I believe there is no other landscape plant that is loved and hated as much as English Ivy.
In the proper place, English Ivy adds beauty to the landscape and can be helpful in erosion prevention. English Ivy is super easy to start.
If you find a patch of English Ivy, most owners are more than happy to share (especially if they never expect to see you again). Good drainage is about the only requirement for quick growth, as the plant is equally at home in partial sun or deep shade.
Ivies offer us many unique and beautiful characteristics, but think before you plant. When deciding to bring this plant into your garden, think about where you are going to plant. Is there anything that you don’t want the ivy climbing on?
What other plants are growing in close proximity? Are you willing to do some pruning to keep the ivy in bounds?
Ivy can be very aggressive, so plant wisely. If you are not willing to keep the plant in bounds, or do not want something climbing on your brick walls, consider an alternative perennial.
If you have let your ivy get out of hand or adopted some by moving into a new residence, and are considering getting rid of it — think first.
For ivy that has crept up trees or walls, simply cut the ivy stem at ground level.
Anything above the cut will die and will be easier to remove. If ivy has made its way up a tree and the ivy stem needs to be cut with a saw, try to avoid cutting into the tree trunk.
Finally, if you are determined to get rid of the ivy, get ready, you are in for a battle.
To remove the plant you have two options, you can pull it up or use a herbicide.
One of the safest and most effective herbicides for this application is glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active chemical in Roundup and is now found in other products.
In early spring, when new growth is beginning to break, apply glyphosate to the ivy patch. Only apply glyphosate to green foliage and spray foliage until wet.
Glyphosate doesn’t work on dead foliage, nor does it have any soil activity.
Also, be careful not to get glyphosate on your boots and walk into an area where desirable plant foliage may come in contact with your glyphosate soaked boots.
Remember, glyphosate will kill most plants so be careful not to spray desirable trees or shrubs.
Depending on the weather, it will take about five to seven days until you start to see an effect from the Roundup application. Within two to three weeks much of the ivy should be dead.
Remove and dispose of dead material. Because of the extensive underground root system, re-application of glyphosate may be necessary for complete control of the ivy.
So, is English Ivy good or bad? Remember, a weed is simply a plant growing out of place.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.