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Just how do you kill ivy?

Derbyshire, United Kingdom Gb

My next door neighbours are not keen gardeners and never bother to go to the back of a large shrubbery which is overgrown with ivy and backs onto my garden. It all grows through and under my fence. I keep trying to kill it but am not getting anywhere. I have to pull up barrows full every year and it is damaging my fence.

I have tried a special weedkiller for ivy, but it laughs at it. I have also tried Round Up with little luck, on several occassions. My hope is for a systemic one that will kill at least some of the ivy on their side aswell as mine.

I have been told it is best dealt with when dormant.

Any suggestions? I don't usually use weedkillers in my garden but I am desperate to protect my fence from further damage without harming any of the nearby shrubs.



I think you will get better resuklts from weed killer if applied to young fresh growth, as it will then be transported back to the roots. Old leaves are so hard as to be aalmost impregnable.. Use Roundup At greater than recommended strength.

1 Dec, 2008


Poaannua is right on. I just applied some to Ivy that was making the house look like a Chia planter. For three years I warned them. Now it is in the gutters and reaching over the roofline.

The round up did work (sprayed over a month ago) but it took this long to have an affect. Spring application would be better.
If you are at wits end, you can still do it. Cut the vines and apply it, or Amitrol, 2-4 d ( no idea what you have available there) and paint it on full strength on the cut stumps. Even now. It will weaken the plant and next spring you can spray.

Sorry that I only have chemical suggestions. I am an organic leaning gardener, but in the case of Ivy -- any weapon is worth using. Follow the instructions and be user safe.

Final note. Monsanto and Roundup. Never in my Nursery life have I seen such a product output of totally different forms. Pre-mixed in gallon jugs that are totally un-economical and a hazard to waste dumps. 22 percent, 45 percent, 55 percent. Nursery formulae. With spreader sticker and so on and so on.

Buy the strongest percentage you can get, preference being one with the spreader sticker. If not available buy a spreader sticker and mix it in. It is well worth the cost.
I also like to use a purple marker dye that shows me were I spray, it is well worth the cost for the normal garden application. Not needed in your case. .

As for your other shrubs, put a garbage bag over them or a plastic pot for smaller ones. Then spray.

I would also photograph the problem before you do this. IMO I think you would have the legal right to sue the neighbors to remove their causative problem. Why should you be spending 45.00 dollars (I am in the US) to deal with an ever-recurring problem.

Show your neighbors the problem from your point of view. Be polite. Perhaps the two of you together could fix the problem. Suggest buying them a replacement planting.

That is what I would do. Good luck

Here in the States, you would have legal right to sue if a neighbor’s bamboo or ivy creates a problem on your property. It is THEIR obligation to keep their plantings from becoming a nuisance to others.

2 Dec, 2008


To get the systemics to work at optimum efficacy spray on the youngest growth you can find then put plastic bags over where you have sprayed. This will hold the weed killer in and stop it evaporating before it does its work. My sister had the same problem as you and that is what we did. It worked. But we did it in spring when it first kicked into growth on new green.

We are not so keen on suing in the UK as the US is but you could call in the local council if all else fails. And certainly get photos.


2 Dec, 2008


You know by now that if you cut it at the base you will be covered with dead leaves for about a year.You are allowed to cut back on the other side of the fence and should the fence be panel or close boarded, you can take down parts and work from your side. When you go to ground level, find large stumps in the Ivy, drill out the centre and pour in neat SBK (systemic brushwood killer). Plug the hole with putty.
I don't know what your relationship with your neighbours is like, but suing them is certainly not the answer, they would probably allow the problem to become much worse and it would drag on for ever. If the problem continues as John says contact your local council.

2 Dec, 2008


The fence is yours I take it? Is the boundary your responsibility as well? this information will be in your Land registry Plan documentation documents and your boundaries are marked with an inverted 'T'.
I suggest you take some photos of the damage done to the fence and the overgrown ivy.
I don't know what your relationship is with your neighbours, but I would politely approach them and explain that a plant on their property is not being maintained and has caused damage to your property. Ask them if they are willing to do a small amount of work to resolve the problem, or alternatively you could offer to trim the ivy for them, this would solve your problem as well as theirs. If they refuse then you are out of solutions apart from legal action in the small claims court for damage to property, or you could continue to battle the problem from your side of the fence. If the boundary is your responsibility, your neighbours are legally obliged to provide access on their property to you to 'maintain' it. You could use this as an excuse, just say, i'll give your ivy a trim as well to stop it from damaging my fence. I can't really see how the local council can help you. They tend not to get mixed up in neighbourly boundary problems in privately owned properties. They will intervene if it is a local authority house. The only legislation in current fruition is in relation to Leylandii which have to be kept at a certain height (2m or below) and it must be more than one plant to constitute a hedge.
Boundaries are contentious matters between neighbours and the law is complicated and unknown by the majority of the UK. If the fence is on your boundary and you have erected it, or it has been erected by previous owners of your property then you have total responsibility for its upkeep. Neighbours on the opposite side are not even allowed to paint, stain it, nail trellis or any other objects to it, plant along it (if it is touching the fence) or do anything to it without firstly asking your permission. This is then a Contract between yourselves. The owner of the fence is obliged to stain or paint the fence on both sides. Of course in the real world this doesn't happen. If you have responsibility for a boundary and the neighbours erect a fence along it or someone who lived in your neighbours house in the past has done this then you cannot touch it without consulting them. If you want to change the boundary to make it your responsibility you may have to erect another fence or hedge inside your side of the boundary, you may loose a few inches of land, but that's the way it is. That is why I always advocate trying to communicate and be as reasonable as possible with your neighbours and if they don't like gardening and it encroaches on your property, offer to help as it will help you in the long run.

