Ivy can ‘damage’ brickwork and ‘strangle’ trees – how to remove ‘resistant’ plant

Gardening: How to remove ivy from brickwork and trees

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Although ivy can look attractive and even add character to a property, when it gets out of control, the plant can look unkempt and even “damage” brickwork and “harm trees”. Stella Fear, head gardener at at Holland Park in London has shared the best ways to limit ivy or destroy it altogether. Stella shared her tips with Homebase UK who have shared her advice in a 2012 video.

Gardeners will need gloves, weed killer containing glyphosate, secateurs, a saw, a scraper, a wire brush and a fork.

Gardeners 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 glossiness of its leaves.

The expert said the plant will need to be sprayed with a weed killer containing glyphosate.

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The expert said: “This will speed up the death of the plant, making it easier to remove from the wall without damaging brickwork.

“Bear 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.”

Next, gardeners need to remove the top growth of the plant.

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Once the weed killer has done its job, gardeners can start to remove the plant.

The longer the weed killer is left on, the easier it should be to remove the plant.

Use secateurs under each stem to dislodge aerial roots and then pull the ivy away, being careful not to pull any mortar.

Roots attached to bricks

Aerial roots attached to brickwork is harder to remove, but it can be done.

To remove them, scrape them off with a scraper at an angle of 30 degrees.

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Any remaining pieces can be removed with a wire brush.

Removing roots

Dig out any root stumps along with major roots in one go.

Ensure as much of the root system is removed as possible by digging deep and wide into the ground.

The gardening expert added: “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 step.”

Removing from trees

When ivy climbs a 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 actually damage the bark.

Gardeners should cut the stems of the ivy to kill all of the plant above the incision.

Leave the dying ivy for a month or so, so that it becomes dehydrated.

The plant will then be much easier to pull away without removing bark and harming the tree.

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