Removing Ivy from Trees – Beauty and the Beast
I decided to write another section on removing Ivy from trees, because the damage that this vigorous vine can do to your trees can be devastating. The problem is, most people do not notice the damage until it's too late. Ivy damages walls, fences, roofs. Not to mention strangling trees, shrubs, and gardens, Ivy also causes other problems. The hearty green color can fool you into thinking that it is pretty, but deep down, if Ivy is not controlled, it can accelerate rot in plants and trees, attract mice, mosquitoes, roaches, and other insects into your property or home.
The Ecological Benefits of Ivy
Ivy is the common name for Hedera, a ground creeping leafy plant from the Araliaceae family, that plays an important role in the ecological system, mainly due to the nectar and fruit production of the plant both occurring at odd times of the year, when there is a lack of both nectar and fruit around. As a matter of fact, the ivy bee, whose Latin name is Colletes hederae lives solely reliant on ivy flowers. The ivy’s leaves also feed a wide range of birds, as well as wider range of larva and insects. Ivy lessens the effects of frost, and gives birds and other various animals and insects (like butterflies) a place to nest during colder temperatures as well.
A lot of people and ecologists alike, agree that we can't just completely eradicate it. However, due to ivy's aggressive behavior and damaging nature, we must look at controlling ivy as a regular, ongoing circumvention for the preservation of our homes, wellbeing, and the natural beauty of trees on and around our property.
So, What’s the Big Deal?
When Ivy overtakes a tree, it can grow up to 30 meters in height. It makes its way to the top, or canopy, and grows throughout the branches, blocking much needed sunlight from the leaves, and other areas that need sunlight to stimulate new growth. Not to mention the fact that the ivy competes with the tree for nutrients, depleting the soil, and sucking up the water that the tree needs to sustain its health and vigor in between rains. Ivy also can overwhelm the a tree, constricting its growth and cause it to die, by reducing the trees fertility and overall vigor over time, and weighing down young branches. Underneath, ivy invites disease and insect damage that is mainly caused weakening the bark with extended periods of humidity, which soften the tissues, and allow insects and fungi to burrow into it’s bark, and deprives the tree and its bark from essential microorganisms and nutrients provided by nature. Ivy can cause many damages, ranging from minimal to devastating, including windthrow damage, which is when a tree is uprooted or damaged by the wind, not to be confused with windsnap, which is the breakage of the tree trunk, instead of uprooting, which is mainly caused by violent winds from storms. The bottom line is, we can’t just look at how pretty ivy is. We must control it.
Facts You May Not Know About Ivy
1. Ivy berries are mildly toxic, so don't let the children and pets eat them.
2. Ivy contains Falcarinol (caratatoxin) - is a natural pesticide, that can induce contact dermatitis.
3. Falcarinol has been proven to kill breast cancer cells.
How Is Overgrown Ivy Removed?
Well, that is where we come in. If your ivy has already taken over, we can professionally remove the ivy. This has several benefits. First off, it gets your trees out of harm’s way, it sharpens and defines the overall look of your trees, and your property, it allows the overgrown areas to replenish and rejuvenate from any damages already done by the ivy, and it puts you in a better position for being able to get a handle on controlling the growth as well.
If you can remove ivy from ground level, there is minimal growth on the truck, and the shoots have not yet made their way up to the branches and canopy of the tree, you may be able to pull them up, or sever the vines at ground level.
The idea is to cut them off from the nutrients the ivy is consuming, so it you have very loose soil, and the plants are young, you may be able to pull them up, and that would be ideal to prevent regrowth. However, if use of a ladder is involved, the work gets more tedious, and there is danger involved.
Once above ground level, if the use of a ladder is needed, we recommend a professional, for the simple reason that there is a lot of pulling and jerking, which just aren't the safest activities on a ladder, and we don't want you getting hurt.
Our trained experts know how to use the proper techniques and tools associated with this type of work, and they will be able to remove all the growth that doesn't belong there much safer then someone who is not trained, give us a call if you need help!
The Red Alder, or (Alnus Serrulata) Elliptical leaves, approximately 3-6 inches long, shiny green in color, with tips that are pointed and, edges that are serrated. The Red Alder gets small pinecones, about an inch long, and has splotchy-grey bark. The Red Alder is found mainly in the coastal, and lowland areas of the Pacific Northwest, and is the most important hardwood in the Northwest.
