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Will Ivy Damage My Fence?

Do you likve the look of ivy but worried it might ruine your fence? Read on to learn about types of ivy, what causes the damage and how to prevent it.

Distressed wooden fence with bright green ivy growing on in

Ivy is a popular plant with many uses. However, it can also become a nuisance if it isn’t kept under control. It’s essential when growing ivy to know what will happen to any surrounding trees, fences, or other plants that may come into contact with the ivy.

Read on to learn more about ivy and its intruding and interesting relationship with fences!

As a general rule, as ivy grows, the vines can wrap around and penetrate the crevices of a fence. This can cause damage to the fence. This can be particularly problematic for wooden fences, as wood rot sets in and absorbs moisture from the plant. The weight of the plant can also cause extra pressure on the structure of a fence, which could lead to a collapse.

Ivy Damages Fences in What Ways?

Many people welcome ivy as an attractive addition to the garden, but it can damage fences and other structures when it gets out of hand. When ivy starts to climb up a fence, it can be a big problem. It is vital to keep it under control by trimming away any sections climbing up the fence.

As ivy climbs up a fence, its aerial roots can dig into the wood, causing damage. If left alone, these roots will grow larger and make their way deeper into the wood. As a result, the wood can eventually rot or decay around the roots.

The plant’s vines tend to grow toward any surface they come into contact with, suitable for this context. The longer they get, the more weight they gain, which puts additional pressure on the surface that they are growing on. This constant pulling effect stresses the wood and makes it more likely for a weak section of the fence to break off or for cracks to form in the structure.

Too Covered Up?

Probably the most common type of damage caused by the ivy plant is its ability to cover the surface of a fence and block out sunlight. The lack of the sun causes the fence to decay, leading to rot and instability. The situation is especially true if you have an old wooden fence.

Should I Allow Ivy to Grow on My Fence?

While ivy may be great for walls, it’s not the best choice for fences. This is because the weight of the plant can cause your fence to sag over time. In addition, it will cover any cracks or imperfections in your fence, making it challenging to repair.

If you want a woody vine in your garden, choose one with smaller leaves and less aggressive than ivy. Grapevines are an excellent option, as are wisteria and climbing roses.

Is There Anything I Can do About My Neighbors Ivy Growing Through Their Fence?

If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, try talking to them first and ask them to cut it back. Otherwise, start cutting it back yourself. Or, if they’re neglectful and it’s causing damage (like if it’s pulling the fence down), then you can sue them for the cost of repairing it.

Use a physical barrier. You can maintain a barrier between your house and the ivy by carefully trimming the ivy away and then installing bird netting against the wall. This will stop any new ivy from growing onto your property. For more information, see our advice on barriers.

What Is The Most Damaging Ivy for Wood Fences?

Potted ivy plant hanging from eve of home

English Ivy. This evergreen climber has dark green leaves and berries. The plant can grow in partial shade, but it prefers direct sun. English ivy grows well, even on neglected fences and walls. However, vigorous growth may damage the structure of the wall or fence. If you want to grow English ivy on your fence, make sure you train it properly to avoid damage.

Algerian Ivy

Close up of Alergian Ivy, green and white leaves

Algerian ivy has similar growing requirements as English ivy but can damage wooden fences because of its aggressiveness. The leaves are glossy green and have three lobes like poison oak leaves. Algerian ivy can grow to a height of 40 feet with large leaves up to 3 inches long. While this makes an attractive addition to your garden, it may not last long on a wooden fence because of its aggressive growth habit that may be overwhelming to the fence.

Will Star Jasmine Damage a Fence?

Close up of Star Jasmine, green leaves with small star shaped white flowers

Will Star Jasmine damage a fence? It definitely will. You have to keep in mind that wood fences can be damaged over time. Unless you intend to leave your fence in place permanently, I would not recommend planting over it.

Will Virginia Creeper Damage a Fence?

Close up of green Virginia Creeper plant

Virginia Creeper’ is an example, since this plant can be both heavy and strong. Over time, climbers can become heavier, and wooden fences may not be able to withstand the weight. Climbers with woody vines are capable of breaking wooden fences because of their strength.

