Care of Boston Ivy On House

dottiechangSeptember 12, 2011

I just bought a cottage that is covered on the front facade with beautiful Boston Ivy climbing from bottom to top. The former owner didn't have the time or desire to pass along directions for maintenance. I sheepishly admit I have already created a huge, ugly bald spot about the size of a VW bug by cutting a woody part of the ivy that was keeping a gate from closing.

I have some questions about my beautiful ivy!

-How long will it take to grow back into the bald spot?

-When I prune back in the fall, do remove all the woody parts of the vine down to the ground or just leave the dry branch like material in place on the walls?

-Is it better to ask a gardener to help with care or should I enlist tree company that offers "ivy topping" which I assume is what I call "ivy haircutting"?

I am so new to this, please share your insights and advice!

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

We don't have Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, but we do have the related Parthenocissus henryana right up the back of our house, about 40 feet.

Firstly, understand that it is a woody climber and it will form a permanent framework of branches. So, for Heaven's sake do not cut it to the ground! We do not prune ours back in fall at all. We have to trim it about twice a year, when it looks as if it needs it, and since the house is 4 storeys high this involves hanging out of the windows as far as we can with long handled loppers. All you need to do it cut back anything encroaching on the windows or reaching up to the roof. Leave the rest alone. If, as you had to with the gate, you must cut it back, follow the piece you intend to cut to make sure it is not supporting a lot of foliage elsewhere.

It will not need any care, as in feeding or watering at all. All it needs is keeping within bounds.

Also, my house is made of solid stone and the creeper does no harm. If yours is wood or siding you may need to think sdom of having the creeper on it. Good luck. Just wait for the autumn colour!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 3:50PM
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You should have new growth buds coming on around the bald spot, next spring, that will slowly fill it in. If you want to further encourage growth towards the bottom of the mass, prune off some of the growing tips as you see them leafing out early next year.

Another thing: don't pull on Boston Ivy. Unless you want it off. I'm told that it can't reattach itself to walls, it has to grow all new tendrils/disks to do that, and the previously tugged on portion will not have any support. Just FYI.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:57PM
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