It’s everywhere: Beautiful old trees being suffocated to death by that ubiquitous invasive, English ivy. We see countless examples of this pervasive problem on every walk, every drive, and in the yards of many neighbors.
English ivy is perhaps one of the most prevalent invasive plants in this country, brought over to our continent by European colonists as early as the 1720s. People then and now see it as a charming, no-fuss evergreen, unknowing of its threat to pretty much all plants it touches.
Deciduous trees like oaks or maples are particularly susceptible to being choked to death by English ivy, because the woody vine grows rapidly after leaves fall and more sunlight is exposed late fall through and early spring. While? climbing the trunk of these trees, it then shades and spreads into the understory layer and smothers them too. And that’s not all: The weight of English ivy can cause more damage during storms, and, so, like all invasive plants, it depletes local wildlife’s source of food and shelter. In other words, it’s a major problem and it’s everywhere.
While it’s not so easy to kill English ivy that’s spreading on the ground level, it takes just a few minutes to save your trees from this mean, green predator. Now is a great time to deal with it, as well, because poison ivy that’s sometimes entangled with it has died off.
How To Remove English Ivy from Trees
- Get out your best pair of garden clippers and cut the ivy at the bottom of the tree, making sure that you cut all of the vines around the whole trunk. You might need a saw for thicker vines. By doing this, you’re cutting off the vines’ food supply.
- Wait for the next rainfall, and after or during it, put some gardening gloves on and pull the ivy vines from all around the bottom of the tree. Clear out at least 2 feet around the trunk. Again, you might need a saw if the vines are particularly thick.
- For extra protection, cover the area with 2-inches deep of leaves or mulch.
- This one seem counter-intuitive, but you want to actually keep the ivy on the tree after killing it. Pulling the roots off the tree can damage it, and the English ivy is no longer a threat once you’ve properly dealt the lower vines.? It will wither away and fall off over time.
And, folks, that’s all it takes to prevent your trees from suffering an untimely death caused by English ivy.