On the boundary of our property are trees approaching 100 feet high. Some are badly infested with ivy to the extent the canopy is almost solid and the trunk and branches are twice their true size, blocking out a lot of light.

The ivy is as thick as my arm at ground level. Clearing it from the tree is not practical but would cutting it at the ground have any effect? Is there anything I could put on the cut ends that would get sucked up and poison the plant higher up?


If you cut all the stems and branches of the ivy at the base of the tree, the upper parts of the ivy will go brown and die - but unfortunately, much of it will remain, dead, affixed to the tree. You might decide its worth doing anyway, but you will need to regularly cut down ivy regrowth at the base of the trees.

  • Good to know, I was worried air roots might keep it alive! I suppose over time the dead leaves at least will drop though the stems might last for many years?
    – Mr. Boy
    Apr 29 '17 at 16:07
  • Yep, it'll be the stems that remain, stubbornly rooted into the bark of the tree, although they're only attachment 'roots' they don't take nourishment from the bark
    – Bamboo
    Apr 29 '17 at 19:03

What you describe is decades of growth. Take a saw or an axe at whatever height is convenient and sever the connection/s between root and foliage. If you can then wait a couple of years the ivy will lose adhesion and become brittle so even sections of two inch girth can be snapped off quite readily. The problem however is that the ivy will probably be wrapped around the trunk so you will not be able to peel the lot off in one go but have to do so in sections – if you want it removed. Light levels should be improved just by leaf fall within a year. Because reaching anything like 100 feet takes years repeating the process should not be necessary for years at a time.

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