouting so I'll have to go at it again this spring. (Thanks, bCat, for the "coating the cutting blade" tip!)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:56 AM on December 3, 2013

The chemical equivalent of a flamethrower is not really necessary. Simply pulling it up will get you most the results you're looking for. You'll need do it now and again in the Spring, and probably again the following Fall and Spring. It will be a little more work than chemical treatment, but not really all that much more, because 1) you skip the (messy, expensive) step of applying the chemical; 2) the treatment will need to be repeated whether you use chemical or your hands; 3) assuming you don't want dead plants clinging to your wall, you'll need to remove the material anyway.

English Ivy roots come out of ground pretty easy. Start at the bottom where the wall meets the ground, find a place where you can get your fingers under the vine and pull firmly but without a sudden yank. With some practice, you'll be able to pull long lengths of vine without breaking them too often. Once each vine on the wall has been severed, focus on removing as much root from the ground as possible and leave anything clinging to wall for at least a few days. (It will be easier to remove the plant from the brick once it's dried a bit.) You'll need naked fingers for some of the finer work at the beginning, but wear gloves as much as you can and wash your hands well afterwards. (I get a minor rash when handling *lots* of ivy barehanded.)

Get as much root as you can from the bed, but don't try to get it all as that's not really possible. Then line the bed with a layer of cardboard and mulch. After the ivy starts sprouting next Spring, repeat. (Let the sprouts get several inches long first, so you can get a good grip on them.) After 4 or 5 such treatments (a couple of hours each time, spaced 1/2 year apart, not so much work really), the ivy should be pretty much gone. (Regarding the cardboard, make sure it's clean and brown. No tape, no boxes with fancy graphics. Run the cardboard up the side of the wall an inch or two, but keep the mulch ~6 inches from the wall.)

(Ideally, you would encourage something else to grow in it's place, whether your primary weapon is round-up or your hands. This doesn't mean 'gardening' necessarily, but using other plants to help you fight the ivy by crowding it out. It could be a simple as throwing down some clover or grass seed on top of the mulch and letting nature take it's course.)
posted by 0 at 8:11 AM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

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