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English Ivy Plants

Q.I have 2 unrelated questions

Zone 6 | AngeDange added on May 14, 2012 | Answered

I have 2 unrelated questions. The first one is in regards to 30-year privet hedges in my yard that look dead because the foilage did not return this spring. Actually there are 2 hedge plants out of 10 that did not return. I checked the stems, branches and roots for any sign of fungus and found none. Any insight into what is going on and what I should do would be helpful. The second question. . . How can I get rid of English ivy INEXPENSIVELY on a neighboring aboandoned property so that it doesn’t contnue to creep onto my property?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 21, 2012

It is possible that the hedges succumbed to plain old age. Plants, like animals, have a set lifespan. At 30 years old, these hedges would be on the older side though not quite to their expected lifespan. But old plants will be more susceptible to disease and environmental issues. Cold, wind and water may have killed these two plants because they were too weak to handle it over the winter.

A fungus is still possible. A fungus does not always present symptoms (there are many, many fungus that can damage, weaken or kill a plant). But it may also have been pests (again, attacking the weaker plants) or damage from rodents where they removed bark or even girdled the stem.

As for the ivy, if it is possible to mow it, repeatedly mowing it will eventually kill it (not to mention keep it from growing onto your property). Another option is to spray it with bleach or salt the area, though salt will kill everything and will make the area unsuitable for growing anything else. Boiling water is another option, but it can be time consuming hauling pots of boiling water to kill large areas of vegetation.

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