The Q&A Archives: Getting Rid of Ivy

Question: Does anyone know an easy way to get rid of Ivy? It seems to be everywhere in my yard and pulling it up by hand will take FOREVER. I've been told that mowing it only makes it worse. Any ideas?

Answer: Unfortunately ivy (Hedera helix) is an extremely aggressive, long lived and deep rooted plant so it can be difficult to remove. That is also why it is often used as a ground cover in difficult locations -- it is a low maintenance "survivor" type of plant. So before you do try to remove it I would suggest you consider why it was originally planted and what you would replace it with. I mention this because slopes, shady areas and some other spots can be difficult to garden in or grow lawn grasses, hence the ground cover may have been originally planted to solve that kind of problem. If you are sure you want to remove it, you can try digging it out by the roots, then treat the regrowth with an herbicide containing glyphosate. Be sure to carefully read and follow the label directions and plan on repeat applications as needed until the root reserves are exhausted and it is eradicated. Your local county extension may also have suggestions as to how to get rid of it and should be able to help you plant your next move as far as replacing it. Good luck with your project.

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