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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

can English ivy be safely recycled?

I have a significant area by the back fence that is being taken over by neighbor's English ivy. I was sitting on the patio staring at the invasion and decided that it just HAS TO GO. :evil:

So let's say I'm just going to do this the hard way -- rip it out with loppers, hedge scissors, and muscle. Is there any way to make use of the substantial amount of vine and leaf? Just piling them on the brush pile will no doubt result in losing the brush pile to the green monster :lol:

Ideas I've been tossing around -- run them thru the chipper shredder? Will every little piece take root? (I actually don't have one right now -- looking to buy a McCulloch this fall -- nobody seems to have one in stock until then...) Coil them up and put them in black trash bags (with holes and maybe bokashi like someone said with fall leaves -- I'll have to get hold of some...) and let them sit until fall?

Should I give up the whole idea and just bundle them up for the township's brush collection?

Do you think it would help to cover the whole area with dark plastic or other non-light penetrating material... tarp? Or even double cover that with clear plastic -- like soil solarizing for a few weeks first? Would that weaken the ivy somewhat? Ideally, if they would just DIE underneath, maybe I could just sheet compost on top of them afterwards....

What do you think?:?:

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Well, I know that the plant is highly invasive. My thoughts are to burn it. If you send it to the city compost it will just present the same problem there.

Good for you for removing it though, I often advise against planting IVY. I can't stand it. It has taken over several forests here in Victoria.

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1023
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:50 pm
Location: England

:D Loved your post applestar, very funny.

English Ivy? no idea why everyone hates it so much :wink:

Loppers, hedge scissors and muscle will get you halfway there. Solarising will kill it a little bit more, Covering with black plastic and maybe a synthetic carpet on top might finally do the trick but it will take a long time. You could add a bucketful of vinegar into the equation if there is nothing nice growing nearby. Give it 3 months before taking a peek, probably 6 months to be on the safe side.
As for the bits you chop off you could put them through a shredder then leave them on a plastic sheet in the sun to cook. protect from rain until completely dessicated and then add it to your compost....or burn it!

I am English BTW and would like to apologise on behalf of us all for shipping it over to you. :lol:

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

When we lived in Berkeley (1980-1997), I had regularly bouts with English ivy, removing it by the cubic YARD on a quarterly basis. See, we couldn't take it ALL out, down to the roots, b/c it was holding the north property line fence up, but other than that it was a PIT...B :wink: .

Although I do put *many* plants into my compost, I DO NOT NOR HAVE I EVER put English ivy into my compost.

This unholy stuff can sprout from a root, a twig, a no no no do NOT put it into your compost. Give it to the city. The city's windrows, I guarantee (unless you have masses of land) will get much hotter than your compost heap/pile/bin ever will and will kill that stuff dead.

OK. Got that off my chest...

Cynthia H.
El Cerrito, CA
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Being that I couldn't bear to throw them away, and it's just been WAY too hot to do much else, I've been systematically yanking as much as I can, then simply piling them on top of each other. Each time, I've made the pile smaller and taller and denser so that the AREA covered by the ivy has mostly been reduced to a 4' x 4' pile in one area and 3' x 6' pile in another.

The ivy in the interior of the piles has been dying off so that the piles keeps getting shorter. I think I'll keep to the minimum active compost dimensions, clip off the outside growth and pile on top, turn the pile if I feel the need for extra heavy-weight exercise 8) , and see what happens.

Even though they're not being eliminated completely, things are looking better already. :wink:

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1938
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

I've seen decent results from sheet-mulching an ivy-covered hillside - with multiple (like 10) layers of cardboard on the bottom, and a couple feet of leafmulch on top...deep and heavy. this is all after cutting out as much of the above-ground stuff as possible.

as far as actually using the ivy goes, seems like if you can dry it out without it contacting the ground, it should be fine for composting after it's dead. throw it on top of a loose brushpile during drought conditions, maybe, or hang it on the clothesline for a few summer days? just ideas there.

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