Since we moved into our old Brookside Tudor I've been trying to kill, destroy, demoralize, wound, or at least come to an agreement with the English Ivy that covers our front yard. Seeing how "enhanced interrogation tactics" aren't an option in negotiating with this terrorist, I'm being forced to resort to go medieval in my tactics.
Imagine your yard being covered by a giant wicker basket. But the wicker is so tangled its as if a highly motivated, schizophrenic basket weaver completed the task. Now drive that wicker deep into the earth with railroad stakes. Finally cover the wicker with waxy leaves that are so tough they would laugh wildly in the face of the sharpest, most menacing machete.
During a web search I came across several forums where homeowners and landscapers were searching for communal support while they shared stories of defending a leafy assault on their lawns and trees. My favorite comment came from a person identified as "mdshank" on a forum for contractortalk.com. This person shared that using some strong weed-killing chemicals would probably work, but "nothing would grow in that spot for years." OK, that sounds less than ideal. Mr. Positivity went on to say that he was "pretty sure that English Ivy springs straight from the depths of hell." I guess I better start praying about this.
Some of the other comments and suggestions I read on contractortalk.com, and other forums, were great. One person said that dousing your lawn in diesel fuel would work wonders. The only drawbacks I could think of would be the poisoning of the water table, your lawn smelling like the neighborhood refinery, possible fines and/or jail time, and the potential that a flicked cigarette butt would turn your home into a 4th of July celebration.
Clearly, others are struggling with English Ivy. I've sought anecdotes from people in my neighborhood who might have claimed victory over this scourge, but have had little success. During a family walk I saw an older gentleman who was seeding and spreading hay over a sloping area of his front yard. As we approached I cordially greeted him and asked, "Do you have leprosy? Because I do! Maybe we can form a leprosy support group! We'll be the charter members." He screamed, "Leper!" and then sprayed me with his garden hose until I could scurry out of range. At least this was how I remember it feeling. The topic at hand may have been English Ivy as opposed to a Biblical affliction.
Our son, Teddy, will soon move from his current phase of mobility, which resembles a drunken rolly poly, into full-on running, tag-playing, ball-chasing toddler. My visions are of him taking-off in a sprint across our front yard and face planting only to sit up, teary eyed and spitting out ivy leaves. This traumatic running failure would almost certainly halt all athletic premonitions and destine him for a life as an "indoorsy" kid. I can't let this happen!
I am happy to report that I have made progress on the east side of our front lawn. Most of the ivy in this patch looks either dead or extremely ill. My next move will be to start yanking the dishonored carcass from the earth using my hands and an old tool or two. If I start feeling too proud of myself, all I have to do is look to the west side of my yard. The English Ivy in this region apparently invited its hillbilly cousin to crash in my yard. Virginia Creeper has decided to move-in with the English Ivy! Yes, my ivy is growing ivy.