Q: We recently purchased a house that has a hideous overgrowth of ivy on the brick walls and siding. How can I properly remove the ivy without damaging the restored masonry underneath?
A: Allowing ivy to grow on walls is a bad idea. The foliage holds damaging moisture close to the wall and allows critters to crawl into windows.
My best advice is to first cut the main vine trunks where they come out of the ground. The ivy on the house walls will eventually die. However, I think you should pull off the ivy now while the vines are still flexible.
In my experience, the vines pull away from surfaces best when they are young. If you wait until they are brittle, the vine will shatter as you pull and it will be a tedious job to remove them.
The Brick Institute of America says you can wait for the remaining ivy hold-fasts to dry a few weeks and then scrub them off the brick with a brush.
They caution against letting the tendrils stay on the wall for long, warning that if the rootlets are left alone too long, they will rot and oxidize, becoming nearly impossible to remove.
Ivy on Brick
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