How to Control Ivy Climbing on Walls

ivy on a brick wall
What You'll Need
Pruning shears
Scraper with a stiff blade
Brush with semi-stiff bristles
Propane torch (if desired) and goggles
Work gloves
Nonselective weed killer

Ivy comes in a number of different species. Each of these species shares some very distinctive characteristics, such as their luxuriant green color and their ability to climb and carry onward to new territory without much effort at all.

In fact, this creepy crawler may not have dozens of legs, but it certainly does seem to have a mind of its own. Ivy creeps and crawls its way around until it encompasses every available surface in its path.

Ivy does have its useful purposes. Its emerald green color brightens your home. It even has some economical use since it can help to keep your home cool in the summer and to keep it warm in the winter. Therefore, homeowners tend to like growing ivy.

However, too much is simply too much. It is best to keep the ivy under control before it takes control of your home. Even though ivy really does make a nice ground cover, it doesn't always make as nice of a cover on other things, including the walls and roof of your home.

Permanent Removal Instructions

Step 1 - Preparation and Safety

street with ivy growing up the walls

Wear work gloves at all times to protect your hands from cuts and scratches. If you need to use a ladder, make sure that it is planted firmly on level ground. Always keep one hand on the ladder to help maintain your balance. Adjust the position of the ladder rather than stretching too far to reach an area. Ideally, someone should be home and within ear's reach in the event that you should fall from the ladder.

Step 2 - Use Shears

Use pruning shears to cut back the ivy at the stems. Prune the ivy during the late winter or very early spring in order to have less ivy to deal with when pruning. If the foliage is dormant, you will have less difficulty seeing what you are doing, since new growth will not yet have begun.

Step 3 - Cut Deep

Since ivy grows quickly, you can prune aggressively. If the mortar on the wall is not in good condition, this type of aggressive pruning may cause more harm than good. In that case, you may be better off simply using a nonselective weed killer.

Step 4 - Remove Trailers

It is important to scrape any remaining tendrils from the walls. Using the scraper, work at an acute angle to remove the tendrils. Make sure that you continue to wear work gloves to avoid scraping your hand on the wall. If the angle at which you slant the scraper is not low enough, you may scrape the wall.

Use the brush with stiff bristles to scrape away any resistant tendrils of ivy. Make sure that the bristles are not too stiff, since that may also scratch the wall's surface.

Step 5 - Alternately, Use a Torch

propane torch

If you prefer, you can use a propane torch to remove the remaining tendrils of ivy from the wall. Use caution and avoid any areas that have wood or flammable materials on them. Also, avoid any cracks that exist in the wall when using the torch. Remember that the propane torch may scorch the masonry, so begin cautiously.
Step 6 - Use Weed Killer

To completely kill the ivy, spray a nonselective weed killer on the remaining roots. Be careful to protect any nearby plant growth that you wish to keep.

Selective Controlling of Ivy

If you prefer to simply control and reduce the growth of your ivy rather than permanently destroy and remove it from your walls, modify the above steps as follows. Take the aggressive approach in the areas where you wish to remove the ivy completely.

In the areas where you simply want to cut back the growth, prune the stems of the ivy carefully. Leave a sufficient number of stems for growth in the spring, and remove only the tendrils that are located in the areas where you no longer wish to have any ivy.