The Influence of Ivy on Trees

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The ivy, also called Hedera, is a crawling plant very often found in home gardens. This vine grows very fast and it is extremely adaptable. It can either grow horizontally along the ground or vertically along walls or trees. People use the term “ivy” to name more than 25 different varieties of this plant, but the most popular is the English ivy.

Because ivy can grow up in trees, people may think it can harm them. Ivy is not a parasite plant, so it does not use the resources of the tree, it just uses the tree as a support.

Ivy has aerial roots for anchoring itself on a support as it grows seeking for light. There is the popular belief that ivy impedes the trees growth, but this is not entirely true. If the level of spreading is not very high, this plant does not interfere negatively with the growth of trunk or branches. In addition, ivy provides a good habitat and feeding for many birds and even for grey squirrels, but in the same time it can be home for many parasites.

Still, ivy becomes a visual problem if it grows into an ornamental tree. If you let ivy grow wild, it can lead to growth irregularities for the trees leaves, because it restricts their light.

When you decide to kill ivy, things can get complicated. Use Sulphate of Ammonia (lawn sand) to cut the stem through a saw. If you do not remove at least an inch of stem, ivy can regenerate itself.
It is very important to control ivy because it is a fast growing plant which will invade your garden if you are not careful.