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!