What is The Best Way to Fix Ivy Ruin on Your Fence?

You can save your fence if you remove all the ivy from the damaged area and treat it before any permanent damage occurs.

 Step 1

 Remove all ivy from the damaged parts of your fence with a garden rake or hoe. Trim them back to their roots with pruning shears if any plants are still alive—cut away any dead plants or roots left on the fence with shears or a shovel.

 Step 2

 Inspect your fence for signs of damage. Cracks or splitting in wooden boards indicates rot. Dispose of any damaged panels and replace them with new ones of the same size and shape. Nail them into place with galvanized nails to prevent rust stains on your wood.

 Step 3

 Brush a coat of wood preservative onto all exposed areas of your fence after you have finished repairing the damage caused by the ivy. Use a paintbrush large enough to cover a wide area in one stroke to make this chore more efficient.

Does Ivy Need to be Removed From My Fence?

The best way to determine whether or not you should remove the ivy from your wooded fence is by checking how much damage it has done so far. If you see that the ivy has grown thorns or any other spiky protrusions and they are scraping the fence, then you may want to remove the ivy before it damages your fence too much (unless you’re not concerned about the fence). It is also advisable to observe any signs of pests such as rats or mice because they can breed in the ivy and cause more damage if left alone.

 If necessary, you will need to cut off all of the ivies with pruning shears or a hedge trimmer. So that only a few inches remain at its base (where it attaches to your fence). Then pull up roots from underneath with your hands until they come out quickly without using too much force. This ensures there isn’t anything left behind that could rot into place later on, causing further problems down the line!

How to Prevent Ivy Damage

Ivy can damage your fence, but how can I prevent it? Ivy on a fence can look beautiful, but it can also cause damage. If you have ivy growing up on your fence and don’t want it to do any harm, you can take steps to prevent this from happening.

Preventing the Roots from Growing into the Fence

Once the ivy roots grow into a fence, they can cause significant damage. You can keep this from occurring by ensuring the ivy roots do not touch the fence at all.

Stop the Vines from Growing into Your Fence

Put a wide plastic or rubber barrier between the ground and your fence to prevent roots from growing through. You may need to dig up some soil to make this barrier.

Alternatively, you could use wire mesh instead of plastic or rubber.

Once installed, this barrier should be checked every so often as it may move due to wind or other factors. You must check around the bottom of the fence for any new shoots of ivy that may be growing underneath it.

Cutting Back Ivy Vines

To prevent your ivy from damaging your fence panels, you should cut back the top growth and prune the bottom of the vine so that it’s not touching the ground. You should also treat any wood that has been exposed by cutting back.

The Best Way to get Rid of Ivy

Whether you’re dealing with poison ivy, English ivy, or another type of climbing vine, the best way to get rid of ivy is with chemical control. Various herbicides will kill ivy vines, but because ivy can grow over trees and up the sides of houses, you’ll also need some mechanical equipment to get rid of it.

Step 1

Choose an herbicide that contains glyphosate, imazapyr, triclopyr, or a combination of these chemicals, all of which are effective against ivy roots.

Step 2

Put on gloves and protective eyewear. Pour about 1/4 cup of herbicide into a spray bottle. Spray any exposed ivy leaves until they are soaking wet. Before rinsing them off with water from a garden hose spray nozzle, let them sit for an hour.

Step 3

Herbicide should be sprayed on exposed areas of the plant, following the instructions on the label for dilution rates and safety precautions. Allow the plant to die back over several weeks before removing it.


Ultimately, how ivy will affect any given fence will depend on the exact species of ivy you have and how it grows in your local area. This means that it may be hard to say conclusively whether or not ivy will damage your fence, but understanding some critical factors may help you make a more educated decision. The ideal way to find out is to try it yourself with a trial run. If you do try growing ivy on your fence, take pictures before and after so you can see the effects of local soil, precipitation, etc. Keep notes if you have time—it could be helpful in the future! Good luck!