Wednesday, July 11th, 2012...12:00 am

Beware of English Ivy on your Trees

English Ivy Forests in Arlington by TheGreenMiles

TheGardenLady was asked by her son who lives in Philadelphia whether it’s bad to have ivy growing on a tree.  He was told this by the neighbor’s tree expert.  Here’s TheGardenLady’s answer:

It is recommended to remove English ivy on trees and walls. (English ivy does damage to the cement between the bricks and maybe even the bricks). Ivy growing as a ground cover competes with the roots of the trees for water, oxygen and nutrients, so you do not want it as a ground cover. It is best to keep the drip line (the area of ground under a tree that extends from the trunk to the edge of the crown) clear of unnecessary plants.

When ivy climbs up the tree it adds weight to the trunk and branches which can cause cracks or breaks on tree branches. This stresses the tree.  Many vines strangle and eventually kill the trees they are climbing on.

In many states, English ivy has become an invasive plant in most states, so people want to get rid of it for that reason. (see here)  If  a person doesn’t care about the tree or hates getting rid of English Ivy, check to be sure if it isn’t invasive in your state. To find out contact your Master Gardener or Extension office or check out this map.

But TheGardenLady agrees with your neighbor’s tree guy.  As pretty as the English Ivy is, get rid of it before it takes over.

How to get rid of English ivy crawling up trees. (see here)

Climbing Hydrangea Vines by beautifulcataya

One vine that is said to be safe to allow to climb up trees or walls because it will not harm the tree or wall is the climbing hydrangea Hydrangea anomala petiolaris.  This vine is a slow grower the first few years, so if you want it to flower and grow faster it is recommend that one buy a good sized plant. (see here)

TheGardenLady does not mind waiting, so my climbing hydrangea is tiny and growing slowly. I am patient.

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