Gardening: Expert shares tips for weed control
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As a member of the evergreen perennial plant family, the woodiness of ivy enables it to climb up walls and trees or creep on patios and rocks. Killing ivy is only effective when you get to the root of this mischievous plant to make sure it is banished for good. Getting rid of ivy roots in your garden can be done using both chemical and homemade solutions and it’s easier than you might think.
If you’re looking to keep costs and chemicals to a minimum, there are plenty of non-toxic home remedies you can fix up yourself for all your ivy-killing needs.
White vinegar solution
For this eco-friendly ivy-fixing solution all you will need is a spray bottle, water, white vinegar. And some time.
Mix 80 percent water with 20 percent vinegar to make the solution and pour into the spray bottle.
Thoroughly spritz the ivy whilst carefully avoiding other plants you want to keep.
Best results will be visible a few days after applying the treatment which is also the best time to go and remove any dead ivy and repeat the process if needed.
Tape, water and salt
This three-ingredient mixture works a treat on thicker ivy vines.
First you need to cut each vine with garden clippers and wrap around them with your duct tape to form a cup-like shape.
Fill the ‘cups’ with three-quarters of table salt and one quarter of water to dry the ivy out over the course of the coming months.
Who knew that killing ivy roots could involve so much recycling?
Mulching ivy roots is completely free and is great for treating ground ivy.
By creating thick layers of mulch using grass, old cardboard, dead leaves, newspaper or other biodegradable matter you can suffocate the roots by stacking the mulch on top of the ivy-covered area.
This inhibits the growth of the ivy by cutting off its source of light, water and air, preventing further growth.
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Nipping your ivy problem in the bud is vital if you want to avoid it growing to its full crawling potential of up to 30m when latched onto a solid wall.
Whilst home-made solutions are often a greener choice, sometimes you need a stronger, instant fix for those pesky roots.
Tree-climbing ivy is easily fixed with just a pair of shears or secateurs.
The first step is to cut the vines at waist level three to four feet above the tree trunk base with the garden shears, all around.
Leave for a month to allow the ivy to dry out so as not to damage the tree’s bark.
Remove as many ivy roots as you can around the trunk by hand, leaving a ‘safe zone’ of up to four feet to allow space to act if future roots appear.
Commercial weed killer
Shop-bought weed killer is great for tough wall climbing ivy, but how should you use it?
Be gentle when treating and removing wall-climbing ivy to prevent structural damage.
Apply weed killer to the ivy’s ground roots to prevent it from growing back again.
Scrape off remaining rootlets and tendrils with a steel brush or use a sander for wooden surfaces.
How to banish ground-covering ivy
Preserve one to two feet worth of ivy from the main roots by leaving untreated.
Next, cut the ivy in patterns, simultaneously pulling out each section and dispose of it quickly.
Spray the freshly cut vines and remaining one to two feet worth of leaves from earlier with a weed killer of your choice.
Repeat fortnightly until the ivy is gone.
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