Common Ivy, or English Ivy
as it is sometimes known as known is a climbing plant
that is equally at home climbing a wall or a tree. Latin name Hedera
Helix. Ivy in the US is an invader species and is rated in some states as a Class C noxious weed.
effect of ivy growth on trees is always a negative one for the tree, this is for a variety of
reasons. Underground the ivy roots compete for nutrients, moisture and
space and can severely limit the tree's access to essential resources.
Ivy also prevents air reaching the bark and causes shading of leaves
is weight burden to the tree adding to the loading
and makes the tree more
vulnerable to storm damage, because of the combination of weight and
increased cross sectional area. Most of the weight of the ivy is, like
most living things due to water and if also waterlogged by rainfall,
just the water alone can weigh as much as three quarters of a ton to
the weight of the tree. Check out this blog for more
With the rapid onset of cimate change and other stress factors it is increasingly important to
optimise the growing environment for native trees and this includes removing ivy. Stunted
and damaged trees are obviously not as effective at
producing oxygen and sequestering carbon dioxide as a healthy one.
Volunteer ivy pullers are needed everywhere.
Ivy rapidly becomes the dominant ground cover plant resulting in a
monoculture which someone described as a "Green Desert". Ivy displaces destroys seedlings
native species that are vital to a healthy ecosystem.
is imperative to remove ivy from young trees and in the long run
mature trees will
benefit as well. Ivy will, if sufficiently well established prevent
light reaching lower foliage of not only the host tree but nearby trees
and the forest floor.
Ivy damaged trees can recover to some extent if the ivy is killed off,
however, if the infestation started off when the tree was relatively
imature and has has been present for many years they usually remain
misshapen and spindly for a long time after it has been killed, perhaps
for the rest if their lives. A tree that has been "liberated" from
Hedera will usually have less growth in the lower branches, in extreme
cases this gives the tree a kind of cauliflower appearance.
Immediately pulling the ivy away from the tree after the ivy has been cut off from its roots is not recommended, as
the bark could be damaged. The job of pulling off the ivy should be
left to someone who can appreciate that damage to tree (and to other
humans - ivy can be heavy).
Even in the UK, where it is a native species it can often
grow uncontrolled and become a problem. Woodland in England was, until
recently well managed and the ivy was not permitted to overrun. In
groves where the trees are sparsely planted, the ivy can receive enough
light to allow the ivy to swamp the forest floor and oust all other
species and to quickly reach up to the canopy. Also trees such as the
Larch and Ash allow light to reach the ascending ivy.
Caution:-Ivy is toxic to humans, pets and domestic animals, and and can cause dermatitis.
Killing ivy on trees.
Remember to use gloves and wash after working with ivy.
Obviously the unrelated
Poison Ivy is
very much more harmful than Common Ivy. Also use protective goggles or
at a pinch sunglasses. The gloves will not only protect you from the
toxic sap but you will be using sharp tools and a good pair of gloves will give protection.
The vines should be cut in a ring around the tree, usually
around chest height and then the roots at the base. The disconnected
vine can be very gently pulled off with great care being taken to
ensure that the bark is not damaged. Also be careful about not damaging
the bark when cutting the vines, lifting the vine away from the tree
with a screwdrive can allow a pruning saw to be used without damaging
the bark. More at this link- https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/groundcover/english-ivy/english-ivy-tree-damage.htm
Caution:- English Ivy is toxic to
and domestic animals, and and can cause