Ivy. It is a beautiful plant that you often seen growing along fences and up the walls of stone houses. But sometimes, this plant can become a pest like weed, taking over the area it was intended to fill. If left growing, it can overtake and choke out any plants in its path. So how do you get rid of this creeping ivy once it takes over? It is not easy, but if you go after it diligently, their numbers will decrease.
Ivy has a number of different names, like creeping Charlie, ground ivy, and creeping Jenny. Now don't get me wrong, I like the ivy, and I even like creeping Jenny because it has flowers. It grows over an old wood pile in my back yard, hiding it from view. Creeping Charlie makes the ground look nice and green under the cedar trees where grass has a hard time growing. It does not need to be mowed as it naturally grows short. But I do not like it growing in my garden. This plant has a habit of taking over my garden and if I didn't keep pulling it out, I would lose all my vegetable plants.
Pull The Ivy Out By Hand
First, it is advisable to put on your gardening gloves if you want to keep your hands and nails looking nice. Now, get out there and start pulling the vines out of the ground. Throw the pulled up vines into a box, cart or wheel barrow. You will want to throw them away once you finish. Do not put them into your compost pile because they will grow. The stems produce roots where they touch the ground. This is one of the reasons they are so hard to get rid of them all.
Cover The Area
If you have a large area, try covering the ground with black plastic, an old carpet, or newspapers. If you decide to use newspapers, have the five or more pages thick. You will have to replace the newspapers from time to time, because they will decompose into the ground. Leave the coverings on for at least one year, or longer if possible if you want better results. Ivy needs light to grow. Place weights like rocks or bricks on the black plastic or newspapers, to keep the wind from blowing it away.
Spray With a Broadleaf Herbicide
If you don't want the work of pulling, or the looks of covering the ground, then you can spray the area with a broadleaf herbicide. Choose one that is made to kill ivy plants, and two applications are needed. The first application should be applied in late autumn. Mix and apply the herbicide according to the label directions. In April or June after the ivy has bloomed, mix and apply a second application.
Ivy that is growing among other plants will need a different herbicide. It is important to read the label or discuss your options with your local county extension agent, or a professional at the garden supply store.
Spray With a Borax Solution
Some gardeners spray their creeping ivy with a mixture of borax and water. General proportions to make the borax mixture are 5 teaspoons for every quart of water or a fourth cup borax for every 5 gallons of water. Use warm water to help the borax to dissolve. Pour the solution into a watering can and pour this over the creeping ivy. This, like all the other ways to remove creeping ivy, will need several applications. There is one thing to note about using the borax solution. The Universities of Wisconsin and Iowa State have found that borax may not be very effective. If you use too much, it may injure other plants and grass. This is because borax contains boron and too much of this ingredient is toxic to all plants.