Diseases and Insect Identification and Control - Most trees in the Alder family actually are not affected by many diseases when they are young (40-50 years). The Red Alder can be suffered by numerous foliage and catkin diseases, but none are an economic threat.
Alder Phytophthora Disease - Premature leaf drop, stunted leaf growth, and spots on the bark are common symptoms
How to Combat and Treat Diseases - Clip and destroy diseased areas.
Insects - Alder trees are bothered by a few insects, including the:
Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni) - Larva are black, and adults are black to metallic blue in color. These beetles love to eat holes in the leaves of the Alder.
The Common Sawfly (Heterarthrus vagans) - Sawfly larvae look like caterpillars, with lots of legs and false legs. The larvae could appear alone but are more likely found in clusters. Look for them lined up on the edge of needles or leaves. They may curl up in a defensive "s" position if you disturb them. Sawfly larva cause leaves to drop prematurely. If you want to keep your foliage, have them treated ASAP.
The Birch Leaf-Roller (Deporaus betulae) - These are small caterpillars that roll the leaves around themselves for protection. The leaves will brown and curl when this insect causes damage, and eventually the leaf will fall.
Insect Control - Have them professionally treated, to prevent and control the damage.
1. Many Alder Tree diseases are caused by excess moisture and oversaturation.
Pacific Dogwood - (Cornus nuttallii) Is all over the place in the Pacific Northwest, and it grows up to 60' in height, but usually smaller. The leaves of this tree are beautiful when they turn bright red in Autumn. They are about 3-5" long and ovate. The flowers are white, tiny, and have 4-6 stipules surrounding them. The tree also produces flat, reddish berries in clusters, that are edible, but bitter. The bark is gray and smooth. The Pacific dogwood does its best in deep, well-drained soils, that are course in texture, a lot of times you'll find them under Douglas-fir, grand fir, and western hemlocks. The wood has been used for piano keys, and the Pacific dogwood makes an attractive ornament in gardens.
Diseases and Insect Identification and Control
Powdery Mildew - A fine, white, powdery film that covers foliage and shoots. Spores are spread by the wind, and this disease if not caught quick will cause leaf scorch, dead patches, discolorations, and eventual loss of tissue. This should be treated with fungicide and followed up on repeatedly throughout the warm months. This disease thrives in moisture and congested areas of growth that have high humidity and poor air flow. Catch it early, this one can be devastating.
Spot Anthracnose – A disease caused by a fungus named Elsinoe corni, a very common leaf disease found in dogwood that flower. The leaves usually do not start getting attacked until after the flower bracts get eaten, so this is always a good place to check. Symptoms consist of small tan spots with reddish to purple borders. Another common symptom at more accelerated stages, is leaves becoming wrinkled malformed. This disease survives through years of growth, by setting into stems and tissues of the plant, allowing it to be dormant in the cooler months and come back when temperatures reach 65 to 75 degrees. Just like any fungus, the disease thrives in humidity and places with lack of airflow.
How to Combat and Treat Diseases
Generally, Spot Anthracnose disease doesn’t cause a lot of damage. However, after years of being attacked, the tree starts to weaken, so it is recommended that you have a fungicide applied right before bud break, and once a week until blooms are fully opened. To prevent this disease, it is recommended to thin out the canopy, allowing air to move freely through the tree. Also, try to plant in areas where moisture doesn’t pool.
Dogwood Borer – The larva of the clearwing moth is referred to as the Dogwood Borer. The insects are about 5/8 of an inch long, and they are off-white colored with a red to the red-brown head. The eggs are laid by the female moth on the bark of the Dogwood, and the only way the colony can become established is if the find an opening in the bark, or a hole in the tree. The feed on cambium in the tree, which is the place where the water and food carrying cells of the tree are produced. If the pests destroy the cambium, the branch, or the whole tree can die. Signs to look for, are leaves turning red, and dropping early. Bark will fall away from the holes or entry points where the larva entered. Large trees that are more established, show signs of infestation by developing large knots on trunks and large branches, and the older trees will also seem to lack vigor.
