How To Remove Ground Cover Ivy – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you tired of battling the invasive and stubborn ground cover ivy in your yard?

Whether you’re dealing with a small patch or a thick mat of vines, removing ground cover ivy can be a daunting task.

But fear not, we’ve gathered some tips and tricks to help you successfully remove ground cover ivy from your yard.

From hand-pulling to using herbicides, we’ll cover various methods to help you get rid of this pesky plant.

So grab your gardening gloves and let’s get started!

How To Remove Ground Cover Ivy

Method 1: Hand-Pulling

One of the most effective ways to remove ground cover ivy is by hand-pulling. With a pair of thick gardening gloves, pull out any ivy, making sure to remove all of the roots. A trowel can be used over hand-pulling to help with any stubborn roots.

After a week or so, the ivy should start to die and will loosen its grip on the ground. Use a garden rake to remove the ivy strands from the ground. If any roots resist raking, use a hoe to dig the roots out. This process will be much easier after a rainy day as the ground will be softer.

Method 2: Herbicides

Before using herbicides, it’s important to prep your yard thoroughly and extensively. Ivy plants are resistant to herbicides and other topical chemicals due to the wax on their leaves. To make it vulnerable to herbicides, you’ll need to find a way to cut open and expose the leaves.

The simplest way to do this is with a simple push mower. However, if there are any rocks or thick roots under the leaves, they could damage your mower. Also, the mower will only shred the leaves, leaving the roots and vines still attached.

The best method to get the ivy prepared for chemicals can be a little time-consuming, but it will hopefully only need to be done once. Begin by using a brush cutter or any other heavy-duty garden cutter to cut the leaves off and uproot them from the earth. Work in 2 feet sections to be most effective, and just cut straight through the root. Then, roll it up like a rug, making sure the roots come up with it.

After prepping the ivy for herbicides, spray it with an herbicide of your choice. Repeat this process every few weeks until the ivy is defeated for good.

Method 3: Cutting and Pulling

If you’re dealing with a large amount of thick ivy, hand-pulling may not be the most efficient method. In this case, cutting and pulling may be a better option.

Start by finding and marking all the plant’s base roots. Leave around 1-2 feet worth of ivy coming from the main roots untreated for later. Start cutting the ivy in patterns, simultaneously pulling out each section. Pile up everything you’ve cut to dispose of it after the chemical treatment.

Spray the freshly cut vines and remaining leaves (from Step 2) with a weed killer of your choice. Repeat this process every few weeks until the ivy is defeated for good.

Understanding Ground Cover Ivy

Ground cover ivy, such as English ivy, is a popular choice for gardeners due to its ability to tolerate poor soil and grow in shady areas. However, it can quickly become invasive and difficult to remove if not properly managed. Understanding the characteristics of ground cover ivy can help prevent it from becoming a problem in your yard.

One of the main characteristics of ground cover ivy is its ability to spread quickly and cover large areas. This makes it an effective ground cover, but also means that it can easily take over other plants and become difficult to remove. Additionally, ground cover ivy has strong roots that can attach themselves to trees, walls, and other structures, causing damage over time.

To prevent ground cover ivy from becoming invasive, it’s important to regularly prune and trim it back. This will help control its growth and prevent it from spreading too far. Additionally, planting ivy near structures that you don’t mind it climbing on, such as trellises or fences, can also help keep it contained.

If you need to remove ground cover ivy from your yard, there are several methods you can use. Hand-pulling is effective for small areas, while herbicides can be used for larger areas. It’s important to properly prep the ivy before using herbicides by cutting off leaves and uprooting the plant. Cutting and pulling may also be necessary for thick ivy growth.

Hand-Pulling Ground Cover Ivy

Hand-pulling is a great way to control ground cover ivy in your garden areas. Persistence is key when it comes to effective control of ground cover ivy. Repeatedly pulling and digging the ivy and removing all plant debris from the garden area is crucial to prevent it from rooting again. It’s important to remove every part of the plant – leaves, stems, and roots.

To hand-pull ground cover ivy, you only need gloves and a hand rake for hard soil. Tenacity will be your greatest tool. Most ground covers, including English ivy and periwinkle, spread by stolons or rhizomes that root down as the plant spreads. This means that it’s imperative not only to pull the plant’s roots up but also to follow each runner and keep pulling. Removing vines by hand is a tedious task, but it’s the most effective way that I’ve found, and the victory of bare soil is worth the effort.

Once you’ve got your pile of evicted roots and runners, be sure to throw the debris away in a garbage bin. These plants can and will regrow from just about nothing, and you don’t want to leave a nasty surprise for yourself in spring. Even after the most thorough sweep, you’ll inevitably see new growth in your reclaimed area. Pull it up as soon as you spot it.

