As one of the most popular and well-known plants in the United States, Ivy is a common problem for homeowners. This article will show you how to get rid of Ivy in lawns.
It’s a common problem, but no matter what type of plants you want to grow in your garden or yard, ivy is always a constant threat. Whether it’s creeping along the sides of a fence or growing up a trellis or climbing up a tree, ivy is a constant annoyance to keep under control. Even worse, it can wreak havoc on your landscape, making the job of keeping it under control that much harder. What can you do about this unwanted plant? It doesn’t matter if you have a lawn or a flower bed, ivy is always a challenge.
The common ivy plant is a noxious weed, especially around the city. But how to get rid of it?
In this article:
Overview of Ivy and how to control it?
English ivy, or Hedera helix, is the most common form of it found around the country today. It is a perennial climbing vine with glossy green, serrated, leathery leaves. There are different kinds of English ivy including American Ivy, Chinese Ivy, and Japanese Ivy. All are vines that climb using tendrils and produce small, sweet, white, or light red berries.
While English Ivy will climb pretty much anywhere, it can easily spread out over a landscape. However, it grows at an aggressive rate. If left unchecked, it can grow up from a tree trunk to heights between 50′ and 100′.
It can grow in full shade or full sun. This plant will tolerate many types of soil, but it does prefer well-drained and fertile soil. Ornamentally, this plant is used as a cover for fences, trellises, or walls. Ornamental plants can serve many functions: they’re good for attracting butterflies and bees and even help to filter pollutants. They’re also beautiful in their own right.
Control of Ground Ivy in the Lawn
Ground ivy is a low-growing, creeping, invasive perennial. It spreads by seed and the vining stems which root at their nodes. The leaves of ground ivy are round or kidney-shaped with scalloped margins. Stems are four-sided. Flowers are small, bluish-purple, and funnel-shaped. Ground ivy thrives in damp, shady areas, but also grows well in sunny locations. So, a quick solution for an unsightly ground ivy problem could be to remove the plants and replace them with something that will help keep your yard looking great. The most effective broadleaf herbicides are those that contain dicamba.
Trimec and Ortho’s Weed-B-Gon Weed Killer for Lawns are two widely sold products that contain dicamba. While the weather is still fine and there is no need to apply herbicide for the rest of the season, now is the time to apply herbicide to the ground ivy growing on your lawn. Just a couple of applications will do the job. As with any product, using pesticides properly is a must. Read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
Ground ivy has invaded many lawns, and some of those lawns can’t be saved. To get rid of ground ivy and other invasive plants, use glyphosate on the ground ivy and any other plants you find. Weeding by hand or tilling the ground helps, but you can also make it even easier for your lawn to stay healthy and beautiful.
When planting shady areas, be sure to choose seed mixes that contain grass species that tolerate shade conditions. After the ground ivy is eliminated and a healthy lawn is established, you need to use good mowing, fertilization, watering, and cultivation techniques to keep a dense, healthy, competitive turfgrass stand that will discourage future infestations of this aggressive plant.
Get Rid of Ground Ivy Naturally
The problem with invasive species is that they tend to be quite effective at growing and spreading once established. Invasive species like ground ivy are very hard to control because the plant takes hold well and tends to pop up in new places every time you dig it up. Flame weeding, boiling water, and homemade weed killers have very low effectiveness against ground ivy. This is because the herbicide will be unable to penetrate the foliage and kill the roots.
The best natural methods for killing ground ivy are by smothering the plant under black plastic, or by solarization. Solarization is a method of using clear plastic to cover the ground in sunny areas and “bake” weeds beneath the plastic to kill them. The purpose of smothering is to keep a plant from growing, but that’s not always possible. So solarization is used as a means of killing the vegetation before the roots can become large enough to harm the tree.
Cultural Control for Ivy
Good horticultural practices that encourage a thick and healthy lawn are the first line of defense against ground ivy. The first step is to maintain a healthy and thriving lawn. Mowing the lawn to a shorter height (but never too short) will promote vigorous growth of turf. Fertilizing the lawn with a combination of compost, aged manure, and plant-specific nutrients will ensure that it grows well and is free of weeds. Watering the lawn thoroughly every few days will keep grass growing and prevent ground ivy from taking hold.
Chemical Control for Ivy
The best way to control ground ivy (also known as perennial redroot pigweed) is to apply Triclopyr or one of its combinations. Triclopyr controls ground ivy when applied at a rate of 6 liters/acre, or about two gallons per 100 square feet, in combination with 2,4-D at a rate of 5 to 8 ounces of 2,4-D per 1,000 square feet. This is also the best control method for perennial redroot pigweed, which has a different growth habit than ground ivy.
For the effectiveness of other herbicide combinations, please see Fact Sheet FS-385, “Broadleaf Weed Control in Cool-Season Turfgrasses.” Treatment is most effective in the autumn months when daytime temperatures have dropped to the 60s or low 70s. Choose a day when no rain is forecast for 48 hours following your chemical application.
Read the product label and the package insert to determine what the ingredients are and how they’re used. In general, read labels for over-the-counter products to find out what the active ingredients are, the amount in each dosage form, and the intended use.
Ground Ivy is a vine that prefers shady areas. Make sure not to water it directly as it may cause the plant to soak up the herbicide. Also, do not spray near trees and shrubs as they may absorb the herbicide.
Woody and broad-leaf plants, including trees, shrubs, and vines can easily be harmed by herbicides. And, before using any chemical, especially herbicides, please read the label completely and follow all the manufacturer’s directions carefully.
Mechanical Control to get a ride Ivy
If you have a small patch of ground ivy growing in your yard and want to use a mechanical means to kill it, you might try a sod lifter (a hand tool) or a sod cutter (a power tool). But if you’re going to use either of those, make sure they can also be used as a lawn edger.
If the area is shady and moist, consider replacing the grass with shade-tolerant ground cover plants or even decorative mulch. It might take a bit of planning, but the results are worth the effort.
The key to eliminating ivy is to get a good start early in the season before it takes hold. Once the plants are established, the only solution is a spray that contains the active ingredient of thiamethoxam. There are many types of products available, and it will depend on where you live. If you are in a location that has a problem with ivy, contact your local garden center to get a recommendation.