I swore I’d never buy a house with walnut trees or ivy in my yard. Why? Because the rental I’d been living in for the past three years had both. And both were problematic.
Yakima, Washington has a rat problem. You heard me right. Rats! However, these aren’t rats that scavenge through garbage. These rats like to eat nuts. They’re like squirrels without the cute bushy tails. The rats also love to live in thick bushy places. So the rats lived in the ivy and ate the walnuts. It was a perfect haven for them.
My dog, Shep, used to chase them up and down the fence line, but the ivy always kept them covered. Shep got hours of amusement from the rats. But once the rats started moving in the basement it was no fun anymore.
I was a little disappointed to discover a small walnut tree in the front yard of the my new home, and ivy growing on the back side of the garage. Who the hell would plant ivy on the back side of their garage?
I decided I’d have to live with the walnut tree. But the ivy was actually growing into the garage in a few places, between the top of the cinder-block wall and the framing of the rafters. There were also a couple spots where the ivy was actually beginning to grow in between the cinder blocks. This can be very damming to the structural integrity of a building. The ivy had to go. Before I moved in, I decided I was going to attack the it. I posted my dilemma on Facebook. The biggest response was, “Good luck.”
I started researching ways to kill ivy:
I studied the forums and websites and found many opinions about how to kill ivy. I read everything from covering the ivy with mulch or dark plastic to digging it up by the roots to spraying it with vinegar. But the consensus seemed to be that you need to cut it back and then spray it with weed killer mixed with a sticky substance to penetrate the waxy leaves. Oh what fun!
I started by ripping and tearing the ivy off the cinder-block wall. The stuff clings. It really clings. It clings like an unwelcome guest. My daughter says it’s creepy. She’s right. I don’t know why anyone would want ivy growing up their walls.
I ripped the majority of the ivy down from the wall and cut many of the vines off near the ground. But this was late October and the weather was getting cold. I decided to leave the project to complete in the spring. I’ll be cutting, scraping, and spraying. Sometime later this year, I’ll be posting another segment of this ongoing saga: “Homeowner vs. The Ivy, Part 2.” I hope you’ll join me on the journey home.
Have you ever dealt with ivy? How did you get rid of it?
Next post: Moving Day