Gardening: How to remove ivy from brickwork and trees
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English ivy is an evergreen perennial that has a woody vine. The plant climbs, grows horizontally and can act as ground cover. The plant is known for its pretty green leaves but is also a fast and aggressive climber which can make it quite invasive.
With this in mind, a gardening expert from Homebase has shared how to remove the plant from trees and brickwork.
They said: “Although ivy can look attractive, when it gets out of control, which it often does, it can look unkempt, damage brickwork and harm trees.”
Stella Fear, head gardener at Holland Park London has shared the best ways to limit ivy or destroy it altogether.
Gardeners will need gloves, a weedkiller containing glyphosate, secateurs, a saw, scraper, a wire brush and a fork.
Killing top growth
You should always aim to keep ivy away from paintwork and gutters and ensure it isn’t damaging the brickwork.
Ivy is extremely resistant to weed killers due to the glossy nature of its leaves.
However, using a glyphosate-based weed killer should penetrate ivy and kill the plant.
The expert explained: “Spraying the offending plant with a weed killer containing glyphosate will speed up the death of the plant making it easier to remove from the wall without damaging brick work.
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“Bare in mind, it may require repeat applications. Once you have done this, sever the plant from its roots by cutting all stems as close to the base as possible.”
Removing top growth
If the weed killer has done its job, gardeners can start to remove the plant.
The longer the plant is left, the easier it should be to remove.
Put secateurs under each stem to dislodge the aerial roots and then pull the ivy away being careful not to pull any mortar with it.
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The experts added: “Aerial roots attached to brickwork are harder to remove.
“Scrape them off with a paint scraper at an angle of 30 degrees so as not to damage the brick. Go at any remaining pieces with a tough wire brush.”
Some people have recommended using ammonium sulphamate, however, this is no longer an accepted herbicide and has been banned.
Instead, dig out the stump along with its major roots in one go.
Remove as much of the root system as possible to dig as deep and wide as you reasonably can.
The expert said: “It is unlikely you will remove everything but alas, there is no other answer.
“Digging up seedlings as soon as they appear will save you a lot of time in the future.”
Removing ivy from trees
When ivy climbs the trunk, it has the potential to “strangle the tree” and “prevent the growth of buds”, especially if it gets into the tree’s crown.
Pulling the ivy from the tree is very messy and can damage the bark.
Cut the stems of the ivy to kill all of the plants above the cut.
The experts added: “Leave the dying ivy for a month or so that it becomes dehydrated. It will then be much easier to pull away without removing bark and harming the tree.”
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