The Ivy Wars

It’s war!

We have declared war on the hideous weed taking over our garden and now our brand new conservatory. Worse still, when I tried to pick the nasty thing off the window frame it broke my nail! That was the last straw.

So. After a bit of research, We’re going to try to rid our garden of the Ivy Beast. But I sense it’s not going to give up without a fight, especially with its renewed strength gained from all the recent rain.

Anyhow. Apparently the way to kill off the monster is to attack the root of the problem. We had a small amount of ivy in the front garden and the root was really easy to find and dig out. I didn’t want to pull the ivy straight off the wall as it was stuck so hard it would pull off the render so figured it would have less stick once dead. So, now a few weeks on that ivy is all brown and dead and ready for removal.

So. We’re going to try the same on the blob-like beast in the back.

My darling husband attacked it. 

I think through a bit of boredom really.  He knew I wanted to do it, so he beat me to it and went mad one Sunday afternoon and ripped the hideous beast down.

But although that was massively labour intensive, it was almost the easy part.  4 trips to the tip later and . . .

The fences are completely rotten underneath.  They’ll need replacing.  Those that don’t are covered in horrible sucker marks.  And the roots are there and growing . . . still!  We need to kill the root with poison (SBK apparently is the best – available at garden centres), but it’s also on the neighbours side it turns out.    Oh my days, it’s the 100 years war!

So lets deal with a bit at a time.  What about them sucker marks?  Well, you just need to scrape them off.  For any wall finish:

  • Walls
  • Fences
  • Render

Scrape off Tendrils and Suckers: Use a stiff-blade scraper to remove the part of the vines that remain stuck to the wall. Work slowly and scrape at a relatively low angle (about 20 to 30 degrees) to minimize scratching brick, and wear gloves to protect your scraping hand.

Scrub or Burn off Residue: If some plant material remains, you may be able to scrub it off with a moderately stiff brush (but be careful as some brushes such as wire ones may scratch brick), (with a small amount of paint remover for stubborn areas) or use a propane torch to burn it off (such fun!) Caution: If you use a torch, remember to wear goggles, and keep it well away from any wood or cracks. Remember that there’s more flame than you may be able to see, especially in strong sunlight. Test in an inconspicuous area to make sure using the torch won’t permanently scorch the masonry.

But bear in mind, that Ivy can also be beautiful.  It can create a chocolate box look for a number of homes, and can complement most gardens.  But it needs looking after.  At least twice a year.  If not, you’ll end up with a monster like ours and then it’s a torturous event to either get it back to where it was and how it should look or have rid of it all together.

I found a great website that goes into the pros and cons of having Ivy as well as plenty of great advice on care or ridding your garden of it all together.  Check it out: http://www.whatprice.co.uk/gardening/ivy.html

Next job, replacing the fences.  That will have to wait for next year . . .

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