Removing Ivy

Posted on by Urban Eden

Hedera helix, more commonly referred to as English ivy, is a fast-growing, invasive plant that was brought to the US from Europe for decorative purposes many years ago.  Today, English ivy is especially abundant in the Camas, Vancouver, and Washougal, Washington areas. English ivy is so invasive and destructive that Oregon has actually banned the distribution of the plant. This article will discuss ivy and how to go about removing it.

Ivy Invasion

As stated above, ivy is an invasive or noxious plant that can quickly out-compete other plants. Ivy often grows rapidly, blocking sunlight from nearby plants or encasing them all together in viny coffins. Ivy can consume bushes, shrubs, and even entire trees, weighing them down and increasing the likelihood of damage to the tree and those around it.

Not only does ivy, essentially, strangle other plants and block sunlight, ivy, itself, does not require a lot of sunlight. Therefore, ivy will grow just about anywhere and everywhere, further increasing the difficulty of removing it fully and properly.

Ivy spreads rapidly, expanding outward with creeping vines, to cover anything in its path. If left to grow unabated, ivy begins to form its own branches and berries. These berries can further exacerbate the spread of this invasive plant by being scattered great distances by wind or birds.

Eradicating Ivy

How you go about eliminating ivy from your property will depend on how far along the ivy has spread.

Ground Cover

If ivy is not too far along, and still remains growing as a simple ground cover, not having had climbed any trees or bushes, you can simply pull up the ivy by the roots. If the ground cover ivy is too dense, you can mow over it or use a string trimmer to knock it down; follow this up with digging out the roots. If any part of the plant or the roots is overlooked and left behind, it can quickly spread out again. Therefore, it is important to be meticulous in removing every part of the plant.

Growing Up Trees and Bushes

If the ivy has been allowed to grow past this ground cover stage, it will quickly begin to climb over nearby trees and bushes. To deal with ivy that has reached this stage, you will need to cut the ivy at the base, pulling as much of the ivy from the trees and bushes as possible. Please note: it may be impossible to fully remove the vines from every branch on tall trees. However, once the ivy has been severed at the root, the vines left in trees will not continue to grow and will begin to die. Once they have fully dried and hardened, they will eventually blow out of the tree by the wind. Once the ivy has been detached from the root and as much as possible has been removed from the trees or bushes, you will need to dig up and remove as much of the root as possible. Ensure you are as meticulous as possible in your efforts as the plant will quickly regrow.

To ensure that any roots left behind do not continue to spread, it is advised to lay down a thick layer of mulch. Mulch blocks air and sunlight from reaching the plant and will aid in its complete eradication. Keep a close eye on any regrowth of the ivy plant, pulling it up as soon as it is noticed.

Much like bamboo and blackberry, completely removing English ivy is a difficult task. Urban Eden Landscaping has years of experience and all the appropriate tools required to remove ivy. If you are in need of assistance, give us a call today at (360)567-6399, contact us here, or fill out our FREE estimate request form online.

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