Originally Posted on May 10, 2016
We've received several calls and emails asking if our wheel hoe would be good for removing English Ivy. Turns out that our friend Carla has been working on removing English Ivy in her garden for years. She has tried several variations on ivy removal, from using a sharp shovel to cut the runners and raking them away, to covering the ivy with large sheets of cardboard and dumping wood chips and leaves on top of the cardboard to smother the ivy.
Another option, which worked quite well (until a back injury made it unfeasible to do that type of work) was to take manual hedge shears and use them like giant scissors to cut the ivy runners in 18" wide sections along the length of the ivy, and then roll them up. All of those methods are quite labor intensive, and some are hard on the body.
When she took the wheel hoe to the ivy, and made great sections of it disappear in a few short work sessions, she was hooked. The ivy she took out was about 8" high in most places, and higher in other areas. We've made a video of the wheel hoe being used to remove ivy. Watch the video below or read on for the method.
To use the wheel hoe for ivy removal, the blade should be very sharp for the best results. Sharpen both sides of the blade, and when one side is dull you'll just have to turn the blade assembly around and you'll get more work done before having to re-sharpen the blade. Carla used the 8" tall blade assembly.
You'll have to climb right into the ivy, so dress appropriately, and wear sturdy footwear. Standing in the ivy, find a place where the runners are growing away from you. Then get the wheel hoe into a spot and push down and away. This will cut and tear the runners and make a big wad of ivy. Once you work on several sections, you'll be able to go back into the cleared area and hoe deeper to cut the roots under the surface.
The wheel hoe won't cut through those tough old stems from which the runners originate, but it will take out the runners and many of the smaller-diameter roots. A sharp shovel or a pair of loppers can get out the larger diameter pieces.
Have you used a Valley Oak Wheel Hoe to remove ivy or another invasive species? We'd love to hear your story!