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Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Thursday: Getting rid of ivy

I don't mind ivy per se, not in the I hate it and want to rip every shred by its roots and mash it until it dies way. Unless it's taken over my back yard from a neighbor's uncontrolled infestation. I think ivy looks lovely around fences, arbors, pergolas, and the like. In that ornamental greenery kind of way. And until this house, I had that as a vague backyard plan. No more.

For 5 years I've tried to get rid of the ivy that's creeping up my trees, into my garden, and around what little grass I've managed to grow and killing everything. It's destroyed my love for a pretty ivy scene.

For the last several weeks I've had someone rip out the ivy in that backyard section. Wow! I have dirt underneath it! And crap. Man there's all sorts of junk buried under the ivy. Forget the trash, which filled 2 bags, but I found a rusted basketball hoop, a strange metal hammer-thingy I can't describe, rusted something that looks vaguely like it belongs in a car, 2 tree stumps I had no idea were hiding back there (and not little stumps either!), and a rose bush. I have no idea where that came from.

Right picture is what it looks like now.  
Left picture is what's left to be done

There are a few sites on How-To stuff, this one is great but I don't want to use a pesticide. When in doubt complain to your mother: She recommended vinegar. Oh yeah, I say, I had heard about that. A quick search found this from the San Francisco Chronicler with several helpful hints. (Same as if you wondered.)

1. Purchase or borrow a garden sprayer if you do not already own one. If borrowing a sprayer, flush it with water two or three times to remove any traces of fertilizer, herbicide or insecticide. Use a spray bottle for smaller infestations of ivy.

2. Fill the garden sprayer or spray bottle with white vinegar.

3. Spray ivy infestations thoroughly with white vinegar. Take care when spraying the vinegar not to get the spray on wanted vegetation, as vinegar is nonselective and will kill wanted grasses and plants in addition to the ivy. Saturate the ivy as much as possible with the spray.

4. Wait one week, then observe ivy infestations. Dead ivy leaves and vines will appear brown. Remove the dead ivy and dispose of it in a garbage can. If ivy is still green or there are green patches amid dead ivy, spray the ivy once more with the white vinegar. Repeat vinegar applications as necessary until you eradicate all the ivy. And a YouTube Video I found:

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