The Q&A Archives: Getting rid of ivy

Question: Does anyone know how to get rid of english ivy? It has taken over a couple of my flower beds. I have ripped it out but havent been able to completly get rid of some of the roots. I have had Round-Up suggested to me. Does anyone know if this works or know anything that I could try? Also I would like to plant flowers after I rid the beds of the ivy, will it be okay to plant in the beds this year?

Answer: Ivy (Hedera helix) is very difficult to remove. It is deep rooted and tenacious (which is why it is a good ground cover), so pulling it is honestly not enough. You need to grub out the roots and probably also need to follow up with a herbicide containing glyphosate. It may take more than one application to deplete the root reserves. Be sure to carefully read and follow all of the label instructions.

Some gardeners will also smother it out with layers of damp newspaper or cardboard topped by a thick layer of organic mulch. Over time -- months -- the plant dies or is weakened by the lack of light and the mulch breaks down to help improve the soil. If there is live root left, the plant will come back.

You would need to loosen the soil, add organic matter, and possibly add other amendments if indicated by a soil test prior to planting with flowers. Annuals would need the soil prepared to about six inches down, perennials a bit deeper.

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