Dogwood Club-Gall Midge: A tiny fly, about one-sixteenth of an inch long. Female midges will lay their eggs leaves of the dogwood. Then, the larva hatches and enters the stem. As the larva grows and eats, a growth up to an inch in length that resembles a club- or spindle-shape tubular swelling, also called a gall forms at the tip, or along the shoot. The twig area past the gall may die. In the beginning of the fall season, the larvae make their exit holes in the galls. They then fall to earth where they survive the winter. An early symptom is a wilted or deformed leaf. Slight cases will not cause much damage, but infestations can stunt the growth of the tree.
Insect Control – For Club-Gall Midge, cut off affected areas, and burn them before the Midge makes its holes for exiting the gall. For Borers, keep the tree healthy by fertilizing and proper watering, and keep the trees from being damaged by flying objects, weed eaters, mowers, etc.
There are numerous trees in the pacific northwest. Many are conifer trees. The main tree of choice in Vancouver and surrounding areas is the Douglas-fir tree. This is because it grows deliciously in all of the forest regions, and its wood is preferred by millions worldwide. Its wood is durable and strong. The Douglas-fir grows best in open sunlight, making it an exceptional choice for cleared land. The Douglas-fir has 1-inch long needles, yellow-green in color, and is commonly known as the Christmas tree. Something else you may not know about the Douglas-fir is that it is the most important lumber tree in the USA & Canada!
Diseases and Insect Identification and Control - The Douglas-fir is susceptible to the following diseases:
1. Rhabdocline Needlecast - March through May is the time to watch for this one. The needles from the previous year will get yellow spots on them. Left unattended, these spots enlarge and become yellow-brown patches, and eventually the leaves fall.
2. Swiss Needlecast - March through June is the season for Swiss Needlecast. Similar, but not nearly the same as Rhabdocline Needlecast, this type of Needlecast will brown the needles making them fall off. If you get a magnifying glass, you will find rows of black fruiting bodies on the underside of the needle along the spine.
3. Twig Blight - A disease that causes twig tips to curl downwards and die, leaving small black growths dotted along the dead tissue.
How to Combat and Treat Diseases
These trees need good air circulation. Maintain effective weed prevention and control techniques, so that air moves freely through the tree. After about 10 percent of the buds have opened, apply a fungicide. Apply again a week later, and again 3 weeks after all buds break. If cold temperatures last through the spring, causing the new shoots to mature slowly, apply fungicide a fourth time 2 to 3 weeks after the 3rd application.
For Twig Blight
Prune and destroy affected tips for best control.
Insects That Affect Douglas Fir
Douglas-fir Twig Weevil - These insects will cause damage that destroys twigs, and small branches.
Douglas-fir Engraver Beetles - These beetles kill patches of cambium on the stem, and could likely lead to branch or top kill.
Round Headed Wood Borers - By the time these insects start causing damage, the tree is usually dead or dying, but they start to infest the branch collar area and the main trunk of the tree first.
Flat Headed Wood Borers - These insects attack and infect the entire tree. The adults fly from May to September. It is said that stocking control, as well as other vigor-enhancing treatments, may be an effective way for reducing insect damage.
Douglas-fir Beetle – Namely the most destructive beetle attacking Douglas-fir trees in the Pacific Northwest. You can identify damage by a reddish-brown dust left behind in holes near the base of the tree, from the beetles boring. These beetles tend to attack trees that have suffered severe stress, such as drought, fire, etc. They may attack other trees, but successful breed development has only been reported in downed trees. The beetles multiply rapidly in the downed trees, and then begin to move out into greener ones. By keeping trees in good condition and health, and removing tree waste, you should be able to keep the beetles at a minimum. Extremely cold temperatures can kill breeding beetles, and hotter weather with droughts will let them flourish.
Treating Insects – Have a tree professional applicator assess the damage, and treat accordingly. For any fungus related diseases, the common treatment is pruning, and/or fungicides.
1. Douglas-fir does not like extreme drought.
2. The Douglas-fir tree does not like extreme drought.
3. Several canker-causing Fungi can attack and kill branches of severely drought-stressed Douglas-fir. Look for signs of fungi right after a drought subsides.