‘Effective’ method to remove ivy from walls without chemicals

Gardening: How to remove ivy from brickwork and trees

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English ivy, also known as hedera helix or common ivy, is a climbing plant that can often be seen winding its way up walls, trees, outbuildings and even street lamps. The plant can cling to almost any surface because small roots grow along the stems of the plant. The plant doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, meaning it can often thrive in shady areas with rich soil. Ivy can grow 15 metres long or more, which is why it can quickly take over trellises, walls, fences, trees or anything else they encounter.

For some gardeners, the plant’s ability to cover almost anything is useful. For example, ivy can quickly act as a screen on a trellis or can cover up unattractive walls and structures.

However, for some gardeners, the rampant, clinging evergreen poses a problem and needs to be removed. Unfortunately, removing the plant isn’t as easy as getting rid of weeds.

One of the reasons ivy is so difficult to eradicate is its waxy leaves which are highly resistant to herbicides.

An “effective” way to remove ivy plants from gardens is to dig and pull up the English ivy plants by hand. Experts at Gardening Know How recommended removing as much of the plant – stems and roots – as much as possible.

Removing the plant manually was also the most championed method from gardeners on social media. Fans of cleaning, home and garden sensation Mrs Hinch, whose full name is Sophie Hinchliffe, have shared their simple solution for removing ivy from walls.

The cleaning and lifestyle influencer has more than 4.6 million followers on Instagram and often shares her garden and home tips online.

Fans of hers have taken to social media in recent years to share their own hacks for solving common household and gardening problems.

On one such group, Facebook user Clare Humphries asked: “Not really about cleaning but does anyone know how to remove ivy from a brick wall? Thanks.”

The post received almost 60 responses from fellow gardeners with the majority suggesting removing the invasive plant by hand.

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Melisa Gill said: “Just cut it off at the bottom, wait a week or so for it to die off then it should easily pull off.”

Elizabeth Griffiths replied: “My husband helped take a lot of ivy off a house wall by getting a garden hoe and scraping it off. Hard work but it did the job.”

Janette Haig wrote: “Use secateurs to cut all the ivy stems at the base. Some of it should come away if you pull it.

“Try to get as much of the ivy off as you can, as when it dries out it is more difficult to remove. You then may need to use a wire brush to get it off when it is dry and dead as it still is attached fast.

“You need to then dig out the roots with a spade. Any bit of ivy left on top of the ground or on the surface of the ground will regrow. You may need several attempts, to clear it. It is a lot of work but worth it in the end.”

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Phyllis Connolly Behan posted: “Cut it at the bottom and it will die then pull it off. Good luck.” Adrienne Cookie Tomkins agreed and commented on the post: “I just pulled it off by hand. Removed without any problem.”

Paula Roberts suggested: “I just cut from the bottom and pulled it off bit by bit. Never came back although I liked it but everyone else kept saying ivy pulls off the plaster.”

Sophie Claire Grayson said: “We had some serious ivy. Cut it off as close to the bottom as you can and in a few weeks it will just die and drop off. You can pull it off too. Then you just need to regularly keep on top of it.”

Ally Lambell replied: “We’ve just done just this. My hubby cut it off at ground level then left it a few weeks to die and then used a large screwdriver to lever it from the wall. Good luck.”

While this method is laborious, it doesn’t require using herbicides which can impact the surrounding environment and wildlife.

Other suggestions from Mrs Hinch fans included using bleach, boiling water and white vinegar.

Liz Keenan wrote: “Bleach, cut it then pour it over it. That’s how I got mine off.”

Oz Oz replied: “Be careful when you remove it. When we cut ours, it was full of pollen or dust but don’t even attempt it without a mask on old clothes.

“Boiling water and white vinegar mix apparently kills it. Sometimes it can make a fence or wall unsafe because of the moisture it takes out of the wood or brick so be careful.” Sandra Prescott said: “Vinegar is the best way. Pour it onto the roots and let it do its stuff.”

Pam Wheeler commented: “Since it is poisonous, I would take yard clippers and cut it back about one foot from the ground. Boil a gallon or so of water, and dump it on the roots.

“Do [this] for a few days and start digging, keep adding the boiling water once a day, dig the next day and add more boiling water. A tea kettle would work for the boiling water.”

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