English Ivy is a popular fast-growing evergreen vine found grasping and climbing just about anything it can, including fences, telephone poles, street signs, homes, buildings, and trees. It is a visually-stunning flora for any property, given that it remains green and lush throughout the winter seasons. It can also be eco-friendly, keeping homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. But what many property owners do not realize about English Ivy are the negative affects it can have on landscaping trees.
Continue reading to learn why English Ivy can be harmful to trees and how it can be responsibly managed.
Invasive and Resilient
English Ivy is not a native species to the United States, having been brought over by European immigrants centuries ago. English Ivy is resilient and long-lasting for many reasons. Not only does it contain tiny roots that ooze a glue-like substance allowing it to stick anywhere, it requires virtually no maintenance once it starts growing. Also, it has no natural pests and is not susceptible to any diseases that can hinder its growth, which is one reason why ivy grows so rapidly and so vastly. For this reason, it can quickly become a nuisance vine, overcoming all biodiversity and structures in its path. Although it is not technically considered an invasive species in Indiana, it is important for property owners to responsibly manage and control their English Ivy growths so other properties and landscapes are not affected or overcome by it.
English Ivy may look beautiful wrapped gracefully around your trees, but in reality, it is damaging them. It is important to have English Ivy removed once it becomes out of control. It is a time-consuming process that will require professional assistance. If it has damaged a tree more than 30 percent, the tree must be removed for safety purposes. English Ivy is harmful to trees because it is heavy and suffocating. Here are some details regarding the harmful effects of English Ivy on trees:
It Adds Strain and Stress to Trees. Because it’s heavy in weight, English Ivy puts a tree under a lot of pressure and duress. The added weight is not only a burden, it can jeopardize the tree’s structural integrity during its vulnerable seasons. During these times, strong winds and storms can easily take a tree down that is overcome with heavy ivy growth.
It Hinders Photosynthesis. Since English Ivy grows so thick and abundant, it covers the tree entirely, inhibiting sunlight exposure. When a tree cannot get enough sunlight, it cannot receive sufficient nutrients through the process of photosynthesis.
It Constricts and Suffocates Trees. When English Ivy grows over a tree, it covers the tree bark all the way around. This “hugging” of the tree is actually constricting the tree’s growth. It cannot expand in girth because the ivy is holding it back. This will render a tree weakened and hazardous.
It Steals Nutrients. English Ivy roots lay on top of tree roots, which means it is taking in all the water and nutrients first that would otherwise go directly to the tree. Also, it inhibits other forms of nutrients, like fall leaves and other natural remains. After some time, the tree will die of dehydration and nutrient deficiency.
It Blocks Tree Bark Pores. Tree bark contains tiny pores called lenticils that facilitate the exchange of natural gases. With English Ivy blocking these pores with overgrowth, the tree cannot function properly and soon dies.