Dangerous Ivy-Kudzu Situation... Please Help

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  #1  
Old 04-11-10, 11:32 AM
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Dangerous Ivy-Kudzu Situation... Please Help

I have an extremely large amount of ivy out in my front yard that looks very nice but needs to go. My dog was bitten by a copperhead hiding underneath the vegetation yesterday and with a toddler in the house, we can't take any chances... We've also seen two rattlers in the past few months and want to deny them their camouflage as much as possible now. I know I can't get rid of the snakes where we live, so I figure my best option is to make them as visible as possible if they're around.

My question is this: What's the best way to get rid of this stuff (assuming there is one)? Should I kill it with a specific chemical application, hire a landscaper to come tear it all out with a Bobcat, other?

Also, once it's out, is it possible to lay sod down to replace it or would I have more luck doing something simple like a bed of pine straw, some bushes, etc.?

Please see the linked photos. Thanks so much in advance for your collective responses & advice.

P.S. - The dog has a swollen foot and is on antibiotics & pain meds. He's going to be fine

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...0&l=876810359d
 
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  #2  
Old 04-11-10, 01:32 PM
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Hi ThrasherFan:

I had a yard full of ivy groundcover when we lived in your area. I never thought of snakes. My wife would have freaked out.

From the picture of your yard, I'd say that you have a large landscaping job ahead of you. If you plan to do it yourself, allow more time than you think it will take and rent power equioment to help you.

The ivy that we had was a very sturdy plant. If I tried to dig it up, it would regenerate from any small pieces of root that were left in the soil. Maybe a landscaper would get it all up, but see if they'll give some sort of guarantee.

Weed killer does work, but you would probably have to do at least two applications waiting each time for the ivy to die and then scrape the dead plants off. I'm not an organic gardener, but I'd worry about that much week killer around my house, dog and toddler.

Given the amount of ivy you have, you'll probably have to use sod or wait until October for the right time to seed in Atlanta. Bushes wouldn't solve your problem. That's where the snakes we had in Florida like to hide.

Is it possible to mow the ivy low to the ground to increase visibility? Snakes hate lawnmowers.
 
  #3  
Old 04-11-10, 02:11 PM
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Family members have suggested mowing the ivy to expose the stems and then applying the round-up, so I may do that... I imagine that method would require less round-up than if I apply directly to the leafy parts on top. The dog and the kid won't be going anywhere near the ivy anymore so i'm not too worried about exposing them to the round-up.

Can you give me more detail about the power equipment you mentioned? What tools and approach would you take there rather a mower?
 
  #4  
Old 04-12-10, 06:56 AM
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I was thinking about mowing the ivy so that its leaves would form closer to the ground. That might be enough to let your toddler and dog see the snakes. AND it would save you a lot of effort.

My comment about "power equipment" was to point out that after all of the ivy is dead what you have to do is to grade and prepare the ground as if it was new construction. Moving that good old Georgia clay around isn't an easy job.

Our experience in Florida was that snakes could be found in grass also and (after a few months) you won't spend your days searching them out. Your house looks so nice with the ivy. It would be a shame to go to all the effort of putting in a lawn and still have to look out for snakes. Have you considered just making a toddler/dog play area that would be easier to monitor?
 
  #5  
Old 04-12-10, 08:26 AM
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I am always on the lookout for those things regardless of the terrain. I've seen too many and known too many people who've been bitten to turn a blind eye to the danger. And even with that constant caution, we're still dealing with their presence now that the dog's been struck.

They have designated play areas and our son definitely knows he's not supposed to go in the ivy. However, accidents happen anyway just like with the dog this weekend.

I'd probably be ok with cutting it shorter as you suggested, but my wife will have none of it. After I got back from the emergency vet in the middle of the night and told her what had happened, she was in tears for hours. She never liked the way the ivy looked anyway and this incident sealed the deal for her...

The ivy is going away, it's just a matter of how and who does it, now. No shortcuts for me this time; it will be quite an effort.

My father did the same thing with extensive ivy at his house (also in the area) and he's recommended I mow the ivy and then only treat the largest stems leading to the root system with undiluted ivy and brush killer which will kill the plant and limit chemical exposure since I wouldn't be blindly spraying it all over the yard.

He said this worked very well for him and he was able to plant successfully in the location after the fact. Outside of this forum, this seems to be the popular approach to take.

Thanks so much for your advice and consideration in this matter! My family and I really appreciate it>

... and we'll forgive you for being a Red Sox fan (J/K)
 
  #6  
Old 04-12-10, 12:10 PM
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For another opinion why not contact a couple of reputable local landscapers to get some options and cost estimates. Estimates are free and I'm sure they have run in to your situation before. Also, they will be quicker to finish the job than you would as a DIYer and your wife may appreciate that.
 
  #7  
Old 04-12-10, 12:28 PM
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Thanks Kerry. I'm exploring this route as well. I've contacted a local landscaping company who performed the same services for a close friend of mine who will vouch for their reliability, character, product quality, etc. Looking to schedule an estimate this week. I'm going to see what kind of price they come up with but I'm inclined to go the DIY route if it's going to be too expensive. Like you said, there's no downside to getting a free estimate.
 
  #8  
Old 04-12-10, 06:43 PM
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I am not an expert, but I have been told to apply Roundup before you cut everything back. It allows the plants to absorb more killer to feed to the roots. After it has started to show signs of working, cut off the weed tops or mow to expose the ground. It does not take too long to start working.

It seems to make sense, but that does make it true. - Just an offering.

Dick
 
  #9  
Old 04-13-10, 07:35 AM
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Thanks. I am going to talk to a landscaper before I do anything. What he tells me will likely influence the approach I take. Everything I've heard seems like a good idea (except one person told me to burn it) so I just need to make a decision I guess.
 
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