How Do You Stop Ivy From Growing Back?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:54 pm

Removing ivy is one thing – preventing it from overgrowing everything again is quite another. Keeping at it is the magic word, but you can also make your life as easy as possible.

Completely Remove Ivy – What To Consider!

It is bee-friendly, evergreen and has an attractive shape. However, it spreads rapidly and can cause great damage. We have collected and compiled the best tips for removing ivy for you.

How Do You Stop Ivy From Growing Back?

Ivy is one of those plants in the garden that spread rapidly. They take over large areas, entwine themselves along house walls and walls or grow up trees. In the process, ivy can cause considerable damage if it is not controlled. Tips and tricks on how to permanently remove ivy.
The shoots of ivy can significantly damage masonry. They settle in joints and holes and expand them.

Trees, even large old specimens, can be so crushed by the ivy vines that they die.

It may therefore be advisable not to allow ivy to grow too much and to free masonry and other plants from the tendrils.

Moisten the wall with the ivy. Always start from the top, carefully pull the long tendrils out of the masonry. If thicker shoots can not be pulled out, cut them into smaller pieces with secateurs. You will then need to dig up the roots of the ivy to prevent it from sprouting again.

Once the wall is free of ivy, scrub it with a solution of detergent and water with a hard brush. Not only does this serve the purpose of getting the masonry clean again, you’ll also use it to remove any remaining ivy root debris.

Removing ivy from trees

Efeu am Baum - Entfernen oder wachsen lassen?

If a tree is overgrown with ivy, first check how healthy the tree still is. If it is unsalvageable anyway, you can save yourself the work.

To free a tree from ivy, cut through all ivy shoots at a height of about 1.50 meters and pull them down. This is easier if the tree is damp. If necessary, you should spray it with water beforehand. The upper tendrils can remain on the tree if they are not too thick and the adhesive roots have not penetrated too deeply into the tree bark. These shoots dry out and then fall off.

After that, be sure to still dig up all the roots of the ivy around the tree.

Can ivy be removed with Roundup?

When ivy overgrows, many garden owners turn to chemicals such as Roundup or glyphosate. Although it reads easy on the package, these agents are not permanently effective and are not recommended because of their high toxicity to other plants.

With Roundup and other agents, you do achieve that the leaf masses die on top and also some of the small adhesive roots are destroyed. However, you will not reach deep roots. The ivy will sprout again, so you will be faced with the same problem again after some time.

Protect hands and respiratory tract from ivy

Because ivy is toxic and even contact with bare skin can cause skin inflammation, always work with gloves when removing ivy.

Even minute particles released during cutting can be harmful if they enter the respiratory tract. It is therefore advisable to wear a respirator when performing these tasks.

Efeu bekämpfen

Never leave cuttings and roots of ivy lying around, but dispose of them as soon as possible. Otherwise, there is a risk of poisoning for pets. In addition, new adhesive roots form on the cut shoots, through which the ivy spreads again in the garden.

What is important when controlling ivy?

Ivy spreads via the shoots, on which adhesive roots develop. Adherent roots bury themselves in anything that gives them support:

  • Earth
  • Wooden walls
  • Masonry
  • Trees
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Even small ivy shoots quickly form new offshoots. If you want to permanently remove ivy, you need to make sure that all shoots as well as roots are carefully removed from soils, walls or other substrates.

How to remove ivy as ground cover

If the ivy as ground cover has overgrown a larger area, it is best to start removing the plants at the edge. If possible, cut off all thicker shoots you can reach with pruning shears or a small saw. Pull out the tendrils, making sure to get as many roots as possible.
Once the area is clear of ivy above ground, you’ll need to get the roots out of the ground. Moisten the soil if necessary, as this will make the job easier.

Prick the soil with a digging fork and lift the soil. Often you can then simply pull out the roots. With very old ivy plants, however, the only option is to reach for a spade and dig out the roots.

Removing ivy from walls and house walls

If ivy has climbed up walls and walls, the damage done can be considerable. To avoid making matters worse, you need to tread carefully. This is especially true if the ivy roots have burrowed into joints.

Fighting ivy – the right tool is important!

To fight ivy or remove it completely, it is important that you have the right tools. Here is a tool list with explanation of the appropriate use from our experts.

When to remove ivy?

