I've got a couple big pines that I've left get overrun by english
ivy. I've cut the vines back (a few weeks ago) all the way up to about
8' but the ivy still seems healthy.
So, should I just let this go, or should I try triclopyr. I saw this
interesting article by Ranger Dan:
Whatever kind of vine you have, there is a relatively non-toxic,
earth-friendly herbicide (weed killer) called triclopyr. This is the
technical name for the ingredient in many products. One product that is
available to the homeowner is called "Vine-X", and it works for me. It
contains vegetable oil, which makes the triclopyr penetrate bark, so all
you have to do is paint it on (with the applicator bottle) to the bottom
foot or so of the vines, and it kills the whole vine, roots and all.
It's amazing. You don't have to go about spraying, with all the dangers
of drift onto desireable vegetation and people. Triclopyr breaks down in
the soil quickly, leaving no residue, and according to the online report
on pesticide safety, it is virtually non-toxic to people and mammals.
The U.S. Park Service uses it in combating alien plants, so you know
it's environmentally benign. I work at a nature education facility,
where we use it in wetlands. It is the herbicide of choice for use near
water. I have been using a professional formulation called Pathfinder
(basically the same formulation as Vine-X in bulk), and it has
successfully killed the many invasive alien plants that I trunk-painted
with it. It will kill even trees with trunks up to 6" in diameter, as
well as most other vegetation except for most grasses, so you do need to
be careful what it touches. Be careful not to get it onto any roots or
leaves of anything you want to keep.