Remove ivy from ground where grows two filbert trees

Asked November 26, 2018, 10:58 AM EST

Hi, we’ve got the ivy mostly cut back from the filbert trees. (See photo) The two trees have grown next to and through a section of chainlink fence. So that only a small part of ivy remains at the base of the trees and is entwined also in the fence. The trees have many old suckers so that there is not one trunk but rather a mass of them. I plan to dig out the ivy root to about 8” down and to cut the filbert suckers that are about an inch in diameter or less. Then i will lay some compost around the base. That area is roughly 3 foot by 8 foot rectangular. Next, i plan to lay newspaper, sand and medium-size stone on the area to discourage further ivy growth from what root remains. Will my plan work to salvage the trees? Is there something else I should do? Thank you, Jen

Lane County Oregon

3 Responses

Hi, Jen,

Sounds like you're taking some good first steps towards controlling ivy on your trees.

Unfortunately ivy is quite persistent. If using organic methods is a priority for you, you may need to repeat pulling re sprouts indefinitely. If you're willing to consider non-organic methods you can treat the cut stumps of ivy with herbicide to help keep the roots from coming back. Jack Schorr, another expert on this platform, details this approach:

"Removing as much of the vine as possible by hand will help all control efforts. You may be interested in this fact sheet: …..

Manual, mechanical and chemical control methods are all effective in removing and killing English ivy. Employing a combination of methods often yields the best results and may reduce potential impacts to native plants, animals and people. The method you select depends on the extent and type of infestation, the amount of native vegetation on the site, and the time, labor and other resources available to you.

Whenever possible and especially for vines climbing up trees or buildings, a combination of cutting followed by application of concentrated systemic herbicide to rooted, living cut surfaces is likely to be the most effective approach. Along the base of trees, cut all stems about 4-6 inches above the ground and apply an herbicide with the active ingredient Triclopyr to the cut surface on the ground. Be sure to cut all stems with ivy growing up the tree. The ivy in the trees should wither and die and will then fall from the tree or can be pulled down by hand.

On the ground. application of an herbicide with the active ingredient Triclopyr or Glyphosate will help control ivy. Look for the highest concentrations of active ingredient on product labels. These active ingredients come under several brand names, including Brush B Gone for Triclopyr and Roundup for Glyphosate. It takes about a week to see the full effects of these herbicides and you will likely have to repeat applications over time to gain satisfactory control of the ivy. With any herbicide, read and follow the label instructions carefully. The evergreen nature of English ivy means that it continues to grow through the winter months although at a reduced rate. Herbicide applications can be made any time of year as long as temperatures are above 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit for several days and rain is not expected for at least 24 hours. Repeated treatments are likely to be needed.

Follow-up monitoring should be conducted to ensure effective control. Herbicidal contact with desirable plants should always be avoided. I'm not aware of any native plantings you could use to choke out the ivy, although you should plant something else after the ivy is effectively eradicated. Once well established, alternative groundcovers can help reduce the regrowth of the ivy. Mulching will reduce regrowth but likely won't be totally effective. Be vigilant and treat any regrowth as soon as it appears. Eventually you can "starve" the ivy roots, but it will take some time and quite a bit of effort.

Once you've pulled and dug as much as possible, spot-treating regrowth with one of the recommended herbicides shouldn't negatively effect your other landscaping.

Two good OSU Extension publications you may find useful are: Invasive Weeds in Forest Land - English Ivy

Fact Sheet on Ivy Removal in a Home Landscape - "

Good luck and thanks for contacting Ask an Expert.

TYhis response was very helpful. I have a question about using the herbicide, which I don’t like. Do i have to treat every ivy root, like to apply carefully so the herbicide doesn’t get on the ground? Or can i apply it to the ground? I’m afraid it may reach the filbert tree roots. I understand that I can’t apply it until we have dry warmish weather.

I would use a labeled spray bottle (wearing long rubber gloves with cuffs turned up to stop drips, and any other protective equipment recommended on the label) to treat only the cut stump of the ivy. Apply it right after cutting to maximize uptake. Use the percent of herbicide in the solution that is recommended by the product label for treating ivy. You should be able to get the spray on the freshly cut surface with minimal runoff. Most of the spray goes right into the tissue of the ivy and the small amount that might end up on the ground will most likely not affect the much larger tree. As a land steward I have treated ivy on trees using this method without ill effect to the trees.

Check the label to find out what temperature and moisture conditions are required for using the herbicide. If the label permits, some can be applied to ivy in this manner during dry spells in fall/winter.

I hope that helps!