How to control ivy

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Ivy, an evergreen climbing or ground-keeping plant, is a wonderful addition to any garden. It’s an incredibly versatile plant, which can be used as rich ground cover to stop soil erosion, to hide unsightly fences and walls, or to create a topiary sculpture.

However, once established, ivy stems spread quickly and can become highly invasive to other plants. As it climbs, it may look ‘fairy tale’ romantic but left unattended, ivy can creep and crawl its way around, taking over everything in its path.

You might love the way a tree looks with ivy gracefully wrapped around the trunk, but it can result in a number of problems. The ivy itself is not the issue, but it creates a moist environment against the bark of the tree, which can then attract harmful insects. The ivy coverage can also hide any developing problems that you may otherwise have noticed; minor tree decay and disease can become a major issue because it’s hidden from sight.

Ivy is a great ground cover, and with the right attention, shrubs and ivy can live harmoniously together. However, you must make sure that ivy isn’t left to run through the centre of plants, or the two will compete for space and nutrients in the soil, with the ivy always winning the fight.

Ivy may need trimming as much as three times a year. Early spring is the perfect time to prune the ivy right back as the plant is still dormant and new growth has not yet begun, meaning less ivy to deal with. However, the beginning of 2013 has been much colder than usual, so there is still time to do it now. You can really be aggressive and it will replenish itself in time for the summer, when you will want the garden to look as attractive as possible.

How to cut back ivy?

Make sure you wear gloves at all times to protect against cuts and scratches, and carefully prune the stems of the ivy. Make sure you leave enough stems to regrow and replenish.

There may be some areas where you want to completely remove the ivy. Make sure you wear gloves to protect against cuts and scratches, and use pruning shears to cut back the ivy at the stems. If the ivy is growing on a wall, check the mortar before you start work; if it’s not in good condition, aggressive pruning can damage the wall, so it may be better to opt for a weed killer.

Ensure that you scrape away any resistant tendrils with a stiff-bladed scraper, followed by a bristled brush, being careful not to scrape or scratch the wall. Alternatively, you can use a blowtorch but use caution and avoid any areas with wood or flammable materials.

Use weed killer on the roots to completely kill the ivy.

If you would like to know more about ivy or you are looking for your garden to be landscaped, then call us here at Stock Gardens of Billericay on 01277 724720.





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