With the promise of a fine weekend for garden work I decided this was THE weekend to tackle the ivy slope.
When we first purchased this house on half-acre lot the back slope was entirely covered with blackberry bramble. Nasty, nasty stuff. It had crawled up some built-in terraces which we didn’t realize were there until we removed the bramble. It took a couple of years with a brush-whacker to clear out most of it. For awhile it was a weedy slope and then…the ivy appeared. We were in the midst of rearing busy school-age kids so we just ignored it, oblivious to the tendrils knitting their way through the soil.
Cut to a couple of years ago when I realized we could, and should, do something with this slope. It has the potential to offer some visual interest as well as habitat for birds. My measly efforts to remove the ivy, crouching uphill, playing tug-of-war with the vines, only resulted in a sense of defeat and a case of severe stiff joints. No way could we do this alone. Time to re-think the plan.
I generally do not spray with chemicals but in order to really eradicate the ivy so that it would not out compete the plants I wanted to grow drastic action was called for. Enter the folks at Sound Native Plants. SNP does a lot of restoration work and slope stabilization. They would spray for us and we would do the clearing out. So last October we had SNP come out and spray the ivy and the blackberry that was attempting a comeback. We were told it would take some months to see the dieback.
On a recent post-snow foray down to ivy territory I found many of the vines had turned black. Not only that but many strands pulled right out of the soil, or the mat of vines lifted right up, like a toupee. Hurray! And so after a few hours of working uphill, trying to maintain balance, and cutting a swathe out, it was so gratifying to see that ivy go.