I have some trees and walls which have decades' worth of ivy growth. Some trees in particular have ivy stems as thick as my forearm, and the tree is almost invisible.

I plan to start by chopping the stems so the ivy will die back. But I'm not sure what tools are best. I tried with loppers but they can't get round the whole stem as it is tightly stuck on. I used a pruning saw on the thick ones on a tree trunk but for thinner stems, or those on a flat wall, it doesn't work so well.

I was wondering about a power strimmer or a hand-axe... but I don't want to damage my tools or my walls. However there are so many stalks that I want an efficient approach, not having to delicately attend to each stem. The idea of a single chop from a hand-axe to each stem seems attractive.


1 Answer 1


Forget about a line trimmer. The rotating plastic string thing? There are brush cutters with rotating metal disc cutters but I've only used those like one would use a scythe; a fast swinging hack. Doesn't sound applicable.

There are 'baby chainsaws' used to prune trees way up high. The ones I've used are on long poles that would make what you want to do unwieldly and tiring.

My first thought was using a hedge trimmer; 2 reciprocating long thin blades. Easier to put between the ivy and the fence or tree and pull away from the fence or tree. Then you said there were branches the size of your forearm. You the hedge trimmer works fine for up to 1/2 inch diameter material but not the size of your forearm. Depending on how many of these thick mature vine stems you have to cut (a pruning saw will give you a workout) possibly the use of a small chainsaw (the 'baby' size) combined with a hedge trimmer. Both of these can be found at a good rental company.

I'd use the chain saw to cut the ivy vines as near to the ground as possible. If you allow the separated vine material to die, it will be far easier to pull off the tree and fence later. B&D Alligator

I had to go peek at what is newly available these days. This caught my attention and it is only $80 bucks! And although gas equipment is my go to choice, you pay the price for better power in weight. For what you are doing this looks like...the 'bees knees'? The right tool for the job? You want one tool that you can control easily. Take a look and let us know what you think. Do you want to kill all of it? Leave a bit on your fence? Killing the roots is another part of your problem but we need to know more details such as how close other plants to your ivy and roots? Please send a picture or two.

  • OK. Dang it would be nice to know what someone thought was wrong to mark this down. What would be better? Surely, I do not think I have all of the answers! Without a picture, stabbing in the dark so to speak, this all makes sense. The Alligator looks fascinating.
    – stormy
    May 9, 2017 at 21:59
  • Hi stormy! I like it when people explain their downvotes to me too, or at least when someone else explains what they think might have happened. To me this looks on-topic and helpful, so I upvoted. Hopefully someone else will help you understand the downvote. May 10, 2017 at 2:54
  • You are a doll. Totally perplexing when I thought this answer was doable even without pictures. Did you look at this Alligator? Guess it is BATTERY operated and to recharge you just plug it in. Way cool. The downside to electric tools not to mention low power is dragging a cord around the yard! This is a combination chainsaw with grasping guards! Need pictures to be able to help Mr. Boy answer his question better, of course. I think I've just irritated a few people, but oh, well. Tis the cost of low PC powers and just being me, sigh.
    – stormy
    May 10, 2017 at 18:46
  • The cutting head on my pole saw is removable. I made a new short handle for it so as to use it for sawing or cutting stuff close to the ground. Only 1 bolt holds the saw/clip head in place, so it's an easy swap. Jul 9, 2017 at 15:25

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