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Beautiful evergreen leaves, high-climbing stems and a rich green to contrast brick; ivy on the walls of your home may give the property a dreamlike forest touch.


However, in reality, the weed can create a long-term problem for any homeowners expecting to sell.


What is ivy?

English ivy is a common climbing plant, able to grow 20-30m in height. Because it is an evergreen plant, ivy does not lose its leaves in the winter.


The problem with ivy


How does ivy damage physical property?

Supporting itself by aerial roots that burrow into gaps in material, ivy’s root systems can crawl into cracks in bricks, gaps in walls and weak spots in structure, exacerbating any holes in your home.

If your home has sound masonry and minimal damage to bricks, ivy may not cause any significant damage, however another problem may arise: the weed can also be difficult to remove. It can grow in areas out-of-reach or require weedkillers that are toxic to the environment surrounding.

Professional ivy removal can cost £350.

Additionally, English ivy can take only 3 months to establish before growing 9 feet annually. If not removed initially, unwanted ivy can turn from a minor blemish to a rapidly expanding problem on your property.


Other issues caused by ivy

As well as causing potential damage to your physical property, ivy is also a significant attacker of the overall value of your home. By blocking drains or clogging crucial plumbing pipes, the plant can cost greatly in repairs.

A house completely overrun by ivy due to a lack of care can be unattractive to potential buyers due to high removal costs and maintenance – therefore control or removal of ivy is key.

However, in very rare cases, those wanting an extra challenge may buy a dilapidated house consumed with ivy to attempt renovation. In February 2024, a house in Birmingham dubbed an ‘unofficial safari park’ by a neighbour was purchased despite a rampant ivy problem for 7 times its asking price.


What does the law say?

Contrary to other wall-climbing weeds like Japanese knotweed, ivy is legal to grow on your property. However, due to its swift growing, ivy can quickly move onward from your property to your neighbour. Any encroaching of ivy onto a neighbour’s property can warrant a legal claim or disputes due to diminution.

If you want ivy on your property, regular maintenance is key.


How to remove ivy

Although it may be tempting, tearing a strip of ivy from a wall by hand is not advised. English ivy is poisonous to touch – causing skin irritation, and quick, rough removal can cause further wall damage.

Another method of removal is by using a lawn mower or manually trimming any roots at the ground. Severing ground roots creates a lack of water to the ivy, which dries it out over time – leaving dry remains which are easy to scrape or gently peel from a wall.

Weedkiller use is an alternative way of removing roots and drying out ivy, however this can be toxic to pets or nearby wildlife. As an alternative, lemon juice is an effective natural weedkiller, though can kill surrounding plants if care is not taken.


Further reading

Our sister firm, Oakwood Solicitors, has a detailed resource on ivy and the issues it can cause legally. Read this information here on the Oakwood Solicitors Ltd website.



To make a start on the next step in your property journey, get in touch today to book a consultation with a member of our team. Call us on 0113 218 5727 to find out how we can help you.

Article by: Grace Gallagher