If the green climbing plant is not removed quickly enough, it attaches itself to holes and joints and expands them.

The exploratory plant can become very heavy and is even capable of lifting roof tiles. That’s why excessive growth should be avoided at all costs.

If you want to keep ivy around the house permanently as an ornament or as protection from cold or heat, regular pruning or partial removal is urgently needed, similar to cutting hydrangea.

Since ivy is readily used as a breeding ground for birds, it is important to choose the right time of year to remove the plant.
Note: The effort to remove a completely overgrown ivy from the masonry is often underestimated.

Basically, if ivy threatens to overgrow your own garden, you may remove it, even if the origin can be found at the neighbor’s house. This is because even as a ground cover, the plant can become a nuisance at some point.

If the house owner urgently needs to renovate the facade, he is legally allowed to remove ivy vines, even if birds nest in them.

Ivy provides an ideal habitat for numerous animals and serves as an excellent food source for birds. Bees, butterflies, blackbirds, house sparrows and garden warblers cavort in the network of the green climbing plant.

Ivy is very useful for the natural balance. With the help of its pollen and nectar, it successfully attracts insects. That is why it is advisable not to cut or fight ivy when it is in bloom.

Ivy blooms quite late in the year, which is appreciated by small animal creatures, as they usually do not find other food sources at that time.

How much does it cost to have ivy removed?

Stubborn ivy can be removed professionally. Of course, the strength of the growth and the size of the affected area will determine the cost.
Generally, the size of the area in combination with the thickness of the ivy will determine the cost.

The costly part of the job is removing the adhesive roots. To get rid of them completely, there are several options to choose from: mechanical removal (grinding or scraping out the adhesive roots), flaming (not possible on wooden walls or flammable obstructed materials), removal using a high-pressure cleaner, and chemical removal, which, however, is not sufficient. Often, after such an action, the wall must be renovated.

The price must be adjusted individually to the circumstances. Let a specialized company advise you.

Blätter eines gemeinen Efeus

If you do preliminary work, cutting back and trimming the plant in advance, it will be cheaper. In any case, you have to reckon with costs for scaffolding erection. 6 EUR per m² to 12 EUR per m² of facade surface are common prices.

In the case of plaster facades, the removal of the adhesive roots turns out to be extremely complicated. The ivy stays in the smallest cracks. 30 EUR per m² to 60 EUR per m² of facade area are not uncommon.

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The problem with clinker facades is that the clinker joints are often damaged and you will not be able to avoid re-pointing. The cost of this is around 40 EUR per m² to 50 EUR per m². However, as mentioned, this can vary from case to case.

If in doubt, get quotes from different companies.

Removing ivy in the garden – piece by piece instructions

  • To completely remove the all overgrowing ivy from the masonry is a challenge. If you only want to get rid of it as a ground cover, the work turns out to be easier.
  • Removing ivy from walls
  • Wet the wall with the ivy.
  • Carefully pull the shoots out of the masonry. Start from the top and work your way down step by step. Thicker tendrils can be cut into small pieces with garden shears. Root remains are best scraped off with a hard wire brush or a spatula.
  • To prevent the ivy from sprouting again, you must dig up the roots at the end.

Remove ivy from the bed

Again, it is useful to moisten the soil. This will make it easier to pull the plant out.
Cut off all above-ground shoots with pruning shears.
Loosen the soil with the help of a digging fork and then pull out the roots completely.
If you get the idea to fight ivy with sprays, we strongly advise against it.

There is no suitable agent that is actually effective in removing the adhesive root.

Quite a few amateur gardeners resort to Roundup. However, glyphosate only kills the leaf mass and only a minor portion of the roots.

Also note that it is forbidden to use this agent on surfaces such as paving stones or terraces. The poison quickly gets into the groundwater.

Even if the manual labor is exhausting, the result is worth it. Nature is preserved and you still get rid of ivy in the long run.

You would like to read on? Then take a look at the ornamental garden article Cutting Rhododendrons!
Remove berries of common ivy

Giftige Beeren an gemeinem Efeu

On ordinary ivy after some time grow berries. These are very poisonous and must not be consumed under any circumstances.

Since they pose a risk to children, they should be removed immediately. The berries can be easily cut off the strand and disposed of with the green waste.


