English ivy removal

Asked June 14, 2020, 3:59 PM EDT

I offered to remove English ivy growing around my elderly neighbor's tree. I was shocked at how thick the vine was at the base, it was about as thick as a magic marker. I was able to cut it back to the soil level but I know it is going to come back. is there any thing I an apply to kill the roots that won't damage the tree? I have industrial strength vinegar.

Baltimore Maryland

1 Response

English ivy is a terrible invasive in Maryland, and can actually get much bigger than you describe. Thank you for helping your neighbor kill it.

You're right. You'll want to kill the roots, if possible, since they will have a lot of stored energy they can use to resprout.

We recommend treating the stump immediately when cut with an herbicide containing either glyphosate or triclopyr ingredients. Applied only to the stump cut, it requires a very small amount. You can recut the stump in order to do this. (A stump quickly oozes sap and it then hardens, which makes it impossible for herbicides to penetrate later.)

Glyphosate is a total vegetation killer, and triclopyr works on woody plants, so you don't want to get it on the tree. Insert a shield of plastic or cardboard between the stump and the trunk when you spray or paint the stump.

These herbicides are systemics, which means they will travel down and kill roots. But don't be surprised it the vines are still able to do some resprouting. Just keep an eye on them and remove any resprouts.

Here's more about English ivy: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/english-ivy

Ellen