Ivy is a popular foliage houseplant. It is easy
Given that it is a hardy plant and can cling easily to vertical surfaces, English ivy is often used outdoors too. It is a popular plant for 'softening' the built landscape of garden walls and houses. But householders who plant a small ivy plant at the base of a wall are heading for trouble. 10 years down the line and you will feel that ivy is taking over! Once established, it is a fast growing and invasive plant that is difficult to remove. Even with regular trimming, you will find it is a major task keeping the ivy in check. The best solution is to find an alternative to use for ground or wall cover. Once it has become well established on a wall, it can start to damage the surface, weakening it and creating ingress points for moisture. The adventitious roots (roots that develop directly from any part of the stem of the plant) cling to the surface of the bricks/mortar/stone/cladding/paintwork etc and over time, begin to penetrate. This causes the surface layers to be damaged and the longer the ivy remains in place, the worse the damage will become. Where ivy has grown up a tree, the microclimate it creates at the base is perfect for fungal infection to occur. This will, given time, weaken and even kill the tree. The only course of action is ivy removal. If you insist on doing it yourself, make sure that you wear a face mask that covers at least your nose and mouth and other protective clothing as you will find that you are showered with a vast quantity of dust as you remove the vines. It is possible to kill it by clearing just the lower 12 inches and removing the root stock from the ground. To clear vines that have grown horizontally on the ground is simply a matter of pulling them up. But leaving the slightest piece still in the ground will allow a new plant to re-sprout. Ivy removal is therefore best left to a professional team. They know exactly how to lift it in such a way that minimal damage will be done. That said, it is inevitable that some damage will result, not because of the actual clearance but more because of the plant having become well established. When romoving this plant from a tree, bark damage can result. This allows fungi and insects to penetrate more easily into the tree, shortening its life and potentially creating a weakened and therefore dangerous tree. Professional tree surgeons have techniques of ivy clearing that will minimise the damage. It is not possible to avoid damage entirely. So there you have it, DIY ivy clearance is not recommended, you need to wear protective clothing and be aware that you will damage whatever has been invaded. Then you have to figure out how to get rid of it without creating environmental problems ... call in the professionals.