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When is the best time to give ivy a brutal prune without killing it?

B3B3 Posts: 25,155
Most of the length of one side of my garden has an ivy clad fence - various types -  which I want to keep.
However, it's about a foot away from the fence now and I would like it closer.

Provided there's no nesting birds, when is the best time to prune it, and is it safe to go right back to the fence in one go?
Ps. I know many of you are desperate to get rid, but I like my green wall😊
In London. Keen but lazy.


  • madpenguinmadpenguin Posts: 2,497
    I prune my ivy anytime it gets too much!
    Don't think you will have a chance of killing it.
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,155
    I'd like to avoid the brown sticks for a couple of years look if I can @madpenguin. I was wondering if there's a time when it's likely to green up quicker.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,005
    I use it as part of my 'green wall' too B3. I just prune bits as and when necessary, but you can go in quite hard without any ill effects. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,981
    I have ivy cascading down my stone wall and I prune it whenever it is getting out of hand and it always finds it’s way back. 
    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,155
    My worry is that my OH cut a chunk out many years ago and it was about three years before it greened up again. I keep the young growth pruned  but I'd like to go back some more to give the plants in front a bit more space.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,720
    Sooner rather than later ... we moved in here in early July ... the fences were covered with ivy that badly needed trimming .., a week after we moved in there was a heavy thunderstorm and the weight of the wet ivy pulled the whole length of fence down, from the house wall right along to the  back fence.  The whole fence had to be replaced. 

    Get it cut back asap.  😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • B3B3 Posts: 25,155
    It's holding the fence up, I think! It's my neighbour's fence and which side planted the ivy is lost in the mists of time and previous owners. horrible concrete posts and roots both sides of the fence so I think it'll stand up. Maybe.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • JacquimcmahonJacquimcmahon Posts: 969
    edited June 2019
    I cut my mums ivies back hard last year (three kinds intertwined). I took out the thickest stems I could with hand sécateurs then only about 1in 3 of the biggest stems with a saw! (Scary for me who hates being heavy handed). 

    Already by this spring you can’t see where I cut, but the growth is much more lush and easy to train tight to the fence. I did more in May and she says it is already hidden... planning on the last third when I’m over in August. 

    truth is is even I can’t seem to kill it no matter when I do it.
    Marne la vallée, basically just outside Paris 🇫🇷, but definitely Scottish at heart.
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,155
    That's a comfort @Jacquimcmahon
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,054
    One part of my garden is a 'green-wall' consisting of Ivy (Hedera helix 'Goldheart') ; striking variegation .
    I've cut it back brutally to keep it in trim (early Spring) ; always recovers and looks lush .
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