How To Save Your Trees From Death By English Ivy
Beautiful trees line our streets, shade our yards and gardens, and make our parks inviting. Over the years we’ve discovered that these natural wonders do more than beautify our environment. They also purify the air, house wildlife, prevent storm runoff, make shade and even prevent property crimes. This is why we invest so much time and money into landscaping and nurturing our trees— and it’s a worthwhile investment.
One thing that is happening to millions of trees around us might be visually appealing, but it is actually quite dangerous. English English Ivy can often be found climbing the trunks of our trees. While it may seem harmless, in reality, English Ivy is a serious threat.
The Problem With English Ivy
English Ivy can strangle a tree. It adds a substantial amount weight, which can cause mature trees to
fall in strong winds and storms. A thick cover of English Ivy will compete with the tree for water and nutrients. It can accelerate rot by harboring moisture, which will usually attract mosquitoes. Then, once English Ivy reaches the tree tops, it blocks much of the sunlight from the trees’ leaves or needles. All of this can easily cause a tree to die.
How To Remove It
1. Take a pair of garden clippers and cut the English Ivy around the base of the trunk. This will cut off the English Ivy’s source of nutrients in the soil. If the English Ivy vines aren’t too think you may be able to simply pull the roots out of the soil with you hands, which is easiest after it has rained (not too difficult to achieve around here). If the vines are thick and well established you may need to saw through them and gently pull them away from the bark and trunk. Destroy as much of the English Ivy’s roots as you can.
2. Remove the English Ivy on the tree from the ground up, making a three-foot, “life-saving ring” around the trunk. This cleared area will allow you to spot any English Ivy emerging from roots you may have missed. Refrain from ripping the English Ivy off of the bark any higher than this because it could harm the tree. The English Ivy will eventually die, and after about two years it will detach from the tree. At this point it will be much easier and less harmful to remove.
3. We suggest applying a layer of mulch around the tree, extending three feet outward. This will preserve moisture in the soil and keep lawn mowers from damaging the tree’s roots. Make sure to keep the mulch at least three inches away from the trunk to allow the bark to breath and ensure that you will be able to spot any English Ivy trying to make a comeback.
For help with a mature tree that has been significantly overgrown with English Ivy, contact us for help!
Additionally, the Hoyt Arboretum could always use your help with their English Ivy removal outings. Check out their website to find out more.