How to get rid of Ivy

Asked June 16, 2013, 7:05 PM EDT

At our Church we have about a block of ivy that is 40 years old. We want to take it out and put in a butterfly garden. How do we get rid of it? We took out about 5 feet but the roots are really deep and lots of them. Is it safe to spray a weed killer on it? If so what kind and do you spray the ivy or the roots after the ivy is gone? Help!!!!

Washington County Oregon weed issues

1 Response

Good day, and thank you for using Ask an Expert.

Whatever method you use to eradicate ivy, mechanical or with herbicides, will require considerable labor including repeated attacks on the regrowth. Even so, you can be successful as long as you understand that follow-up treatments, perhaps for several years, will be required.

I suggest you review these resources before you begin:
- General information about English ivy and how to remove it: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/english-ivy-control.pdf

- A forestry publication which may be pertinent to your situation: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1595-e.pdf

- Mechanical removal as used by the No-ivy League: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/201781#Ivy%20Removal%20Methods


If you use herbicides, the most effective method is a cut-and-paint application with a product that contains the active ingredient triclopyr. Because of ivy’s waxy coating on the leaves, sprays tend to roll off. Further, when one sprays herbicide, it’s easy to inadvertently damage nearby plants with spray drift and/or turbulence. If you use a cut-stem application, follow the label directions.

Good luck with your project.