Aggressive Ivy in Garden

(Question)

Hi There,

I have boston ivy, virginia creeper and euonymous growing on my fences and they have been spreading across my lawn until there is almost no grass left. I cannot do much about the vines on the fence (as the main body of the plants is on my neighbours side of the fence). What can I do to remove the vines spreading across the lawn if I would like to have gardens throughout the back yard instead? How can I keep the vines under control and from growing into the garden in the future?

 

(Answer)

There is no magic cure for overgrown vines. The frequent rains we’ve had this spring has allowed the plants we love, and the plants we don’t, to grow and thrive.  So, the solution is good old fashioned cutting, pulling and digging. First, cut back as much as you can. Next, pull out what you can, and what you can’t, dig out.  Make sure you get the roots.

It might help, once you’ve beaten back the vines growing over your lawn and garden space, to put a barrier between you and the neighbour. This would involve trenching along the fence at least 60 cm below the soil surface. Then, install high density polyethylene plastic sheeting along the trench, allowing it to come at least 15 cm above the soil level, and backfilling it. That would keep the rhizomes from the various vines coming in under the fence. Those that  grow over the fence can continue to be pruned back.

Although a lot of work initially, this will work well with a new garden. I have a client with an established garden and the same problem with Boston Ivy and Virginia creeper – I can only do the cutting back and pulling, between established plants. Every year. At least twice.

Good luck!