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Unwanted English Ivy Hugel bed starter??

 
                  
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Just moved into a new place in Southern California within a mile or two of the ocean situated in the hills of a canyon that has seen a landslide a couple of decades ago. most of the site is on a fairly steep hill that grows tumble weeds which have to be cleared every year per the county for fire reasons. The weather is great for growing Winter and Spring with the year-round sun but temps can reach low 100's during Summer and even Fall.  I would like to repurpose the area not for annual tumbleweed growth and in a way that would help conserve water and not trigger a landslide by needing to pump tons of water during the summer to keep things alive.

Here's my situation.  the only thing that the previous owners did actively water was English Ivy that has grown up the building which was creating a locale for rodents to hang out next to the house (which I don't like) and would much prefer the space to be used for growing edibles.  So I've removed the ivy from the building and have topped and removed the foliage and find myself almost daily removing baby shoots as soon as they pop up in order to prevent it from getting more energy until I get around to digging up the roots. This last week I have been learning about hugelkultur and think trying to create sunken hugel beds could really help out with conserving water here in the Summer. Then it hit me that the ivy roots are already in ground and are pretty darn thick. Couldn't I just mulch and plant over the top thereby saving me from digging up the roots and disrupting the current soil web and helping with the watering situation?  Everything that I've read so far, though, warns against ivy in the hugel beds since it takes over.  

So my question is has anyone out there tried using existing english ivy as a hugel bed?  If so, do you recommend this given my situation? Also any other comments/ thoughts from experience would be much appreciated.


Thanks so much!
 
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Location: New Mexico USA
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Ivy will take over the bed. You have to kill it, by removing as much of the root as possible then while you have a trench there have a bit of fire to scorch the trench.  Ivy is one of those things that is insidious, and burying its roots with any mulch/compost type treatment will make it worse - not better.

Besides, if you are doing a hugelkultur might as do one that is buried. If this is on a slope then you can actually use the soil you dig out to create a berm on the slope side so you can capture that water that comes from the wet season. That water that usually leads to things like the sides of hills sliding toward the sea.

 
gardener
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Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Maybe you could use it to make bio char out of it.
 
gardener
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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You can remove ivy by mechanical methods but it is a pain. One of my most hated plants to deal with at my restoration sites. I would remove all the above ground ivy and then dig out what you can. Then try sheet mulching the ivy area and a good 3 to 5ft buffer around it to be safe. Make this mulch thick - at least 0.5ft.

For the sheet mulch I would use cardboard as the base layer but it will need to be overlapped on the edges by a fair bit. Woodchips on top of it would work well but compost or other material could do the trick. Just keep it very thick - when in doubt go thicker.

Then watch it and the moment any ivy comes up get it out. If you can remove any sprouts promptly it should be gone within a year if you remove as much as you can now and then mulch heavily.

Otherwise just keep digging out everything that comes up and it will be gone eventually.

I would wait to build a hugel bed until you got the ivy eliminated. I would hate to deal with ivy after taking the time to make the hugel bed. You could try sheet mulching and building the hugel bed at the same time. Could be fine but be careful to not leave any gaps within the hugel bed and I would make it large so there would be no chance of any ivy coming up through it.

Good luck!
 
master steward
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I can attest to annoying rizomous plants growing right up and out of hugels. I've seen bindweed grow up through 2 feet of mulch, and salmonberry branches sprout when buried in hugels, and elderberry branches still sprouting out hugels i made from them, two years earilier. And, those same type of annoying rizomonous plants do a great job of taking over a new hugel. I made one hugel on top of creeping buttercup and the thing was covered in it in a year, despite continually weeding and planting other things in it.

Lie Darren said, I'd do some serious sheet mulching on those boogers.

Another thing to know about hugels, is that many little critters love making their homes in them. Snakes, shrews, mice. I also had mice burrowing in my deep-mulched potatoes. A hugel right next to house might just give habitat to the critters you on't want so close to your house....
 
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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A spinnable barrel composter or something like that is a good way to deal with ivy and other plants that regrow from cuttings: seal it up and leave it rot, rotating periodically, and don't use any of it till it's all gone. Trumpet vine goes wild around here and that's how we dispose of it.

Yes to sheet mulching the ivy. But it may come back -- it did for us. Took a few years though.
 
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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The easiest (although not fastest) way to get rid of any plant is to cover the entire growing area with plastic or rubber and leave it in the area until the offending plant is dead.  If you don't like the way it looks, you can cover the rubber with something you can use elsewhere once the plants underneath are dead.  Wood chips work great for that.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Probably a good idea, if you use plastic, to cover it. I used plastic to kill some bindweed. After a year, the plastic got destroyed in the sun and now I have pieces of plastic everywhere. It's horrible, especially since I have ducks and am always worried they'll find some piece I missed, and they'll eat it. I don't think I'll ever use plastic again!
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Probably a good idea, if you use plastic, to cover it. I used plastic to kill some bindweed. After a year, the plastic got destroyed in the sun and now I have pieces of plastic everywhere. It's horrible, especially since I have ducks and am always worried they'll find some piece I missed, and they'll eat it. I don't think I'll ever use plastic again!



Yeah Nicole, plastic does break down badly if it's exposed to UV.  I use black rubber roofing material exclusively now.  I get it free, it never breaks down, and it's much, much stronger than plastic.
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