From the Forum – Dealing with Neighbor’s Intrusive Ivy


Neighbor’s Intrusive Ivy:

My neighbor has ivy growing up the side of my row house. I understand that I have the right to cut down the ivy (correct me if I’m wrong), the problem is 1) I need to get into the neighbor’s yard to do so and 2) there is damage to the paint and the pointing between the bricks caused by the Ivy that now needs repairs. As you can imagine, the neighbor is turning a deaf ear to the problem. Any advice (other than contacting a lawyer)? Can I go to small claims court?

29 Comment

  • Your neighbor is turning a deaf ear because ivy is a big pain the ass and getting rid of it permanently is a major undertaking.

    I think the cheapest way to go about this is to talk to them and offer to get rid of the ivy and plant something else low maintenance in its place. Yes, that will cost you money, but probably less money than a lawyer.

    • haha are YOU the neighbor who’s turning a deaf ear? 🙂

      • but that would be brilliant. but no. I hate ivy too, except when they’re growing on old ass stone buildings. Like in college.

        If you want a shady advice – I would sneak into the neighbor’s house and poor bleach on the yard where the ivy’s growing. Though I’m not sure that would work.

        • What? Does that involve rounding up a bunch of pasty-skinned low-income folks and dumping them on the neighbors yard? Or is poor bleach a euphemism for pee?

          • Just. Terrible.

          • Sodium hypochlorite is a chemical compound with the formula NaClO. Sodium hypochlorite solution, commonly known as bleach or liquid bleach, is frequently used as a disinfectant or a bleaching agent.


    • For vinegar to be effective you should buy horticultural vinegar (20% or above). Mix in some salt also. google and you will find some online resources.

  • I had Ivy growing up my house pretty badly. I cut the roots at the ground level, left it alone for a few weeks and the entire vine died quickly. After the ivy was all dead, it was pretty easy to pull out without seriously damaging my pointing work (of course that depends on the condition of your brick pointing at the time). I have had new brick pointing done since then though, to be sure my bricks were firm after the last earthquake, and the Ivy never grew back.

    You may want to discuss this technique with your neighbor before starting a court battle to see if they would like to get rid of the entire plant on their side too. They would have to be on board if the growth is truly going to stop being a problem because I’m guessing the roots start on their property.

    • PDleftMtP

      Yes. Cutting the ivy at the base works and isn’t that hard. Repointing is another question – the mortar is either chewed up or it isn’t, and how you kill the ivy won’t change that. I did have to repoint after killing the ivy.

  • I’m sorry, but this is so ridiculous. Our society has become so litigious it’s crazy. You want to take your neighbor to court over ivy? Cut it off your own house. Talk to them about eradicating it from their property. If they don’t want to, just continue to make sure it doesn’t creep over onto your property. Is that annoying? Yes. Is it even more annoying and douchey to take someone to court because they have ivy growing in their yard? Yes.

    • Mr Non – you clearly did not read the post, only the title…


    • I’m sorry, but you’re wrong, Anonymous 2:36pm. If a neighbor’s ivy is growing into MY bricks (possibly damaging my house — and he/she is “turning a deaf ear” to the problem, what would you suggest I do? Ivy can grow fast, and putting ladders up to trim it is time-consuming and difficult. The neighbor should do it, or pay for it.

      • You’d have to prove in court the ivy is or will damage your property. I think it is a myth that most ivy actually hurts brick/mortar. Now it can certainly screw up wood and drains and such. Think hard before removing it. They did that to my building on the back and it looks terrible now that it is all gone.

        You can probably require your neighbor to keep the ivy from crossing onto your property. Assuming you actually own your property (as opposed to renting or the homeowners association owning the property). But you can’t make him remove it from his own property. And you better think twice before trespassing onto his property to do anything about it.

        • FWIW, a relative of mine just recently had to repair a stone wall which collapsed due to being weakened by ivy. It’s a destructive plant, just a matter of time.

          • It’s destructive because the roots take the moisture out of the mortar, causing it to deteriorate and crumble.

  • Why do you need to go on his property to cut the ivy? Just cut it where it starts on your house. It will die and then you can easily pull off the dead vines.

  • Have you considered pepper spray? That seems to work in the upper NW.

  • Your mortar problems may or may not have been caused by the ivy. Just sayin’

  • Pictured is Virginia Creeper not might be an Ivy I guess, but anyway please see;

    • For the sited study, “The findings suggest that ivy has protective qualities for buildings that are intact; but they also showed that where walls are already damaged ivy rapidly finds its way into existing cracks and holes in walls.”

      So if your mortar is approaching the age where it decomposes and needs repointing (75-125 years old) then ivy will accelerate the damage and shorten the life of the mortar.

  • You are entitled to cut any growth that encroaches on your property (ivy, tree limbs, etc.) With some of the row houses in the city, this isn’t an uncommon issue where you can’t access the side of your house without accessing the neighbor’s yard.

    It really comes down to being neighborly and cooperating. If he/she is turning a blind eye, it may simply be because they don’t care. And if that’s the case, they may not care letting you in their back yard if you ask. A bottle of wine or a six-pack can open many a neighbor’s door.

    Try being nice first, and second. Suing will get you a defensive neighbor and zero cooperation now and in the future, if not an eternal enemy. This is a simple fix, the next one may not be. Build goodwill for the day when it’s truly needed.

  • all you need to do is casually spray one leaf with Round-Up and the whole thing will be dead within hours.

  • Normally, to deal with ivy in your own yard, you could do a couple of things:

    1. Cut the ivy at the base of the house where it is starting to crawl up the side. Anything above that point will die and you can easily (or more easily) pull it off in a few days/week or so.

    2. Haven’t tried this, but have read that after you cut the ivy and kill the ivy above, you can spray the ivy that is on the ground by using an herbicide such as Round Up. But, because the leaves of ivy are waxy, you need to step it up a notch and include 8-10 drops of Dawn Detergent which will help the herbicide stick. (2 things to note: if you are an environmentalist and don’t want to use such chemicals, substitute with Vinegar and water … still use Dawn or someother dish detergent; also, regardless of what you use could kill other plants in the vicinity so be careful.)

    3. The only other way to completely remove ivy is to dig it out of the ground repeatedly … a multi-year process because it is so pervasive.

    Is your neighbor just protesting you coming to their side of the fence and removing the ivy climbing your wall, or are they protesting having to completely remove the ivy entirely? In the neighborly spirit, they should at least let you hop the fence and clip the ivy at the base of your house.

  • Don’t really think there’s a case for a suit here. Just do your yardwork and clear it off your house. Why’d you wait until it started damaging your home to complain?

  • i suggest you go ahead and sue. Please post about the whole ideal so we can say “wouldn’t it have been easier to kill the ivy and cheaper to buy a six pack?”

  • Our neighbors house is covered in ivy. Our solution is that when the ivy touches our house, we start yanking it and yank away whatever is in reach on the neighbors house. If you do a thorough job, you won’t have to do it more than every other year. (We’ve lived in our house for 5 years and done this twice.)
    That being said, our neighbor recently told us that he had someone cut the plant at the base and several weeks later it still looks alive and happy, so I am thinking this will a long and slow death. But I was still glad he was taking this step.

  • Bleach. Next.

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