Get to root of pesky English Ivy


March 10, 2007|By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | Ellen Nibali and David Clement,Special to The Sun

Does anything short of napalm kill English ivy? It has spread from my yard into a wooded area and is climbing old oak trees.

Removing leaves and upper growth will not kill English ivy because nutrients stored in their root system give them enough energy to resprout. Pull small patches and mow large ones. When resprouting occurs, either continually mow to exhaust root reserves; smother regrowth with plastic, cardboard and mulch; or spray with a systemic herbicide (glyphosate or triclopyr), which travels to kill roots. Herbicides work best on new growth or in fall when the plant is drawing chemicals into its root system in preparation for winter.

English ivy's glossy leaves repel herbicide. Mix a surfactant with the herbicide to make it stick better. For ivy climbing trees, cut it at ground level and immediately treat the cut stump with a high-strength herbicide with glyphosate or triclopyr.


Begin fertilizing and repotting houseplants once you notice new growth.

Check your landscape and remove egg cases of bagworms, Eastern tent caterpillars and gypsy moths.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the center's director. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at

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