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Question
HI KATHLEEN

I HAVE IVY VINES IN MY BACKYARD AND I WANT THEM DEAD. WHAT CAN I PUT ON THEM TO KILL THEM FOR GOOD?
         DOLORES TOWNSEND

Answer
Good morning, Ms. Townsend.
I totally understand your wish to get rid of that ivy! I am going to assume that you have English ivy, which is a non-native, highly invasive vine that is really difficult to eradicate. Short of pulling it all out by the roots (which is arduous), the only real method for getting rid of ivy is to apply an herbicide such as Bayer's Round-Up or Ortho's Brush/Ivy B-Gone directly to the leaves and stems. Some folks say "organic" treatments such as scalding hot water and/or vinegar work, but I say that's horse-hockey.
If your ivy is growing among or near plants that you want to keep, make sure you don't get any of the herbicide on those plants; spray applications can go awry on a windy day, for example. Pull the ivy away from desirable plants before spraying. The herbicide will take several days to work its way through the plant down towards the root system, and you may need to reapply it several times this season, particularly if you apply it before a heavy rain.
I am afraid that you might never TOTALLY get rid of English ivy -- believe me, I have tried to get rid of mine, but the best I've been able to do is keep it in check, pulling it up as I see it trying to come back.
Good luck!

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Kathleen Franklin

Expertise

I can answer all kinds of questions about vines that thrive in most U.S. soils/climates, though I am more knowledgeable about Zones 4-8. I am a huge fan of vines (even the sort of "Look out, Martha, here it comes again" varieties), especially wisteria, climbing hydrangea, Carolina jessamine, and (invasive though it is) English Ivy. I grow them all, and would love to share what I've learned with you!

Experience

I am a certified, active Master Gardener in Maryland (Montgomery County) and have six+ years experience working at a local garden nursery. I've been gardening for more than 20 years and have done consulting work for many residential homeowners on all aspects of gardening and garden design.

Organizations
Maryland Master Gardeners Friends of Brookside Gardens Nature Conservancy

Publications
I have authored numerous nature and gardening-related articles for publications ranging from Audubon Naturalist News to Washington Gardener magazine.

Education/Credentials
I have taken courses in Integrated Pest Management, perennials, shrubs, and vines.

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