2 Dec, 2008


Wow, Andrea, I'm looking for a new solicitor.


2 Dec, 2008


Thanks guys, some great suggestions.
The fence is mine, I erected it. I had no idea that I was entitled to have access for maintence on their side, so that knowledge is a great start. I'm not the sort of person who lies to makes waves, let alone get authorities in or sue. It just isn't me. I keep myself to myself as do my neighbours. We greet each other when we meet,talk about the weather, put our hands up as we pass in the car. It is even possible that if I summoned up the courage to mention the problem, they would fix it. I have only myself to blame in some respects.

I have never heard of putting a plastic bag over sprayed areas, but now it is pointed out I can see the merit in it.
The SBK idea also seems very good. I have seen the product but never used it.

I haven't come across the term 'spreader sticker'.

2 Dec, 2008


I used to do a bit for the CAB as well, I hated the thought of making money out of other people's misfortune, that is why I haven't practiced for 4 yrs. I am always happy to help with any legal stuff, I'm a bit out of touch and not an expert in all areas, but happy to try nonetheless x

2 Dec, 2008


Super answers, I learned quite a few tricks. The bagging is a great idea. I will have to try it on. A super sized garbage plant will cover quite a large plant. The extra heat generated (even on a dank day) must certainly help the process along.

Thank you Sarreceniac! I too, do some hole boring but more around the outer ring were the sap flows. I just fill it with the product and let it soak in. Spreader Sticker is a product that must be sold over there. It might have a better name, but it is very useful when you spray Copper Sulfate or things like weed killers. It is worth the investment.

Dyes added make it easier for you to see what you have sprayed and perhaps not walk in it. One reason that your shoes can then stray over your lawn, and a few weeks later you are questioning why do I have these strand dead paches in my lawn.

2 Dec, 2008


Be careful of these poisons that some of the other members are suggesting. If a neighbours plant encroaches on to your land, you are entitled to cut it back to the level of the boundary. I would always let the neighbours know that you are doing this, however if you start to cut, kill, damage the plant on their side of the boundary that is a different matter.
I would seriously try and speak to them, you sound like you have a pretty good relationship with them. If the weedkiller you use seeps on to their land and kills their plants you could be creating more problems for yourself. Say you need to maintain your fence and would it be ok to come round and do this? Mention that the ivy is damaging the fence and suggest that a good trim would be the best solution, say, I'll do it to save you the trouble. Give it a good cut and it should help you for a few seasons. It is important to word things properly, when I did Alternative Dispute Resolution the way you word things is essential, make it sound like you are doing them a favour.

3 Dec, 2008


Thanks Andrearichter. Fore warned is fore armed. I will go and have a chat and try to make it sound like I am doing them a favour. Mind you, it is so cold here the ground is like stone and we have a smattering of snow. Can't think anything is going to get done yet.

4 Dec, 2008


Please let me know how you get on, hope all goes well

7 Dec, 2008


Well, the opportunity fell into my hands today and it couldn't have been better!
I had just got back from walking the dogs when I heard a wheelie bin on the move. I looked out of my gate and it was the chap from next door. His house is obviously well heated as he only had a shirt on and looked frozen. I felt that was a good sign as it was so cold he wouldn't want to talk for long.
I said that I need to make repairs to my fence and wondered if it was ok to go into his garden, which would make it easier and could I cut back some of the brambles and 'plants' that were in the way. He said 'yes of course, do anything you need to'. Well, as far as I am concerned, I need to get rid of some of this ivy and he has given permission. Couldn't have been better and it wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected. Now I have just got to get the job done.
Thanks for the support.

8 Dec, 2008


Fantastic, I love it when a plan comes together!!

8 Dec, 2008


Me too. Thanks.

8 Dec, 2008


The root of my neighbour's ivy is growing through my garden wall where it adjoins the party wall. If I kill/cut through the root, the whole plant (or at least a sizeable proportion of it) will probably die (he-he!). Is there a less drastic solution to preserve my property (and reduce the growth that comes over into my garden)?

18 Aug, 2009


Having battled with ivy for years, in my opinion, anything worthwhile doing to it has to be drastic!

18 Aug, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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