You remove the ivy roots from the ground as best you can. So pull out coarser roots, dig out large roots. Usually it is enough to loosen the soil around it with a digging fork, then larger roots can be pulled out. Then you cover it for 1 to 3 years, with a material as dense and opaque as possible. I have a few pieces of PVC flooring for this, which has been removed from the house. Heavy pond liner (black) can also fuunction. Cardboard covered with bark mulch is often used for this. The disadvantage of this is that cardboard often has glue that is not completely harmless. Thick mulching with dried grass clippings might work, but I haven’t tested it myself.
The downside to this method is that it doesn’t necessarily look good. If it’s in a remote corner, this method is my #1 choice.


I am currently testing this in the ivy corner. In the meantime, the ivy is completely gone, and the stones hidden underneath have been used for other purposes. In order to plant something quickly, I first sowed radishes and lettuce. Both grow very quickly and are ready for harvest relatively quickly. Self-grown seeds for it I still had masses. I also threw in a few marigolds and sunflowers.

Again, the 7 most important garden tools were used and also the cheap digging fork proved again good services. Reason for the selected planting was the consideration that I could, if the ivy comes through again, loosen everything again completely without further ado and remaining root remnants etc. raussammeln. Later in the year, potatoes and beans should follow suit. Both form foliage, which covers the ground pretty much completely and possibly wanting to grow ivy take the light. Pole beans should also hide the view of the neighbor’s fence. Possibly add a row or two of bush beans in front.

Ivy between other plants

If ivy is growing between other plants, I don’t necessarily want to dig up all the other plants to make a clear cut. In the back garden area, the ivy had gotten pretty far through. It was growing around the hedge rose, on Solomon’s seal, wild garlic, and golden felberich, just to name a few. Tulips, a hibiscus that got there on its own, a baby spruce (also self-seeded) were also surrounded by the ivy. All these plants I want to keep, plus the overgrown tulips and snowdrops. So the ivy needs to be weeded ‘classically’.

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Plucking out, if necessary also cutting off is the motto. Always cut it off if the ivy roots are too thick and cannot be removed without extensive digging or if they disappear under other plants. Here it is important to keep checking to see if new ivy greenery is coming out. I then let it sprout a bit and cut the runners. Eventually it will give up!!! The roots in the ground then make good food for earthworms. Keep at it, keep at it, keep at it! It’s best to always have your pruning shears with you and intervene in time. For those who like to have a plan, every 2-4 weeks such an ivy inspection should be scheduled.

It also makes sense to plant plants that compete with ivy. Wild garlic spreads strongly in the spring, its leaves curb the growth of ivy. When the wild garlic moves in, it is the best opportunity to clear the area. I have planted new columbine here, which I expect to be a good competitor. Especially the combination with perennials, which are moving in, allows uncomplicated weeding.

Ivy on the wall

This is the real crap job. I have ivy growing into the quarry stone wall. When pulling out, mortar comes out with it – nothing in it with major action, the wall would come with it, at least in parts.

In addition, the ivy on the wall is partly so old that it blooms. The ivy blossom is a great late bee pasture and only old ivy that grows vertically blossoms and fruits. I don’t really want to remove it completely there.

But I try to contain it at least to the extent that it firstly does not grow over to the neighbor and secondly does not grow even more into the walls. My tactic is to cut the vertical shoots at the bottom. Then parts of the growth dry up. These can then be stripped off quite easily after some time. It doesn’t necessarily look super nice when there are dry, brown ivy vines on the wall, but it works halfway.

If you like it more aesthetically pleasing, you can also ‘mow’ the leaves off with hedge clippers – where there’s no leaf green, there’s no photosynthesis. My wrists plead for the not so aesthetic version. It takes time, again staying on it is the key to success. I always wait until my last pruning actions show effect and withered shoots become clear, then I try to pull them out as good as possible and cut more tendrils.

But as with other weeds, the same applies to me with ivy – no fight, no stress, just keep at it!

  • A few positive aspects about ivy
  • It is an extremely frugal plant – it grows even in shady areas where hardly any other plant feels comfortable.
  • Flowering ivy is great bee pasture.
  • The fruits serve as food for birds.
  • Ivy leaves can be used for washing clothes or cleaning.
  • It is also evergreen in winter.
  • Ivy does not need a climbing support.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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