I want to place some plants in the borders of my terrace garden. The house has a large amount of ivy running up the side of the terrace. When tilling the soil, I've discovered that it's completely full of tiny, fine roots, spreading out from the thicker ivy roots. I've cut out some of the clumps of fine roots and some of the thicker ones too that have grown throughout the soil. However, am aware that it will all rapidly grow back as the main source has been left untouched.

Is it possible to actually plant anything in this soil or will the profusion of ivy roots prevent anything from growing?

3 Answers 3


Ivy is almost impossible to remove. There are a few ways to deal with Ivy . . .

The easiest way for you, since you have already dug out and removed a lot of Ivy roots, is to just keep careful watch for any Ivy foliage that has started to grow back in the area you don't want it in and remove it. Other plants can grow around the Ivy roots if the growth of the Ivy is kept in check. Choose plants that can grow with shallow root systems, like Impatiens and Moss Roses.

Another way is to spray herbicide directly on the Ivy roots. You would have to be very careful not to allow the herbicide to touch the roots of any plants you want to keep. Herbicides only last for a short time so you would have to keep spraying the Ivy roots every few weeks. This may or may not interfere with you growing other plants in that area, depending on the specific plants you want to grow there.

Finally, you can cover the area with about 6 or 7 inches of mulch. The mulch will block the sunlight and prevent the Ivy from growing back. However, it will also keep any other plants from growing there too. I have used mulch to keep Ivy from growing in places that I didn't want it to and then just not put down mulch in the places I wanted to allow Ivy to grow.


You definitely can plant new items on your terrace garden--but it may take some time. If you're comfortable, you can first spray the area with a chemical herbicide such as glyphosate--but this is optional as I do not typically do this. If a chemical herbicide is not an option for you because you're going to plant something you will eventually eat or your not comfortable with glyphosate, then you can try to remove all the vines and as many of the roots as you possibly can. After that mulch the bed with 2-3 layers of card board and add a heavy layer (1-2 feet) of wood chip mulch. This should do the trick. But you'll have to monitor and continue to remove any new vines that develop. I'd wait about 2-3 months until to landscape the area.


Interesting question; the soil may be depleted, so when refilling, maybe consider fresh soil. Before refilling the hole, place a thin vertical solid plastic barrier material around the perimeter of the excavated hole to stop/slow incursion of new roots, that extends down deeper than the bottom of the hole. The hole would have to be deep enough to discourage vertical upsprouts of ivy from remaining roots. A barrier on the bottom of the hole might also be beneficial. With the soil preparation the garden should be fine!

Would suggest Not using any artificial spray etc on the ivy roots: doing so would make the hole unsafe to work in & around, it might eventually get into the water supply, it might ruin the ivy extending up the walls, which would then need to be removed, and would leave an unsightly gap in the live ivy growth on the wall. For a long while nothing would grow well in the hole, and if it finally did, it would be unsafe to handle or to tend.

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