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Ivy on fence

I’ve recently bought a house and there’s a right mess of ivy on the back fence. Any ideas of how I can make this look better? 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,696
    First question is, do you own the fence, or does it belong to your neighbour?
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    If it was mine, I'd remove it completely and replace the fencing if it's badly damaged. If you pace yourself you could remove the ivy in sections yourself, using a combination of tools such as a lopper and pruning saw and then take the waste to your local recycling centre.  You'll need to remove the roots too as they are vigorous plants and have a determination to grow back!   I'd also check to see if your neighbour has shared responsibility for the fencing and is willing to contribute to its replacement.  The other more costly alternative is to get a contractor in to remove and clear.
  • Thanks. It’s my neighbours fence which is badly damaged but seems to be holding up the hedge. I popped round and they’re keen not to mess with it which is annoying as I have really messy roots and no leaves. I’d rather cut the lot out but I don’t think it’s an option.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,696
    on a plus note, Ivy is REALLY good for wildlife
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,030
    Hmm, you don't want a neighbour dispute at this early stage!  Try to tidy it up to a point where it is more pleasing to the eye. @Hostafan1 is right, ivy is one of the best plants for wildlife so that's a consolation!  Once you tidy it by some judicious pruning, it will reshoot and become greener.  I'd also consider some more attractive planting a short distance in front to lessen its dominance in your garden.  
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,230
    @alexob1984q6EOBdeH You are entitled to prune everything your side of the fence but beware of nesting birds. 
    You may have the opportunity at some point to help your neighbour by contributing to a new fence, or putting up another fence on your property. Boundary issues are one of the biggest things that neighbours fall out over, I am aware of people who have done exactly as I have suggested.
  • Thank you. I think I’ll prune it back as close to the fence as possible and see what grows back. 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,230
    @alexob1984q6EOBdeH Sounds good I have lovely neighbours and would hate to upset them!
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,192
    It’s my neighbours fence which is badly damaged but seems to be holding up the hedge.

    I would definitely not prune right back to the fence. It's likely it's not the fence holding up the ivy but the ivy holding up the fence. You can see the thick branches there. If you prune too hard it's likely the whole thing might well come down.

    There was something in front of the fence, on your side, until recently - a structure of some sort - a planter, bench seating, box storage or similar. That's the only reason the ivy looks rough.

    Talk with your neighbour and together decide how you want to manage this. Unless you and your neighbour want to take the whole fence down, pay to remove it and start again, my vote would be to keep it and tend the ivy. It can be a great, evergreen plant, good for feeding and offering habitat to wild life. It won't take long to green up over the places where the sun did not reach before.
    I had a similar situation in my own garden, with a green wall, essentially being made by ivy growing over a 30 year old (inherited) fence. I warned my neighbour not to prune the ivy on his side to hard or the whole thing would fall down. He didn't listen, he sheared off his side and within a few months the whole thing collapsed. End of green wall. Some years later and I really miss it - esp as I wanted to keep it and made that clear. (It was techinally 'my side', on the right, to maintain). Yes, the neighbour was technically entitled to prune as hard as he wanted on his side, but he agreed that we would work to keep the fence and the hedge. After the fence came down I had to spend thousands removing all the ivy, and the fence and replacing the long fence, so I was not best pleased. No, he did not offer to pay half.

    My beautiful ivy hedge before:

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