It’s important to note that before carrying out any treatment program, you must first make sure you are dealing with ground cover ivy and not some other weed. Misidentification can lead to using the wrong treatment methods, which can be a waste of your time and money.

Ground cover ivy can be easily identified by its rounded leaves with scalloped edges that grow further away from the stem with petioles or leafstalks. These leaves can also grow to be 0.4 to 1.2 inches in length. Ground cover ivy can sprout out small purple flowers on the plant. When ground cover ivy grows vertically, the stem can be seen as square, which is a common trait seen in the mint family of plants. If crushed, ground cover ivy will release a fragrant scent. It is basically a vine that grows low to the ground and will create a matted carpet on a lawn under the right conditions. The vines have nodes at each of the places where leaves grow, and these nodes will form roots if they come in contact with the soil. This makes ground cover ivy especially hard to control via hand-pulling as every rooted node will form a new plant into the soil.

Using Herbicides To Remove Ground Cover Ivy

If hand-pulling or cutting and pulling isn’t practical for your situation, herbicides can be an effective solution to remove ground cover ivy. However, it’s important to choose the right herbicide and apply it properly.

Glyphosate, imazapyr, triclopyr or a combination of these chemicals are effective options for removing ivy roots. Ortho GroundClear Vegetation Killer is a popular choice that works well for this purpose. If you prefer a more natural approach, vinegar can be used as a substitute.

Before applying the herbicide, make sure to thoroughly cover the entire area where the ivy has been removed with the liquid. If you’re working on a tree, also cover the bottom foot or so of the vines remaining on the tree. Keep in mind that herbicide alone may not be enough to kill ivy as the wax on its leaves can block the chemical from properly attacking the root system. Therefore, it’s recommended to apply the deterrent soon after removing ivy from a tree or ground.

It’s crucial to ensure that the entirety of the root system has been dug up before proceeding with herbicide application. Even a small portion of the root left behind can cause regrowth and render all your hard work pointless. Also, immediately dispose of the ripped-up ivy so it doesn’t reroot.

When choosing an herbicide, look for ones with glyphosate, imazapyr, triclopyr or all three. If you prefer a more natural approach, vinegar can be used in large amounts as a substitute. Apply the herbicide by spraying or thoroughly covering the affected area. Keep pets and children away from the patch during application.

Monitor your yard and closely examine it for any new ivy roots after a couple of weeks. If you find any, uproot them and reapply your herbicide of choice. Depending on the amount of ivy in your yard, this may be a multi-year battle. But each year, the amount of ivy will be less and less.

To make the herbicide application more effective, cut and spray the ivy on a sunny day. Choose a day with no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours. Follow up within a few weeks with raking to remove any remaining roots. Rake on a day after it’s rained as the ground will be much softer. Pull out any small ivy shoots immediately before they start to spread next season.

Preventing Ground Cover Ivy From Re-Growing

After successfully removing ground cover ivy, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from re-growing. Here are some methods to consider:

1. Cover the Area: Cover the area with overlapping pieces of cardboard or jute netting. This can help block any roots from sprouting up as the cardboard decomposes. Cover the area with weed barrier landscape fabric as well. Use landscape staples to secure these layers as needed.

2. Regular Maintenance: Keep the area well-maintained by pulling out any new growth that appears before it has a chance to take hold. This will help prevent the ivy from regaining a foothold in the area.

3. Herbicides: Consider using herbicides on any new growth that appears. This will help keep the ivy under control and prevent it from spreading.

4. Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect the area for any signs of new growth, and take action immediately if any is found. The earlier you catch and deal with new growth, the easier it will be to keep the ivy under control.

By taking these steps, you can help prevent ground cover ivy from re-growing and ensure that your yard remains free of this invasive plant.

Alternative Ground Covers To Consider

If you’re removing ground cover ivy from your yard, it’s important to replace it with a more friendly alternative. Here are some options to consider:

1. Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) – This plant produces beautiful blue flowers in the spring and is a great option for shady areas.

2. Tussock Sedge (Carex stricta) – This grass-like plant is perfect for wet areas and can withstand foot traffic.

3. Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) – If you’re looking for a vine, Virginia Creeper is a great option. It has beautiful fall colors and can grow in full sun or shade.

4. Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) – Another vine option, Trumpet Creeper produces trumpet-shaped flowers in the summer and attracts hummingbirds.

By replacing your ground cover ivy with one of these alternatives, you’ll be helping to protect your yard and the environment from invasive species.

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