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How to Keep Ivy From Spreading

Updated February 21, 2017

Introduced by European settlers, English ivy (Hedera helix) is now considered invasive on both the Atlantic and Pacific coastal areas of the United States. In many cases, the best treatment that can be done is to contain and prevent it from escaping from cultivated yards and gardens. Because all ivy vines have similar growth habits, you can apply English ivy removal steps to eradicating other types of ivy as well.

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  1. Install a physical barrier around the planting area. Use sheet aluminium or galvanised steel. Bury it so it extends at least 12 to 18 inches down from the surface of the soil to block the roots from travelling outside of the growing bed.

  2. Remove any vines that grow onto trees promptly. Cut the vine off near ground level. In a few days, the top growth will die back and can be easily pulled down. Dig out as much of the roots as possible. Monitor the spot and hand-pull any new plants that start growing from stray pieces of root that you missed when digging them out.

  3. Apply non-selective, systemic herbicide, such as 2,4-D, to control ivy growth in lawn areas or other areas. Because the leaves are waxy, dab the herbicide directly onto the leaves with a cotton swab.

  4. Remove faded flowers and any berries that form, as they contain seeds. The birds eat the berries and spread the seeds all over your property.

  5. Warning

    Because English ivy can cause a rash on some people, wear gloves and long sleeves when working with it in the garden.

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Things You'll Need

  • Galvanised sheet metal
  • Sharp pruning shears
  • 2,4-D herbicide

About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.

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