Poison ivy or something else choking my trees?

agurkas(5)July 28, 2014

Starting the tough task of lots of pruning, moving shrubs, and cleaning the wooded area of my property.

What is this ivy, that is all over bunch of my trees?


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Insufficient data. Does it have thorns, berries, or flowers? Do the leaves come in clusters of three? Are they shiny? Are the vines hairy, or do they have little circular disks that attach to the tree? Was it green over the winter?

Could be poison ivy, English Ivy, Virginia Creeper, or honeysuckle...those are the most likely candidates around here.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:43AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Can you post photos? In my yard in southeast MA, the vines that climb up and smother trees are usuallyoriental bittersweet, Virginia creeper, English ivy, wild grape, poison ivy, catbriar, and nightshade.


This post was edited by claire on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 11:16

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Sorry, looks like the picture did not attach. See below

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:10AM
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sweet_betsy No AL Z7

English ivy

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:15AM
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OK, so doesn't look like it is poisonous, but it is invasive species. So I assume cutting at the base and some herbicide should kill the darn things?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Good luck! I'm battling English ivy on several trees. Only successful ended the infestation on one tree, and the very thick ivy growing up that tree took a whole year to die.

The best thing to do is cut a large gap into all vines growing up the tree--we cut 1-2 foot gaps, then brush the cuts with the woody-vine-type Roundup.

Be careful, though. The English ivy sap can cause an allergic skin reaction. Not as bad as poison ivy or poison oak, but it's not fun if you're sensitive to it....

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Yes, English Ivy, or Hedera helix, and it's a real bear to remove. It's sprouted all over my yard, and I find seedlings in the lawn, in the gardens, and in my little wooded areas - it has clambered over some old cherry trees along the border, too.

If you don't mind the unsightly dead vines hanging from the treetops, you can cut the vines at the lower 3 feet of trunk, supposedly, and eventually the tops will dry up and fall.

Also, many people are allergic to ivy - I get a mild rash from it occasionally, nothing too serious.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Good luck - the pre-previous owner decided about 25 years ago that English Ivy would look wonderful growing all over our house.

Yes, cut it off at the base about 12" above the ground. Then cut it again about a foot above that. Remove the 12" section and put it in a trash bag. Put the trash bag into a garbage can and leave it in the sun until it's crispy. Honestly, even a tiny piece of this monster will re-root.

Try painting full-strength Roundup Brush Killer (I despise using Roundup but I had to resort to extreme measures) onto the cut stem. Don't spray - paint it on with a disposable paintbrush.

After it wilts, try to pull it out roots and all (that's why I leave a 12" stem so I can yank it out).

After the part growing up the tree dries (it has taken as long as a year for me), peel it off the bark, and pull it down as best you can. I've had a few trees topple from the wind load of the mass of ivy leaves.

Anything you trim or pull down, dispose of in the trash. Secure it like you would hazardous biological waste (in my opinion, that's what it is).

Pull any vines you see growing in other areas. They "usually" pull up somewhat easily.

It has taken 21 years to (somewhat) tame the beast, and I still have patches popping up.

I hate this stuff. I can't believe some places still sell it...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 12:01PM
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persimmons(6b Southern Mass)

Putting herbicides at the base of the tree?! You all can't be serious...

Just pull out the weed, put it in a trash bag (so it can't propagate) and throw it out! This ivy will grow back from even a single bit (it seems that way in my yard) and the safest way to get rid of it is to pull it and throw it out. If you put herbicides right at the base of your tree, don't you think you might cause adverse effects to the plant you're trying to save?

This stuff doesn't give me a rash like the other members describe but maybe it's because I pull it often. It killed an elm tree in our yard, so whenever I see a single leaf, it's pulled!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 9:53AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Persimmon, the Roundup is not being sprayed, but painted on the cut surface of the ivy stem while the cut is still fresh (ideally only seconds after the ivy stem has been severed). So the Roundup doesn't get on the tree (you should be using so little Roundup that it doesn't even run down the stem of the ivy). And the Roundup which has been absorbed into the ivy breaks down long before the ivy rots, so no Roundup is released from the ivy roots into the soil.

Four years ago I had two nandinas at the front of the house (planted by the Previous Owners) which I did not want. So I had them cut off at the soil and immediately painted the cut trunks with Roundup concentrate (41%). The nandinas did not resprout.

The dwarf nandina was located between two dwarf Burford hollies -- the trunks were about 2' from the nandina. The hollies were not affected by the Roundup on the nandina stump; they have since grown together, covering the area where the nandina had been.

The 6' tall, skinny nandina's trunk was about 3-4' from the trunk of a camellia (shorter than the nandina but much wider). The camellia suffered no ill effects from the Roundup on the nandina stump; it has since grown to cover the area where the nandina was ... I joke that the camellia is trying to eat the house!

If you don't want to bother with a jar of Roundup concentrate and a paintbrush, a neater applicator is a small squirt bottle (ketchup, mustard, glue, whatever).

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 10:46AM
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When I was ridding my property of euonymous coloratus fortunei (wintercreeper), I had pulled some and put it in heavy trash bags and left in part-sun at the edge of some woods. A couple of years later I looked in the bags and they were still alive (blanched). I later tried roundup on the foliage and it was a joke. Even on the cut stumps it was not going to work.

So the remainder of the removal I pulled them by hand (actually quite satisfying) and put them on open tarps to bake in the sun for a couple of weeks. That did the trick. This also started the composting process so there was less volume to discard. I had huge quantities of it. I did discard it in the woods in my pile, but I checked on the pile a few times a year for a couple of years and they never sprouted. Thank goodness!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 8:59PM
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