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We are slowly winning our war with our backyard ivy!

Just a few weeks ago, I posted a few pictures of what our ivy looked like before we attacked the vines with some heavy-duty clippers:

After my boyfriend cut about three feet of space from each of the ivy-laden trees, we noticed that the leaves were starting to turn brown almost immediately. But, without a two-pronged approach of cutting back plus chemical treatment, we were told that getting rid of the ivy for good could take two years. So, there was a new game plan!

Cutting down the vines from the trees would kill the ivy creeping up the trunks, but it wasn’t going to stop the ivy on the ground. So, we treated the surrounding area with an herbicide specifically made for ivy (by the way, I really love the word herbicide; I’m effectively murdering my plants, which is kind of funny to me).

My research (i.e. Google) indicated that two major ingredients in herbicides help kill the ivy off: Triclopyr (for the tree ivy) and Glyphosate (most effective on ground cover). I found both ingredients in Round Up Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer at my local Lowe’s (Home Depot should have it too).

The results thus far after one treatment look like this:



Update 8/30: Even more progress!

brown ivy

I believe a combination of four factors has helped speed things along:

  • We cut 2 – 3 feet of vine away from each trunk where the ivy first began creeping up the tree
  • After cutting the vines and exposing the more vulnerable innards of the plant (the outside is waxy, which can make it difficult to absorb anything), we treated them with an herbicide specifically designed to kill ivy.
  • I have a natural black thumb; plants just prefer to die in my presence (which I used to my advantage by regularly hanging out in the back yard around the trees).
  • The Georgia heat has killed even the hardiest plants that still have their roots attached and are watered regularly, so we have been able to use the weather to our advantage for a lethal combo.

As a word of caution: this weed killer seems to be a very effective general plant killer. If you have surrounding plants that you don’t want to die, I suggest replanting them elsewhere or thoroughly hosing off the plants you want to protect. This isn’t much of a concern for me (the ivy is pretty much choking off everything in its path, so it’s a loss I’m already expecting), but you will see your plants quickly die if this stuff comes anywhere near it.

The instructions for application suggest that it’s best to apply during the growing season (summer months) every two to three weeks. Also, it is normal to see fresh little green buds popping up after treatment (new growth to counter the older greenery dying). Because these leaves are not yet coated in a waxy film like the older leaves, a quick squirt of the Round Up will have them shriveling away in no time.

I’ll keep you posted after our second treatment to show you progress (if any). I’m hopeful after seeing the first treatment’s effectiveness that we can get rid of this ivy quickly and reclaim our back yard. One season vs. two years? How cool is that?

Don’t forget to pin it!

how to kill off aggressive and invasive english ivy on trees and overgrowth for good

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  1. Oh, I feel for you! We removed ivy last summer. Well, rather, we started to do the “carpet roll” technique and it killed us! So, we hired some volunteer firemen who burned it. Then I sprayed with the brush b gone. During the whole process they found one copperhead and we found 5 black widows. I am soooo glad the ivy is gone. I can sleep better at night knowing my kids won't be playing in that poisonous critter habitat.


  2. Thanks Brittany!

    The ivy isn't poisonous in itself, but I agree that it can be a haven for spiders and snakes. We have a large dog who tromps through the back yard in the afternoon, and I would hate to put him in a place that could hurt him. We are also removing the ivy because it could kill off the tall pine trees in the back yard, which could be a hazard for the whole house!

  3. wow! I need to do this. I have tried to do it, but it didn't work.

    How in the world did Scott clear so much away from the trunk? Maybe mine has been on the tree too long. I used loppers, and even a chain saw in a couple of places where the stem was really thick.
    could you please answer me via e-mail? thanks so much!