The Q&A Archives: Replacing English Ivy With Perennials

Question: I have fratically been hand pulling up my overgrown ivy garden to replace it with a perennial flower garden. I am feeling a bit discouraged though after reading a few articles in your library. Is it possiible for me to pull up as many roots as possible, lay out either the newspaper/ cardboard/ mulch combo or black plastic and cut out holes of the areas in which I wish to plant my perennials? How long would I have to keep the ground covering down?

Answer: What you propose is a good idea! If you can exclude light, the shoots any remaining ivy roots produce will quickly die. I'd use a combination of newspapers and a spun fabric weed barrier rather than black plastic. This will allow water to penetrate, but not sunlight. I'd leave the weed barrier in place indefinitely (or at least until it weathers away). Eventually you'll get the upper hand over that ivy - don't give up!

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