Trying to yank out huge hunks of ivy doesn’t really work, because with years of growth the vines are interwoven and become stronger and almost impenetrable. You need to tackle it in stages and small quantities.
The way I do this is to sit on a cushion and work in the area immediately in front of me, which saves stress on both the back and the knees. Headphones for my music and a sun visor complete the image.
Taking up a small handful of vine, I snip both ends, and put them into a bucket or bin. Do this a number of times and then you can pull up the roots more easily. Continue the process until you have had enough and the recycling bin is fed.
tools of the trade
grab a handful
snip each end
use secateurs for older, thicker vines
another clump for the recycling bin
dig out the roots
that won’t grow again
Countless hours have been spent by me working on downsizing the ivy population. I have equated managing the garden with eating an elephant before, and once again, little by little is the key.
the last part made me think of the lyrics “break on through to the other side”
the finished path
another area completed
It has been worth the effort, with a good sense of achievement at the end, but why can’t we manage to just keep on top of things in the first place? Because:
1) we are human and
2) life gets in the way
Perhaps we should be a little more gentle on ourselves and our expectations.
You might plant an innocent little cutting, and within a few months or years it has insiduously taken over part of the garden. However, some of these plants are very attractive, so it becomes a containment issue, such as with seaside daisies, fishbone fern and in this case, English ivy. Left to its own devices up in the top tier of the back yard, it spread to such an extent that it was becoming a pest.
My circle of shame was testament to its hostile takeover, but that transformation will be revealed on New Year’s Eve. Last time it was mentioned it had become a semi-circle of shame.
The giant mountain of mulch has helped spur me on to create places in which to spread it. It’s a win-win situation, getting rid of both the pile in the driveway and creating a new look for the back yard.
A sense of order has now been restored, and will allow much easier access to pick plums.