The Q&A Archives: Terminating Ivy

Question: We have a prevalent problem with ivy. We just purchased our first home and it is overgrown with ivy. It will take forever to cut it out, so we are hoping for a chemical solution to get rid of it. However, we want to plant grass after we get rid of the ivy. What do you suggest?

Answer: Well established ivy (Hedera helix) can be difficult to eradicate. You can smother it over time using newspaper or cardboard topped with a thick layer of mulch, or you can kill it with glyphosate. This is a nonselective herbicide so you need to apply it carefully; you should also be aware that it can take some time for the chemical to translocate to the roots so be patient and be very sure to follow the label instructions.

You might also want to consider the fact that often ivy is planted as a ground cover in areas where grass is difficult to grow (eg. too shady, poor soil, too steep to mow), so be very sure you really want to get rid of it.

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