The Q&A Archives: Killing Ivy

Question: I have planted an organic vegetable garden and now I've got tons of ivy growing all around. I want to kill it without using pesticides. Whant can I do? Is there a

Answer: It is safer to use a strong herbicide to control a vigorous weed such as ivy than to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Mix a small amount of glyphosate herbicide according to label directions, and use a paintbrush to "paint" weed leaves on a warm day when rain is not expected for at least 48 hours. Be careful, because spills and splatters also will injure or kill other plants.

There are several herbicides made from natural ingredients. Those that contain clove oil (eugenol) give the best control of young broadleaf weeds. Products containing acetic acid, often in combination with citric acid, do a good job on young grasses. Some products contain both clove oil and acetic acid, so they are useful for a broad variety of weeds. Soap-based herbicides dehydrate leaves by cutting through their protective layer of cutin. All of these types of organic herbicides work best on young weeds because they pose only a temporary setback to well-rooted perennial weeds such as ivy.

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