The Q&A Archives: Getting Rid of Ivy

Question: I have Ivy growing up the side of my house covering the windows and all the way up to the gutters. I cut the ivy at the base of the house and pulled as much of the roots as I could letting what was attached to the house to dry out. But it has starting growing out of the ground again. What can I use to get rid of it for good? I would like to put some land scaping rocks down since there only about three feet of space along this side of the house. Could someone please advise what would be the best product to use.

Answer: New ivy plants can sprout from even the smallest piece of root, so although you attempted to get all the roots out, apparently some remained. The roots have some stored energy and you can starve them out by cutting down every single sprout, as soon as it emerges and before it develops leaves. The more sprouts the roots have to develop, the more energy they use. As long as that spent energy isn't replenished through photosynthesis, the roots will eventually run out of energy and die out. Don't let any leaves develop and you'll hurry the process along. Another way to discourage the ivy is to lay a deep mulch over the bare soil. 4-5 layers of newspaper or weed barrier placed in the bed and then covered with the landscape rock should keep the ivy from sprouting. If you don't plan to plant anything in the bed for a while, you can use a vegetation killer (check your local garden center for products registered for use against ivy). Use the herbicide, cover the soil with newspapers or weed barrier, then put down your landscaping rocks. Best wishes with your landscape!

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