You can have my portion of ivy in this world. Ivy looks very elegant on university buildings and large manors. It is, however, a parasite. I have seen him suffocate trees, tear bricks and swallow other plants. It is not a friendly plant and it is a terror to be removed. Getting rid of ivy could be compared to getting rid of politicians. The roots are tenacious, the plant is Teflon for most diseases and pests and loves almost all conditions as long as it is beneficial.
English Ivy Vines in the Garden – Don’t Do It!
My neighbor has erected a nice living fence between our two properties. It consisted of ivy on a chicken wire frame. If cut once or twice a year, it was a perfectly useful green barrier. However, with the passage of time, the stems have become woody, thick and heavy and the plant could not match the chicken wire. Relaxing, crushing and eventually almost demolishing the thread, the plant was the winner in the game for the tasteful fencing. Ergo, it must be removed.
My neighbor was a very fit septuagenarian, who stood up on his roof to clean it and had muscles that would make most men his age ashamed. He and I decided that we could remove the stuff and then build a wooden fence. Thus began the struggle with the tenacious vine. It started innocently enough. Patiently cutting the ivy vines to find the flattened wire was easy enough. But the English ivy vines had twisted every gap in the thread and pulling it through was an exercise in stoicism. It turns out that getting rid of ivy isn’t quite the simple task that had appeared.
If we had known at the time of installation we would have provided a stricter control of the ivy vine. The vines of ivy, once reduced, turned out to be colonized in every square centimeter of land. It seems that an ivy plant becomes many, since they root everywhere they touch the ground. To get the maximum it was necessary to pull, dig and a lot of extremely vigorous sweat. Or did we do it? The ground seemed free of screws and we stroked on the back for a job well done. But only a few weeks later, small tendrils of the stuff started appearing everywhere. I don’t like chemicals, but the time had come for a serious check of the ivy vine at this juncture.
The herbicide was applied with caution and with regret to the new growth. I felt like I was doing a bad thing, but what else could we do? A 40-year-old and 75-year-old would not have won here, so we hung up our heads and sprayed. It worked. But it seemed that the plant was not over with us. We both took half the screws to compost. The following year our compost piles were also infested with ivy. It was a cruel joke for two gardeners who tried to be conscientious.
The compost was supposed to disappear, but the fenced area was now ivy free. The plant laughed at us until the end. The wooden fence went up and was hit by a bizarre wind storm the following year. The whole thing seemed like a farce. But an important lesson has been learned. Never, never, never plant ivy vines in the garden.