English Ivy (Hedera Helix)..what can I say about English Ivy? Words come flowing, however not much of what I have to say is appropriate for a general viewing audience. Every single time I believe I conquered the ivy in my yard… it rears its ugly head once again. I find it under the hedges in front of the house , i find it creeping through the fences that border my neighbors yards, I find it in beds where I cleared it less than 12 months ago…It reminds me of that rotten cold you just can to shake, the pesky younger sibling just to name a few thoughts.
This year it is the ivy in my neighbor’s yard which has gone unchecked for years that is threatening a few of my garden beds. The ivy problem in her yard is so bad that it has actually strangled a few of her trees and killed them. The Ivy took over at least a third of her yard and is threatening even more. I noticed that the ivy is sending shooters once again under the ground and it is making its way in to our beds and climbing over the fence. As a result, We have no other choice than to get rid of it . I am grateful my neighbor feels the same as we do and is working with us to put an end to the problem. The question is what to do? My husband called a few of the garden centers and nurseries in our area hoping for some kind of quick fix to no avail. If you know anything about this invasive ground cover, you are aware that the only solution is to dig it up and pull it out of the ground…not a pretty job.
Here are a few resources I have found regarding this nasty subject:
Why is English ivy a problem?
English ivy is not native to the United States and has no natural predators or pests to keep it in check. It easily escapes from planting areas and invades natural areas, parks and urban forests. It creates “Ivy Deserts” – areas so dominated by ivy that no other vegetation survives. Ivy affects trees negatively, especially when it climbs into the canopy. By adding weight to limbs and reducing air flow around the tree’s trunk, ivy makes a tree more susceptible to canopy failure, wind stress and disease. It can also strangle trees around their base and reduce the flow of nutrients up and down the tree.
English ivy does not provide a significant food for native wildlife, but does provide habitat for rats.
here is a sample from the above mentioned blog…
Hedera helix grows by spreading runners which climb over and smother anything and everything in their path including buildings, shrubs, and trees.
If you’re a homeowner, you REALLY do not want this plant climbing up your walls. The rootlets will burrow into masonry, eventually weakening them to the point of collapse. On wooden siding the dense cover retains moisture, which causes fungus and decay, while the rootlets pry apart siding and eventually rip your outer walls apart.
As a ground cover, the quick growth and dense cover shade out native plants and suppress their growth. In tree canopies, the enormous weight of the Ivy will eventually topple each tree. The rootlets burrow under the bark, causing fungus and decay while creating opportunities for disease to enter.
English Ivy is dangerous because it can spread very quickly through native woodlands, both by it’s creeping runners, and seed dispersal by birds who eat the berries. As it spreads, native species are lost and biodiversity is reduced until we are left with a very simplified ecosystem or monoculture that is unable to perform all ecosystem services which are essential to wildlife and human survival.
Every spring I fight what feels like a losing battle chasing down ivy runners that have sprung up in my garden because this plant is in every yard that surrounds my yard. It really makes me kind of cranky because while my neighbors are doing no maintenance of their properties, I am doing constant battle to keep this plant out of my yard.
Like the author of this post, it makes me angry that I can walk into Home Depot and Lowes and find this awful plant for sale in the ground cover section. This plant needs to be banned because it is nothing more than a bully . There are states such as Oregon and Washington that have banned the sale of hedera helix, and I believe more states should follow suit. Now if anyone in Chicago is reading this …. I love the ivy on the walls at Wrigley as long as it stays there