Ivy is a symbol of fidelity, and it’s easy to see why! Its strong, rapid growth means it can completely overtake and damage walls and other structures. It’s not easy to get rid of but there are foolproof, natural methods and tools to help sort out this tough climbing plant.
Understand the damage it can cause
Ivy can be a major asset in the yard, provided it’s kept under control. Otherwise, it can stifle some plants and stop others from growing as its foliage is toxic. It can also damage walls (such as pulling off the coating or leaving marks that are very difficult to remove) and encourage pests on a balcony or terrace. Worse still, it’s not uncommon for it to attack masonry or lift roof tiles as it creeps along the outside of the house.
Weaken and cut the ivy
To combat the ivy, start by moistening it with a hose. Softening the branches, trunks and roots makes it easier to remove from whatever it’s attached itself to. With secateurs, long-handled shears or a hatchet (depending on how thick it is), cut the main branch at the base, as close as possible to the earth. Then gently remove the ivy (to avoid damaging what it’s attached to), starting at the top where the stems offer less resistance. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from insects hidden under the foliage. Finally, gently brush the wall with a wire brush to remove the last suction cups.
Remove the roots and cut down any regrowth
If you just remove the surface ivy, it will come back with a vengeance. You have to remove the deep roots too. To do this, use a shovel (or a pick if the soil is too hard) to dig all around the root of the plant and then rip it up by hand. Still getting regrowth after a few weeks? Keep a close eye on it and cut it down at the base as soon as any new growth appears. Be sure to dispose of it properly as its berries and leaves are poisonous.
Use natural methods
There are well-established and proven methods for getting rid of ivy!
You can kill off creeping ivy by dousing it with boiling water—possibly with a little bleach added—or using concentrated limewater. This treatment will need to be repeated several days apart.
You can also cover the roots with several kilos of coarse sea salt. To prevent the ivy coming back, you can spray a natural weed killer on the wall after cleaning.
You can make a natural weed killer yourself with water, iodized salt and white vinegar.