CALL US 020 8292 8992

Ivy - characterful climber or creeping menace?

9th June 2021

Share this article

Rate this article

The vibrant blanket of green that is ivy gives a home and garden a sense of charm and character. Ivy-covered buildings and trees look like mankind has stepped back for a while and allowed nature to take back control, and surely that’s a good thing isn’t it? Well, not exactly!

The problem with ivy is the tenacious nature of its root system. It seeks out and finds any weakness in wood or brickwork and exploits it, pushing its way in and latching on, causing damage as it does so. The wounds these penetrations cause then may allow in other things, like insects and diseases, and if left unchecked the tree could well succumb to these invaders and eventually die. Ivy does not kill trees, but it can weaken them and leave them susceptible to other dangers.

But here’s the dilemma – ivy also offers a great habitat for your garden wildlife, with the tight canopy of leaves offering shelter and a hiding place for small birds and mammals and its berries attracting insects and birds. If you decide to remove ivy from anywhere on your property you have to consider the impact this may have on the wildlife that calls it home.

Ivy grows quickly, really quickly. Allow it to take hold in your garden and it will take over in no time if allowed to do so. A little creepage from next door one day can be a garden infestation soon afterwards, climbing up your trees to reach out for the sunlight it needs. So think fast, decide what you want to do with it, allow it to grow for the wildlife, or remove it for the health of your trees?

Removing Ivy
Should you decide to get rid of your ivy problem there are a few things you MUST remember:

  1. Do NOT rip it off. It’s tempting to just tear it all down – after all, ivy doesn’t look that strong. Firstly, ivy is a lot stronger than you might imagine, because it roots itself firmly in bark and cracks in mortar on walls, and secondly, because of this tethering system, tearing away at it is likely to cause considerable damage. In the case of your trees, that will mean greater wounding and an increased chance of longer-term issues.
  2. Herbicides are not enough on their own. Ivy has evolved to be resistant to the effects of toxins such as herbicides, due to the waxy layer on its leaves. If you spray herbicide on them it’ll just evaporate before it gets through. So, spray your ivy in winter when the herbicide will last longer on the leaves, giving it time to take effect.
  3. Sever at base. The cheapest way to deal with an ivy infestation is to sever it from the base of the tree it’s climbing up and allowing the growth above to die back. Be aware that the ivy up the tree will then go brown, which temporarily will not look great and you will also be clearing leaves for the next few months as they are shed from the dead and dying stems above.

If you would like to talk to us about the ivy in your garden, so we can assess whether it will be a problem or to ask us to remove it for you, call us on 0208 292 8992. We’re always happy to pop round or to help with a little advice.

Most recent short reads...

11th July 2023
🌳❌THANK GOD we checked!!.. ❌🌳

Following the REFUSAL of a planning application from a local Authority, to have a tree which was protected by a TPO removed, Thor’s Trees recommended to do a little further investigating into the management of this very large Poplar tree in Hampstead, North London. What looked like a beautiful, healthy & safe tree has turned […]

Read More
12th May 2022
ARB approval: why it should matter

Last year 5.1 million children took their GCSE exams in the UK, just less than 760,000 took A-levels, around 400,000 gained an undergraduate degree and approximately 23,000 a doctoral degree. I think it’d be fair for us to assume that the doctoral level graduate will have a far better grasp of their chosen subject than […]

Read More
1st May 2022
3 top tips on caring for your ‘ fruit trees ’

Fruit trees are a must have in any garden. Whether you have a small city garden or a large rural space, a fruit tree is a great addition to any space. 1. When should I prune?  Most fruit trees should be pruned when dormant, in the winter, between November and early March. An exception for this […]

Read More

Why Choose Us

As London’s leading tree surgeons, we promise you will be blown away with our level of expertise and customer care.
24-Hour Emergency Call Out Service
Fully Insured
Free Quotations and Advice
City and Guilds Qualified
Unmatched Workmanship
Our Staff Trained and Qualified to NPTC Standards
crossmenuchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram