questions on English ivy

loris(Z6 NJ)July 1, 2001

I'm in zone 6, suburban New Jersey, and have a yard that has some English ivy that was here before we moved in. My preference is to get rid of it, but my husband says he loves the look of the ivy climbing some of our trees. Here are my questions:

  1. Will I have enough of a warning to save the trees if the ivy is weakening them, or will it be too late by the time there are any signs?

  2. Does anyone know if the winter coldness here is enough to keep its invasiveness in check? Is the invasiveness a problem in this area already?

Thanks. -- Lori

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Find something else. It is now considered environmentally unsound to cultivate this noxious plant and certainly in your climate it can be very invasive.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2001 at 8:33AM
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I am also in NJ zone 6, and my neighbor's English ivy is fruiting lustily. So it can certainly survive your climate, more's the pity. Ivy does not weaken trees by climbing them. What happens when it climbs trees is that it reaches the sun, flowers, and fruits. And then you're spreading the problem throughout your area, because the birds eat the fruits and plant the seeds. So if you must keep the ivy, at least don't let it climb the trees.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2001 at 9:41AM
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English ivy is a pest. I've been trying to get rid of it since I bought my house five years ago. Terrible stuff. It roots pretty much wherever a bit of the vine touches soil, and climbs anything. I lost part of the siding on my garage when I ripped the stuff down (have since torn down the garage, so it didn't matter). My tree was also thick with the stuff, and I've been trying all spring to pull it out. Have cut it all off at the ground and drenched it with herbicide. Looks pretty dead, but I'm sure some little suckers will pop up by summer's end. You have to keep on this one if you ever want to get rid of it. I'd seriously think about getting rid of it and planting a different vine.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2001 at 10:45AM
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Like my beloved Virginia creeper.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2001 at 11:55AM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

I'll look into planting some ground cover with wildlife value. This is a large area in deep shade, and have seen in some older threads that encouraging the vinca and pachysandra I already have there at the expense of the ivy shouldn't be harmful. According to a thread started on April 5th at 10:57 titled "Why is ivy so despised???" which includes a link to a Washington Post article, trees might be in danger. Now that I read the article more carefully, looks like the main danger to trees is girdling which I think I'll be able to notice. Elaine, knowing Virginia Creeper is working for you in zone 6 NJ makes that something I'll look into. I'll also try to find a list of what's native around here (if anyone knows where to find one, please let me know. Otherwise I'll try the natives forum at some point). Thanks to all for the info. -- Lori

Here is a link that might be useful: invasive ivy

    Bookmark   July 4, 2001 at 12:36PM
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lisa_a(Z8 OR)

It fills me with glee to find other ivy-haters out there. This plant is horrible and destructive. It grows oh-too-well in the Pacific Northwest but I didn't realize it was a problem in other parts of the country.

Because it grows so well here it does pose a serious problem as it grows up and covers trees. The additional weight and denseness has brought trees down in wind storms and since we have firs that can grow to be 100' or more tall, this is a serious concern. It also grows so densely in our natural areas that native plants are crowded out, creating a monoculture that supports less wildlife than the diverse landscape it supplanted.

But there is a glimmer of hope. In February, the weed board unanimously voted to add English ivy to the list of Noxious Weeds. It isn't yet quarantined, making it illegal to sell, transport or propagate but that's the next step and many of us are looking forward to that day.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2001 at 2:11PM
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I feel sorry for those of you who are in areas where this has become a problem. I have always had English Ivy growing around my homes. And now in my condo I have a whole bed of it with Hostas,Ferns, Impatiens, Astilbes,Columbines. It is growing up two old wild cherry trees and does not seem to be damaging the trees at all. In fact the trees seem healthier than they did 10 years ago before I planted the English Ivy. About the only maintainence I do is once a year I cut back the Ivy that is growing into the grass. I usually replant the cuttings in any bare area that needs some ground cover. Several good things about the English Ivy.
Always evergreen
Self mulching and keeps the ground cool underneath
Keeps out weeds
Many perenials grow right through it with no problem
Drought tolerant and grows in any soil
Well thats just my view on English Ivy. I like it!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2001 at 5:40PM
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GoldieLocks(East Tennessee)

I live in E.Tenn and have tons of English Ivy and it has killed many trees on our 22 acre farm, too much to ever get rid of unfortunately, but it is very pretty growing along the creek banks.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2001 at 12:14AM
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OMG, I have this stuff growing all over my yard, and I keep pulling it up! It's terrible. We just bought this house 2 years ago, and didn't know the damage that the English Ivy does......I went into the cellar, took out the dropped ceiling, and viola! English Ivy! In the house!

Get rid of it!

Ya know what? It does good as a trade. Post that you have English Ivy for trade, for a perrenial or annual, doesn't matter, and others will trade. Might as well get something out of it, since you don't want it...........


    Bookmark   July 18, 2001 at 10:35PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Thanks for the additional advice and warnings. Once and if I look into the swaps, would offer up some other things, since I'd feel better having introduced something less pushy into someone's yard. Since I have other stuff, easy decision to NOT find it a good home. : ) Lori

    Bookmark   July 19, 2001 at 8:17PM
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    Bookmark   July 21, 2001 at 11:16PM
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I have an Ivy, that isnt dead yet, but its close, the roots are ok, but nothing else is, what can I do?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2002 at 4:28PM
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plantlust(z5ish IL)


Posting in all capitals is considered shouting.

I think you are on to something. Ivy may not like very hot, humid weather. It's rampant in the Pacific Northwest and on the East Coast around Boston and NY.

I've noticed in IL it takes about 3 - 4 years to really take hold and yes it does send aerial roots into things. Kindof like poison ivy.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2002 at 8:33PM
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I've got ivy growing up around a side porch in Tennessee. A bossy neighbor told me it would eat into the mortar holding the porch together and to get rid of it. Seeing all these posts makes me understand that it is invasive and damaging to some things. But to mortar?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2002 at 8:44AM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

Bossy neighbor has a point. It will damage mortar (and brick) with the root tendrils it sends out.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2002 at 10:22AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

I personally witnessed the gradual degradation by ivy of both brick and mortar of the house I grew up in. Which house, by the way, was in Philadelphia, so it can tolerate at least that much heat and humidity.

Heard a story on radio last week about the "No-Ivy League" in Oregon. Must really be serious out there.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2002 at 6:03PM
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I was planing on planting english ivy in my backyard, I have
a new home and I need to populate some lattice structure to provide some privacy in my yard, but after reading all the bad publicity on English ivy on this web site, I'm no longer sure what to use, any suggestions? anybody?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2002 at 12:24PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

I came across these alternatives somewhere on the internet. Don't have personal experience, and you'd have to doublecheck on if they really climb and would work for you in terms of zone and sun. I know some people on the forum have highly recommended Virginia creeper:
Allegheny pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens), American or common bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), passionflower vine (Passiflora lutea), Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2002 at 11:09AM
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I have English Ivy on one complete side of my yard. It covers completely, suppressing all weeds which is nice. I have found it in the basement though, it will climb inside your siding until it finds a crack in the sheathing, and go inside your house! On painted surfaces or concrete it will do damage. I have been led to believe that the variegated ivies are not as invasive as this common green stuff that I have. I must cut it back about once a month from growing up the siding.

On the north side, I have vinca groundcover, not a problem at all. We tend to like groundcover that grows fast, until it reaches what we think should be its boundary, then expect it to put on the brakes. The vinca does not climb the house and it blooms in the spring, and you can walk on it. Evergreen in Georgia.

Garry W.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2002 at 10:39PM
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Scott_OR(z8 OR)

To share my experience with this pest -

I recently purchased a house with the side of the lot facing the road covered in ivy (200' x 20 deep) underneath pine trees and arborvitae(sic). It took 3 people 8 days to rip up the ivy and cut it out of the trees, hauling away 8 pickup trucks full of vines. We then sprayed selected areas with Brush killer, and left others alone. 3 months later, the entire area was green with fresh ivy sprayed or not. The soil itself is completely dead anywhere where the ivy grew, this is why its effective as a ground cover. Not even a weed has grown up in this area and its been almost 1 year - yet the ivy persisently returns.

Short of literally digging up and either filtering through tons of dirt to get all the roots or hauling it away too, its going to be an ongoing process of tilling, pulling, mowing, etc. to control and finally remove this pest.

Several Oregon agency's (as well as others) have studied this vine and basically have said there is only 1 way to permanently kill the vine in quantity - and thats to manually dig it out. It is EXTREMELY resistent to herbicides - ivy has a waxy coating that prevents absorption). Fire (when practical), cutting, mowing, etc is only a temporary solution. Cold weather (or hot, dry weather, like southern california) helps control it, but will not kill it. As one respondent remarked, ivy only seems to acutally die in areas with humidty AND heat (although I guess kudzu would be its replacement pest in those areas). On top of that, ivy only requires 1% light to grow and, like blackberry, can sprout from very small pieces of root, vine or leaf given time.

Unless its in a contained area or you're growing it in its native habitat, I would strongly suggest anyone think twice about planting it. Once its got a foothold, you've basically committed yourself to living with it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2002 at 12:34AM
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Best of luck on your noble effort to rid your garden of this invasive plant. Regarding your use of brush killer for ivy control: assuming it was a triclopyr containing product, it is pretty weak at controlling english ivy, as you discovered. And while ivy is resistant to penetration by any herbicide, it can be controlled by Roundup at higher label rates, with additional surfactant such as LI 700. This is taking place in Oregon with success. All methods take persistance, and involve physical removal of course. I would not use tilling or mowing as a control method, as they are not effective. Also consider establishing new plantings to help compete with any returning ivy.

Again, good luck.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2002 at 1:23AM
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I know how it can get. I'm trying to deal with it here where I live. I'm going to try and cut some away today. It has killed a few trees already and has climbed to the top of most still alive on the property. Where are you in NJ? Roundup has worked on the pool area but it has already begun to creep back. My neighbor keeps his in check but allows it to climb on his trees. We debate about it and he's got more to loose than me.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 7, 2002 at 8:13AM
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loris(Z6 NJ)


I'm in Union County and know that we get more snow and colder temperatures than my relatives in Burlington County do. This site from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden lists English ivy as potentially invasive for the NYC area which I think applies to where I am.

I was surprised to see that I need to be more concerned about the Japanese barberry in my yard causing habitat problems. I'm still trying to get rid of the ivy anywhere I can without getting DH too upset. Hearing that it's killing trees what I'm guessing to be 2 hours away from me, will have me looking more carefully at how it behaves. BTW, I found browsing other parts of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden site pretty interesting. The site below talks about control of ivy. Sounds pretty much like what you and some of the others are doing, but maybe seeing some details spelled out together may help someone. Does not sound easy. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Control of Invasive - MD Native Plant Society

    Bookmark   April 7, 2002 at 3:06PM
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How can i keep my neighbor's ivy on his side of the fence? We've used herbicides and dug it all up and have prepared the bed for new plants, but i have a sneaking suspicion that it will make its way back under the fence. I've thought about sinking some metal edging into the ground to keep it away. is there any way to contain it!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 11:53AM
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Jetta(z 6a (Brampton))

I think it's gorgeous and EVERGREEN!!! I wish I had your guys problem. In fact I came to this forum today to see if I could find information on how to get it going and ready for spring.

I tried all last spring and summer to get English Ivy to grow up and along the chain link fence that separates us from out 'lovely' neighbours. The stuff dropped dead like crazy!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 10:30AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Jetta - they seem to grow better on "solid" supports that can hold moisture like stone, brick, or even wood (due to their "hold fasts"). Or they'll easily scramble along the ground. It would seem to me that chain link would heat up and burn the little holdfasts and wouldn't give the ivy a porous surface to attach to. You might want to try a different evergreen vine like a cross vine or even a clematis for your fence.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2003 at 2:54PM
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UH OH!!!!!!!I planted some on my big maple about 2 years ago. Its about 4' up the tree. I like to see trees with Ivy trunks.You mean I should remove it??????

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 1:04PM
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It certainly can become a real nuisance and very difficult to eradicate once established. I'd remove it and grow another vine up your maple;-(

Peggy ~

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 1:28PM
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I have a problem with two trees covered in English Ivy. Due to their height and location it is almost impossible for me to manually strip the ivy from the trees. Is there any herbacide that can be applied to the cut woody stalks after it's been cut free from the roots, that will kill the upper growth, or speed up it's release off the trees? Also the roots of the ivy are down in with the roots of the tree, any suggestions? Thanks.

For those of you who do not see english ivy as destructive. We have had first hand experience in an area where english ivy is not prevelent. It IS DESTRUCTIVE. It is eating away at the bricks on our home. It may look pretty when it first starts climbing those trees, but give it a couple years. Once it takes over, there is no controlling it. I used to keep it in pots, now I can't stand the sight of it.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2003 at 1:29AM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Here's a link to a page of the Maryland Native Plant Society. Do a find on "ivy" to see their suggestion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Control of Invasive Non-Native Plants

    Bookmark   May 3, 2003 at 4:39PM
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kendaz(z5b /6a KS/MO)

I grow English Ivy in my yard under 3 huge, 20 year old pine trees. It is growing with Impatiens, hostas, bleeding hearts, ferns and Solomon's Seal. I do thin it severely every March and do not allow it to grow up the tree trunks or out into the grass - there is no barrier between the shade garden where it's growing and the grass, other than a 1 inch deep by 3 inch wide trench. So, I believe that it can be used in Kansas City. Also, those of you pushing vinca. I say to those of you with weather similar to mine. Be careful!! That stuff migrates into my grass way more than the ivy does and is more difficult to pull. I actually have to DIG it up where as, I can pull my ivy up when thinning.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 10:47PM
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In researching the damaging effects of english ivy, I came across this old thread. To any who have posted, who feel that they've got the english ivy in their yard, contained and it's not a problem because they keep it "under control," think again.
Here is a quote which might interest you, taken from an Oregon website:

"Mature Ivy begins flowering in the fall. Its flower, somewhat resembling mistletoe, is greenish white. Late in the year it produces a deep purple almost black fleshy berry which is devoured by that ever popular English or House Sparrow; the little non-indigenous bully which kicks native cavity nesters out of their homes, destroys their eggs, and proceeds to squat contentedly. Evidently the digestive juices of the English Sparrow and another non-indigenous favorite, the European Starling, neutralize the Ivy berry's toxins which bedevil our native songbirds. There have been reports of Robins, Stellar's Jays, and Cedar Waxwings eating the Ivy berries but no studies have been done to check the survival rates of those nibblers."color>

When you grow something on your property and keep it trimmed, you are not keeping it under control if it flowers and bears fruit.
Birds will eat the berries and distribute the seed in areas where you and others are not out with the mower or weed whacker, keeping the ivy "under control."

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 11:28AM
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joy4me(z6 NY)

Whatever you do, DO NOT MOW it!!! All you need is a 1/2" piece of root in contact with just about any soil for it to grow. A friend had a fairly small patch and thinking that mowing would kill it, wound up with a more vigorious patch, densely matted! Much harder to remove than before. It will climb just about any obstacle, except, maybe smooth metal, and that would have to be pretty high.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 3:45PM
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strikegoldman(z7B GA)

English ivy is terrible! Even if you manage to keep it under control for a while, if it ever escapes it can be ruinous to nearby ecosystems.
Our neighbor planted some 20 years ago on his bank to keep the soil from eroding, although I have read that it is a poor specimen for that purpose since it has a shallow root structure. Anyway, it has now covered the entire woods behind several houses, an area of about 5 acres.
It really makes it difficult for other plants to grow, creating a monoculture that is not good for native plants and animals.
I've spent the whole winter pulling it up by the roots from our property, but there is no guarantee it won't come back since it remains on the adjacent property.
Please don't continue using this plant unless you can contain it closely; think about what it can do in the long run!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 4:45PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

How can it destroy bricks and mortar?

I can see where a plant enclosed in brick could insinuate tendrils into existing fractures and expand them in an effort to reach light, but a plant that destroys its supporting structure (which it uses for light and reproduction) would have gone extinct long ago. Bricks are a recent development for Ivy - but the same concept holds true for trees: killing your supporting structure is not a viable trait.

I'm not a fan of English Ivy because of its toxicity to pets, but if it actually destroys homes then there's a definite financial reason for avoiding it. Is there study data anywhere of actual property damage?


    Bookmark   April 26, 2004 at 11:09AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Ivy climbs by modified stem roots that form a suction-cup structure known as a "hold fast." These suction cups adhere to about anything from tree bark to bricks and remain in place when the ivy is ripped down. If ivy is allowed to climb on a brick wall and later removed, these hold fasts cannot be removed.

Ivy hold fasts can create a maintenance headache if allowed to form on a wall, but they will not grow into and destroy sound mortar and brick.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2004 at 4:14PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

Interesting . . . Makes you wonder if any glue companies have been researching those hold-fasts.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 12:23PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

It's better than glue, it has these tenacious fuzzy tendrils that devours it's victim and becomes one with the mortar. It's like a melding of the soul...almost spiritual...But it won't work for gluing your broken trophies.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 9:41PM
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Ivy does't need a supporting structure. It grows "nicely" on the ground in the shade. Once its supporting structure is downed, it gets even more light.
If the premise that it would go extinct by killing its host were true for ivy or any other parasitic organism, the potential hosts that survive wouldn't have to worry about AIDS, ebola, flesh-eating bacteria or other diseases that die when they kill their hosts either!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2004 at 7:32PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

Actually - the deciding factor is the speed at which it kills its host. This is why you haven't come down with a bad case of ebola.

I've since learned that "English Ivy pulling down trees" is a complete myth. Some states still suggest that Ivy causes trees to blow down in storms - but I think this is another silly attempt to propagate a myth.

Since hearing all the hubbub about English Ivy in another post, I bought some and planted it in my yard to see what all the fuss is about. Strangely enough, it hasn't kidnapped any children or raped my dog yet. It hasn't even spread. Talk about hype ...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 12:32PM
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You are wrong. Come to the Pacific NW and you can see this "complete myth" for your own eyes.

English Ivy can, and does, kill mature trees here.

Here is a link that might be useful: click on

    Bookmark   May 18, 2004 at 9:24PM
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strikegoldman(z7B GA)

Maybe part of the reason there are differing opinions about ivy does have to do with location. It is also bad here in the Southeast, almost like kudzu in some areas. I have seen large trees that have fallen that were so covered in THICK ivy vine, it's hard for me to believe the vine didn't contribute to the demise of the tree. I couldn't even tell what kind of trees they were because of the ivy (which didn't die even months after the tree did!)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2004 at 1:00PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Onan Salad,

Why you rebel you! Or are you just a troll?

Even kudzu would take more than a month or so to devour it's host. Ivy doesn't grow THAT fast, you must be patient. In the meantime, can I interest you in some garlic mustard or a little mutiflora rose? Maybe some Japanese honeysuckle? That oughta keep you busy while you wait.

Thank goodness you aren't my neighbor.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 8:23AM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

No rebel or troll (either takes too much energy).

I just don't believe the hype about the latest eco-witchhunts. I don't believe there is any scientific validity to the term "invasive," since all species share the same original land mass. This has all been addressed in other posts (

If a gardener is truly vigilant about non-natives, they would have already given their home and belongings away to native americans and travelled back to Europe.

Not that yanking everything you don't like and calling it "invasive" is all that unnatural. I'm sure most gardeners feel the same sense of satisfaction when pulling "invasives plants" as a lion feels when it methodically kills every kitten in each litter of cheetahs it finds.

I know that once a belief is deeply entrenched that no amount of logic or evidence will dislodge it - but I have to smile when I hear someone complaining that a species is invasive because it's choking their apple tree (um, where did your apple tree come from?).

I guess I'll just plant some English ivy around this soapbox. Maybe some garlic mustard. I would plant something to help me chill out, but marijuana's an Asian invasive.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2004 at 1:11PM
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strikegoldman(z7B GA)

I think we're using different definitions when we use the term "invasive." I use it simply in a descriptive sense to mean that it is something that, if left unchecked, will take over large areas and not allow other things to grow. I am not afraid to admit that I want to preserve my native environment for selfish reasons: because I want to preserve the unique sense of place that exists around me. When my woods begin to look like some strange new country in Southeast Asia, it makes me sad. Yes, everything changes. Yes, it is all part of the "natural" process. But who cares? So is death, but we all try to avoid that for as long as possible too...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2004 at 10:52AM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

All good points, Strikegold.

I seem to be just as compulsive on my anti-ecology sermon as some of the most anti-invasive posters.

Strangely enough - the grass around my chimney is now out-competing the ivy for light. The ivy was initially putting out the new, light-green leaves, but soon after a bout of storms the grass picked up a few inches and those new leaves are now mottled with yellow. Perhaps ivy can take over as soon as it has a foothold - but the natives in my area have been effective at preventing that foothold. Of course, it ain't over till the fat flower blooms. If the ivy bounces back and poses a threat to my garden, I'll cut it down and feed it to my wife's cat.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2004 at 11:26AM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

I think if people want to plant non-native invasives...fine. But when it spreads to MY property, where I don't want it...then there's a problem, and the neighbor is going to get a bill for the eradication of the non-natives. Capisch? I have spent dozens of hours pulling buckthorn seedlings from my yard and gardens this year. I work 40+ hours a week, and drive 3 hours a day to get back and forth to my job. I HAVE NO TIME to deal with the fruits of other people's stupidity. My next door neighbor has a lovingly tended mature buckthorn tree in his front yard. This is not fair. And yes, life is not fair...but someone's ignorance is not my bliss. And no one has a right to infringe on my bliss, dang it. I don't infringe on theirs.

Better yet, feed it the ivy to your dog...see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2004 at 11:00PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Now that you've brought this thread up again...I completely agree with you...but...

I have to wonder what Onansalads purpose is for pursuing this issue except to stir the pot of controversy. Bored??

He/she says; "I bought some (ivy) and planted it in my yard to see what all the fuss is about. Strangely enough, it hasn't kidnapped any children or raped my dog yet. It hasn't even spread. Talk about hype"

That's such an absurdly ridiculous remark to make that it doesn't deserve a response. (check his member page)

I enjoy controvery too but I despise trolls.

TROLL; (definition)
A purposely stupid, inflammatory, or downright wrong article (closely related to flamebait). Its purpose is to get people mad and make them look stupid and gullible.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2004 at 11:51PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Do not feed trolls.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 12:07AM
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I love ivy and have it all over my property. I have started to remove it from the trees but in my shady yard, it is fabulous. It completely covers the picket fence and all the front yard along w/ pachysandra. I also have vinca. I have very little grass which is fine w/ me. Ivy is vastly more interesting in a yard than grass.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 1:47AM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

"I have to wonder what Onansalads purpose is for pursuing this issue except to stir the pot of controversy."

My reason for posting on this forum is the same as yours.

FORUM; (definition)
A medium of open discussion or voicing of ideas, such as a newspaper or a radio or television program.

Anyone who voices an opinion you don't like is not a troll. Anyone who points out the fallacy of pseudo-scientific principles is not a troll. Anyone who uses humor to provide gravity to a concept (such as saying that english ivy has not kidnapped any children) is not a troll.

You say that you love controversy, yet your reply had nothing to do with my points. My post contains no inflammatory statements and does not fit your definition of a troll. Ironically, your response - with its questions about my motivations and implied personal slants about my profile - actually fits that bill.

Too often a forum merely becomes an ideoligical mob. Any thread on 'invasives' seems particularly susceptible to this infection. Any idea or concept outside of the mob ideology is instantly attacked and discredited.

So, is this a forum or an ideological lobby?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 8:47AM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

The word "troll" refers to a method of fishing, not something that lives under a bridge. You only, post in the "invasive" threads. One might conclude from that that you are only interested in an argument.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 4:42PM
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Lizzy5225(z4 IA)

I have been trying to grow english ivy on the banks of my side yard but being in zone 4 doesn't seem to be beneficial to growth. Can anyone tell me what special food or nutrients are needed to help growth as our soil is pure clay.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 9:46PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)


If your soil is pure clay, you've got some work ahead of you regardless of what you want to grow. Even with heavy composting & manure, it can take years to work clay into good soil. If you want a leg-up, build a raised bed on top of the clay and fill with cheap top-soil. In zone 4, raised beds have the additional benefit of warming early.

Another option is to mix cheap topsoil, compost (sawdust is even good), and manure into the existing clay - but it's hard work.

Clay actually does have some good qualities nutrient-wise - but is just too dense and airtight for roots.

Don't expect any fix to be a one-time deal though - as you'll probably need to add some compost each year. When I lived in the South and had a garden over clay soil, I'd add wheelbarrows of sawdust and manure in late fall and let it compost over the usually moderate winter.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2004 at 8:40AM
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English Ivy grows real fine in Zone 6! I can only wish death on this disgusting plant.

Some over twenty years ago, the former owner of my home planted some Eng Ivy all along a not-so-lovely chain link fence, and trained it to become a screen. When I bought the house 19 years ago, I thought isn't this lovely. It also performed well as a ground cover under hemlocks where grass wouldn't grow (and was difficult to mow anyway).

Then slowly, slowly the scales began to fall from my eyes: I, too, had the experience of finding it growing into my basement (did I mention that I have a 2-foot-thick rubble stone basement on a 120-year-old farmhouse?) climbing over the soleplate of the foundation.

Then there was the ivy growing up the atlantic white and eastern red cedars, causing much branch damage (this was the easy part to remedy)and breakage.

Then there was the large granite chimney from the fireplace in the 1950's addition that had to be completely repointed, at considerable cost, although my dear neighbor thought it was sad that I removed that charming English cottage look by removing the ivy.

The last straw was the rats. Yes, I said RATS (pardon the shouting). The exterminator killed 19 of them in my basement. It seems the English Ivy growing as groundcover creates a kind of "rat mall" where they can run free and dig undisturbed and undetected. My charming rubble stone basement was super-easy for them to penetrate.

So this year became the first year of English Ivy eradication and extirpation. I have killed and removed by pulling, digging, etc., about 750 s.f. I have about 1000 s.f. to go, maybe more. I first mow it, rake/vaccuum all trimmings, to weaken it by removing most leaves. It's slow, but I will do it even if I have to do it singlehandedly. That chain link fence (the only part remaining) will eventually go, too, but the hardest of the Ivy to remove is like a woody tree growing through it so it will have to be removed by Saws-all.

I know I will not get everything the first year, but in the end, just like the Three Tenors sing: "Vincero'!"

    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 4:30PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)


I'm in zone 6 and I planted a flat of ivy around the house. I had one plant left and I stuck it into a gravel dog-run next to our air-conditioning unit. Now, after 3 months, most of the ivy plants are dead - outcompeted for light by grass and weeds. Ironically, the most successful plant is the one in gravel - I believe because the ivy thrives in the heat and humidity expelled by the unit.

Any thriving organism you don't like is annoying, but ivy has just as much right to be in your yard as you do. If it's causing damage to your property then by all means eradicate it from your property. Just don't pretend your actions have anything to do with saving the world.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 10:03AM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Okay, Onan. I won't. Just as long as you don't pretend your philosophy is scientific.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 11:04AM
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Please do not ascribe intentions to my post that I did not express.
I have no pretensions about "saving the world" -- just saving my property from further destruction.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 11:05AM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

ahughes: science is a philosophy - one of the few with a practical application. I'd be interested to know what I've said that's unscientific.

tomtux: didn't mean to insinuate that you were saving the world - but many people posting on this and other so-called 'invasives' (garlic mustard, kudzu, bamboo, tadpoles, [insert a species you hate here]) not only believe that they're saving the world when they preach their sermon, but feel that anyone who disagrees with them is either 1) ignorant 2) evil 3)stupid or, in the case of an interesting few, 4) unscientific.

My experiment with English Ivy was a response to an earlier post - and it may be too soon to draw any conclusions yet. At the very least, I would emphasize that English Ivy's growth rate is strongly dependent on your area. I haven't commented on any of the strings on bamboo or garlic mustard or myriad of other hated species because I haven't observed their growth habits. The Ivy was on sale and I wanted to see if this plant was as evil as the hype I was reading here. So far, the ivy has not stolen my car. I did catch it looking lasciviously at my dog the other day, but my dog may have invited this by behaving suggestively.

ps - the part about the dog was tongue-in-cheek (sigh).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 5:59PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Onan..I don't believe that you're 1, 2, 3 or 4. I do believe you like to stir the pot for stirring the pot's sake, though. I believe that you are a troll. There are plenty of people here who have true to life, no BS, factual tales about how bad and invasive english ivy is. I'm hoping it gets put on a list of plants banned from the US. I won't hold my breath, though. Lots of people in the US like that "english cottage" look.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 12:30AM
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LindaB_MD(z6to7 So MD)

I kept a "patch" of ivy in a confined area (i.e. between driveway and sidewalk) and, yes, I had to cut it alot, but I used the cuttings in flower arrangements for many church dinners and gatherings. I actually liked the way it looked after cutting it back. It didn't take long and was very therapeutic as it went from messy to neat in a short amount of time.

However, I have since moved and apparently the new owners don't like to trim and have let the ivy completely cover the sidewalk. They have also let the whole yard go, so it looks awful. I guess my legacy to the old neighborhood will be ivy running rampant...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 3:28PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

English ivy can certainly be beautiful.... be it sure is invasive..... to bad...... I have a whole area of my yard covered in it and I don't know what to do with it...... I've just left it there...... I'd like to make a woodland garden there but can't begin to imagine getting rid of the ivy..... imagine starting a woodland garden in the ivy would be a bad idea...... would choke everything out...... or wouldn't it ??????? Anyway..... I hate pesticides and suspect the massive use of them would be the only way to get rid of the stuff..... maybe someday...... :)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 11:58PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Flowersandthings....I don't know...maybe full strength Round-up? Ivy is pretty tough. You could experiment on a small patch.

I have quite a problem with field bindweed, so this year I decided I was going to try full strength round up using an envelope know...those little tubes with a sponge at the end, you put water in the tube and apply it to the sticky part of the envelope flap...well, anyway, I must say that full strength round up works very well on field bindweed. It takes 2 applications...but it works. Plus you're daubing it directly on the unwanted plant. No overspray, no dripping into the surrounding soil. Maybe it would work for English Ivy.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 12:46AM
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flowersandthings: You are correct, the ivy will engulf your other plants. Hand clearing can work, but for large areas it takes extensive labor, and much time, with some years of followup work. And although this may not be an option for you, in large sites environmental groups often choose Roundup to remove English ivy from habitat. One way to do it is to use the concentrated form diluted to the label rates for difficult to control perennial weeds with additional surfactant added to the spray mix so it penetrates the ivy leaves. This can be done in late fall when other plants are more likely to be dormant. This is a very successful method with no long term effects since this product breaks down. Make sure to keep any spray off desirable plants. Often a combination of hand clearing of areas where desirable plants are comingled, and spray applications to areas of pure ivy make sense. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 3:56AM
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jeremyjava(NY z5)

QUESTION: Having removed the Eng. Ivy from my brick house, have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire by planting wisteria and trumpet vine? I think not... I HOPE not, as it's growing well and would hate to remove it. Should have asked beforehand. Anyone know?

If you would be so kind as to email me your response, as well as posting it here, it would be GREATLY appreciated. Sometimes with my work schedule I only have time for email.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 11:00PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)


My goodness if you wanna grow English ivy, by all means, go right ahead. Who cares? Or do you just need an audience for your antics?

This is a woodland plant forum, for which ivy doesn't fit the bill.

Why don't you go over to the native plant forum and harass them for awhile. (you'd REALLY like them:)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 10:20PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Please don't encourage him, Peggy.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 9:03AM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

You may have a point, Peggy. Prior to my original post I read the forum description, which was very simple: "This forum is for the discussion of gardening in woodland habitats." I did not know that the word "woodland" denoted an ideoligical group, and that a post questioning the validity of "environmentally dangerous plants" was akin to advocating condoms on a Catholic Sexual Ethics forum.

Considering many of the reasonable posts on this thread, I have to question that assertion now. There are some name-calling and condescending posts - which seems to indicate some intolerant idealogues out there, but by and far most posts in the woodlands forum are very reasonable - even when posters disagree. If someone were to claim that the woodland gardening forum belongs only to intolerant and extremist environmentalists, I would challenge that immediately.

If a misguided poster suddenly appeared who claimed that only a single species of plant should belong on this planet and all others should be exterminated, I'd say 'Welcome aboard!' They'd at least be interesting posts and there would definitely be some interesting debate. Would I be outraged that someone with such unusual ideas existed? Would I instantly begin a tirade of condescension and name-calling to try and bully them into submission and silence? Of course not. My world view is not that insecure or intolerant.

Strangely enough, most of the venom against my posts is not about my questioning the objective validity of the environmental damage done by invasive species, but that I actually planted English Ivy (gasp!). This is a classic case of choking on flies while swallowing the camel.

Your suggestion to go to the native plants forum is silly. The name of the forum itself denotes an arbitrary acceptance of a meaningless term. Native to what? All species start as invasives. The only native thing in existence is energy, and even it changes form. Me posting on the native plants forum really would be like advocating birth control on a Catholic Sexual Ethics board.

At the same time, I would not suggest you restricting your posts to that group either, although your ideals may tend in that direction. A discussion of woodland gardening is broad enough to allow both our views.

Thank you for the suggestion though.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 5:46PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Hey, why don't you try discussing woodland plants in this here forum for a change? Believe it or not people do talk about plants other than English ivy in the woodlands forum. Really! Look at the other threads, dude! Besides, you've stated that you don't like the plant so get over it already. People relate their personal experiences with the plant and you jump don't their throats for being "intolerant idealogues". That's just mean.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 9:14PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Well, the title of the forum is "woodland plants" It doesn't say woodland native plants, so I figger in this forum, anything that grows in shade is cool..Except EI, which is NEVER cool. Kill it. Kill it hard.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 12:11AM
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I just ripped out a bed of ivy, and had it removed from the side of a stucoo-over-stone cottage on my property....It left a big mess..trails of 'hold-fasts all up and down the walls. My question now: How do I get those 'trails' off the walls so I can re-paint? Surely pressure washing is not going to do it?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 11:13AM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Folks in my area use pressure washing to remove the trails. That, and some elbow grease! April

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 8:14PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Onan is a troll. The only threads s/he posts to involve invasive, non-native plants. Onan likes invasive non-native plants. I hope his yard is not next to mine, or yours. And no, not all species start as invasives. April

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 11:27PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

What an interesting thread on a generally unwelcome addition to someone's yard or woodland.

I just want to add that I had a huge foot-deep ivy patch maybe 80 x 100 ft in my woods that I laboriously pulled up over a couple years. Runners were as long as 50 feet. Many were already high up in the firs, hemlocks and alders, some smaller of which had already succombed to the forest floor covered in ivy.

Pull, roll, toss in the wheelbarrow and off to the burn pile ivy would go where there was a whole lot of "Burn, Baby Burn" sung outloud in celebration! Of course, there are a few sprouts of ivy trying to reclaim some ground in the area: they don't last very long once I see them... but I have been very pleased at how well it's been kept at bay.

A helpful piece of advice by a PNW Garden Guru: if ivy is on your tree trunks: cut the vines at the base and let the runners die before pulling them off or those 'suction cup' holders up the trunk will pull off lots of bark. Yes it's ugly and takes a few months but it works. I assume the same practice would benefit a house whether of wood, brick/mortar or other.

Onan is quite a literate, philosphical poster and it makes my brain hurt to read his/her more thoughtful posts. But I hate to see a place as pleasant as Garden Web littered with name calling. Hope that's kept to a minimum no matter how the debate rages on any given topic.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 11:18AM
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When I bought this place 11 years ago I had a few sprigs of ivy. I liked it so well I went out and purchased a flat at $27. I wish I could sell some of mine for that now. I've had to remove it from my bedford stone house as it grew to the top of the chimney and threatened to close off the flue.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 4:28PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

This is a bad place to put my first post, but oh well.

I disagree with the accusation that Onan is a troll. onan likes ivy and isnt afraid to say so. While in my opinion, it has very few redeeming qualitys, some people like it and onan should feel free to state his/her opinion.

I would not ever grow english ivy, but i do have a nontoxic, non-invasive reletive, grape ivy, as a houseplant. I wouldnt let it loose but its nice where it is (in a pot near the window!)

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 8:01PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

There was another thread that Onan posted on defending English ivy and other "invasive" plants. It made him/her suspect because he/she had only joined gardenweb that day. So the "troll" assumption was not based solely on his posts on this thread.

Welcome to gardenweb. I assure you that we are generally a friendly, likable bunch of people.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 12:34PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Uh, Fledgeling did you notice where he/her/it said "I'm not a fan of English Ivy because of its toxicity to pets"? This person also stated that kudzu is not an invasive plant and that we are all a bunch of intolerant idealogues. I suppose that there are limits to tolerance.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 2:31PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

Thank you all....

are these the parts your talking about ""This forum is for the discussion of gardening in woodland habitats." I did not know that the word "woodland" denoted an denoted an ideoligical group, and that a post questioning the validity of "environmentally dangerous plants" was akin to advocating condoms on a Catholic Sexual Ethics forum..."---------------------------------"tomtux: didn't mean to insinuate that you were saving the world - but many people posting on this and other so-called 'invasives' (garlic mustard, kudzu, bamboo, tadpoles, [insert a species you hate here]) not only believe that they're saving the world when they preach their sermon, but feel that anyone who disagrees with them is either 1) ignorant 2) evil 3)stupid or, in the case of an interesting few, 4) unscientific.""

These are direct copy-and-paste quotes from onan- from two different posts(not in order). /\ notice that intolerent and ideolougs appeir in different posts, and i dont think onan ment exactly what was interperted.

on the flip side, i would be one of those "interesting few" that say that onan is being a wee but... unscientific.

pardon my bluntness

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 5:29PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

Lycopus, you took the wind out of my sails.... I took my dog to a much loved hiking ground riddled with ivy-covered trees by a salmon spawning creek. There were some great shots to be had illustrating what your photos do, but yours to a much higher degree than here.

Unfortunately, within 20 seconds of arriving the dog found a nice, big, dead rotten salmon to roll in and sort of polluted my desire to photographically share the growth habits of ivy, along with the inside of my car, the livingroom carpet, and the bathroom rug enroute to the tub where I tried to scrub the idealoguism out of her foul canine being and long, thick fur.
Now THAT is one ignorant, evil, stupid, and uninteresting dog. And there was more name-calling between doses of shampoo, believe you me.....

Wallymar, it takes a giant person to admit to buying a flat of ivy. Hats off to you! If it makes you feel any better, I let my 7 yr old daughter choose 4 plants for "her garden" years back. She picked 3 english ivies, and one leopard's bane- the latter promptly devoured by slugs; the former still flourishes around a birdbath where I hack it back at every opportunity. Oh well, to each their own choices...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 9:23PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

That picture is of kudzu, just something I found on another website. Wanted to illustrate what it can do. I am suspicious of ivy though after visiting someone in NJ and seeing it climbing up trees like it was trying to consume them. Not as rampant as kudzu but based on the stories I've read here and elsewhere, something to avoid. I've heard it's become a real problem in the PNW.

Btw, I have experienced the post-spawn stench of the salmon run in the great lakes region. You have my sympathies.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 11:48PM
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myrmecodia(7 NC)

Well, here's some good news about ivy and its removal. My wife and I ripped up about 1/4 acre of Ivy when we bought our house, and the pest seems to be under control. We just have to monitor the ground and remove any stray stems that reappear. A year later, I was pleased to see native cranefly orchids popping up all over the area that was previously covered by ivy. The corms must have been lurking under the ivy, just waiting for the light.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 3:48PM
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Poochella(7 WA)

So that is the kudzu I hear about. It looks just like what the ivy does out here in Western WA. I wouldn't want it in my woods, that's for sure.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 4:47PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

I got busy and forgot to update on the flat of ivy I planted: as of late Aug every plant from the flat was dead except for the one I planted in gravel (yes - gravel, with only the bit of potting soil clinging to its roots from the flat). This one thrived. Once again, I believe the humidity expelled from my air conditioning unit kept this one alive. Wherever English Ivy may take over, it doesn't appear to be in my area.

Goodness! Looking over recent posts it appears that some have been very busy ascribing statements to me! Don't you guys realize that all someone has to do is scroll up and see what was really said?

And with all the name-calling and questioning of motives, no one has yet responded to any of my points. If you believe that at one time there was no life on this planet, then no species is native. If there is no such thing as a native species, then by definition there is no non-native or 'invasive' species.

The thing I don't like about the movement against so-called invasives is that it promotes an army of stormtroopers to go out into the woodlands and purge all non-pure species. Within bounds I acknowledge that it is completely understandable to exterminate certain species (within your body or even your yard). But to attempt to impose your viewpoint on the entire environment is futile and silly.

Ironically, the additional pressure on a species will just cause it to adapt faster and become even more successful. The harder you fight English Ivy now, the more you're contributing to an even more resilient species of ivy down the road. It is a futile and self-perpetuating battle.

You can't win against nature.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 2:47PM
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What utter nonsense. Onan, your logic is defective.

Nature doesn't exist in a vacuum, certainly not in this day and age with the human species proliferating itself into every nook and cranny of the globe. Simply look at the number of current species of both plants and animals that are passing into extinction due to the interference of mankind into the natural order. Do we have a profound effect on the environment? Of course we do and it is not always positive.

As to the argument that no species is "native" based on a Big Bang theory that life on earth began spontaneously, it is a premise that cannot be substantiated and really has no bearing on the issue. What we are dealing with is the here and now and there is a very real threat of certain non-indigenous species overtaking natural plantings of indigenous species. This didn't occur naturally or by accident, but by human intervention. It is not the natural order of things and is certainly giving nature a run for her money, the concept of winning or control aside.

I've yet to see any "army of stormtroopers" out raiding the local woodlands and natural areas of non-indigenous plants. A few corps of eager volunteers ridding greenbelts, freeway verges and other public spaces of naturalized ivy, but a wholesale invasion of woodlands and natural spaces to remove non-indigenous species? Doesn't happen - there is not the manpower or the funding to accomplish something of this scale.

"Invasive" plant listings were started to alert the public on non-indigenous plants which threatened agricultural crops and created significant economic impact. They have since expanded to include more ornamental plants which have the ability to reseed or otherwise proliferate freely to the detriment of indigenous species. In most cases these lists are cautions, fewer outright restrictions. And they are not limited to exotic or non-indigenous ornamentals - many so-called native or indigenous plants are included on these listings as well, if they pose the same aggressive nature.

The issue doesn't simply boil down to native versus non-native - it is far more complex than that. As gardeners we have a responsibility as stewards of the environment. To abbrogate that responsibility is foolhardy and selfish and illustrates a distinct disregard for one's fellow citizens, not to mention coming generations.

Here is a link that might be useful: Steven Jay Gould - treatise on native plants

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 10:59AM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

Um, GardenGal - the Gould link you posted supports the very argument I've made. Gould concludes that there is no scientific validity to invasive plants at all (p.8), but that an emotional argument can be made to preserve native habitats because we've grown attached to them (he fails to note that all environments change whether we're here or not).

Species deemed 'invasive' have a long and lucrative evolutionary history. Every cell in your body is littered with an ancient invasive that just happens to provide the energy your cells need to live (this invasive still has its own genetic material). Invasion is just change, and evolution guarantees it - without regard to fences, national boundaries, or human-defined 'eco-systems' which are just illogical snapshots of a dynamic system.

Species will be spreading and overtaking new areas long after there are human eyes to disapprove of it.

As far as the core of the issue being non-indigenous species out-competing indigenous species, I would simply ask you to define indigenous. Is it something that has thrived in an arbitrary area for 1 million years? 2 million? 200 million? What number of years do you want to use to define indigenous, and how was this number calculated? It is logical that at some point a species came into being, and this had to be in a rather small area (a few inches to a few feet); what area is this new species indigenous to? A few miles? Hundreds of miles? How was this range calculated? Questions regarding ecosystems always seem to end in nonquantifiable assumptions.

In the end, the fight against so-called invasives comes down to a fight against change. Change is a defining constant in nature. Thus a fight against invasives is a fight against nature.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 1:26PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

The terms indigenous, artificial, invasive, native are all words so they must have a meaning. What do they mean to you? Kind of hard to answer any of those questions when you are arguing that the very words are without import! For example, consider the word ethics. The only way ethics can mean nothing to an individual is if the individual has no ethics. That is not a matter of "logic", assuming such a word exists, but of common sense. :)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 5:07PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Onan, since "Change is a defining constant in nature" but you are the one opperating in a vacuum then I can only think you are, "...1) ignorant 2) evil 3)stupid or, in the case of an interesting few, 4) unscientific."

If the shoe fits....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 9:24PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

Lycopus - I'm not saying the words like 'invasive' are without meaning, but that they have no objective value. In other words, they are subjective.

If you read over early posts in this thread, you will see people referring to those with English Ivy in their yards as ignorant ("someone's ignorance is not my bliss", etc). It is utterly inconcievable to these posters that their neighbors have the same, if not more, information and simply drew a different conclusion. The assumption is that the poster's subjective definition of 'invasive' is an incontrovertible scientific term. It is not.

Since it is subjective, it's definitely an issue that should be discussed - and I'm glad there are people here to discuss it. Unfortunately, it's also an issue that seems to draw outrage and personal insults from self-righteous bullies. If you do a search on English Ivy in the GardenWeb forums you will find the following post:

"English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me"

Am I the only person who sees something wrong with this?

A forum is an exchange of ideas - and I came here to share mine and learn others. I will continue to do so, despite attempts to discredit or insult (let's face it, some of those are pretty entertaining - the suggestion to poison my dog by feeding it English Ivy was especially fresh).

To less abstract topics: as soon as I shrink it down, I'm going to try to post a picture of the English Ivy growing out of gravel in my dog-run. Love it or hate it, you have to respect this plant's durability - well, except for the rest of the flat which died in perfect garden soil.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 1:42PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Onan says, "A forum is an exchange of ideas - and I came here to share mine and learn others..."

Oh, really???

You have posted exactly 18 replies on two threads, and only two threads only since joining April 25, 2004.
Not surprisingly, both are on the subject of English Ivy.

This one, English Ivy is a Gold Medal plant
contains 5 replies from you.

There are 13 so far in this one.
All have to do with your philosophy on invasive species using assumptions and misinformation that you submit as science and fact.

I think the troll observation is right on the moneyƂ

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 4:54PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

What is your objective opinion as to the reason why the following birds are extinct? I would say it was the introduction of mosquitoes and other organisms to the Hawaiian islands, but that would be an invasive species theory. Maybe they just up and decided to all die at once. Perhaps the disappearance of these birds is just an nonquantifiable assumption.

Porzana palmeri (Laysan Rail), Porzana sandwichensis (Hawaiian Rail), Myadestes lanaiensis lanaiensis (Lanai Thrush), Myadestes oahuensis (Oahu Thrush), Acrocephalus familiaris familiaris (Laysan Millerbird), Chaetoptila angustipluma (Kioea), Moho apicalis (Oahu),
Moho bishopi (Bishop's O`o), Moho nobilis (Hawaii O`o), Dysmorodrepanis munroi (Lanai Hookbill), Himatione sanguinea freethii (Laysan Honeycreeper), Drepanis pacifica (Hawaiian Mamo), Drepanis funerea (Black Mamo), Hemignathus obscurus lanaiensis (Lanai `Akialoa), Hemignathus obscurus ellisianus (Oahu `Akialoa), Hemignathus obscurus obscurus (Hawaii `Akialoa), Hemignathus lucidus lucidus (Oahu Nukupu`u), Loxops coccinea wolstenholmii (Oahu `Akepa), Hemignathus sagittirostris (Greater `Amakihi), Paroreomyza montana montana (Lanai Creeper), Ciridops anna (Ula-ai-hawane), Rhodacanthis palmeri (Greater Koa Finch) , Rhodacanthis flaviceps (Lesser Koa Finch), Chloridops kona (Kona Grosbeak)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 5:57PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Apparently they were't invasive enough to survive. No great loss, right? I mean, change is a defining constant so no use fighting against it or even explaining it. Something else will come along to take their place in nature. ;^)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 6:57PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

Below is the single survivor of my flat of English Ivy - planted in about a foot of gravel. My suspicion about the humidity being the critical factor seems to be supported by the photo. The large rock in front was white, but as you can see it's now green with algae. The only substrate to speak of an occasional leaf and a carpet of algae which coats the gravel. One interesting thing to note is the holdfasts near the center-right of the picture where the plant is reaching towards the air-conditioning unit. This plant is in full shade, while the rest of the plants that died were in full sun.

A larger version can be viewed here:

I did read some strange things about the ivy on other websites - namely that it's reproductive phase (sometimes cut and sold as 'tree ivy') is much rarer than its crawling phase because it needs exactly the right light conditions. I also learned that ground-crawling ivy is more effectively controlled by training rather than cutting (cutting promotes growth). Apparently hedera helix is such an indiscriminant grower than you can fold an edge over on itself and it will grow the other direction. I'm going to try this in the spring and see if it works. I can't see this method working with climbing ivy, however, due to the aforementioned holdfasts.

My own experience with English Ivy is probably a little short-lived to draw any conclusions. As the old saying goes, 'The first year it weeps; the second year it creeps; the third year it leaps.' So we'll wait and see.

Oh - and one other thing: apparently goats love the stuff (for those of you with unwelcome acres of ivy).

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 7:30PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

indiscriminant grower=PC term for invasive

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 9:08PM
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Did all this answer your question, Lori of NJ?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 9:31PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Answers to Lori's questions
1) probably not
2) not a chance

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 10:43PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

This thread is almost 3 years old. We're just trying to put it out of it's misery.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 11:18PM
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Onan_Salad(z5 NJ)

>What is your objective opinion as to the reason why the following birds are extinct?

Objectively I would have to conclude that English Ivy was not responsible. Taking the big picture, the cause of any exinction is always competition (the same cause of adaptation and survival).

Not to belittle gardening's impact, but has any plant cultivated by humans been responsible for a documented extinction?

When I think of the plants often identified as the epitome of 'invasive' plants - the prime suspects would be either Paterson's Curse in Australia or Eurasian Milfoil in the upper midwest. For a while I think there was talk of some finch going extinct over Paterson's curse but this accusation was silently dropped (I just tried to look up the name of this finch on the web and was not able to find it). Ultimately, the major gripe against Paterson's Curse was that it caused weight loss and even kidney failure in livestock. Similarly, Eurasion Milfoil hasn't been tied to extinctions, but it sure does annoy fishermen (as soon as fishermen really started to get annoyed, there was talk of the milfoil clogging spawn areas, but I think this was dropped too). Southerners would probably nominate Kudzu as a possible suspect (since it looks so dramatic) - but no one has even found grounds to accuse it of any extinction (and believe me, they've been looking). I can't find a single example of a cultivated plant causing an exitinction, yet ecology texts still teach that introduced exotic species are a common cause of extinction (

Of all the species humans have cultivated, the one most likely to have caused extinctions has to be Penicillium notatum - but it's a fungus.

I would love to hear if anyone has a documented case. Maybe I'm overlooking something.

A surprisingly self-deprecating science article on species invasion can be found at

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 12:11AM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

The mosquito is a vector in the case of the Hawaiian birds, so it is not a competitor.

It is difficult to prove a plant extinction. Decades need to pass since the last sighting before a plant is considered extinct. Some people are still looking for Franklinia in the wild. However, there is ample evidence that introduced plants have reduced critical habitat needed by threatened and endangered species. Most globally threatened species, at least in the U.S., are managed to prevent extinction.

Introduced plants have been implicated in the extinction of four plant species in Australia. Introduced species, including plants, have negatively impacted native species on the islands of Madagascar and Hawaii, among others. That's just looking at plant vs. plant interactions. Exotic plants have been resposible for the introduction of many serious plant and animal diseases.

Groves RH & Willis AJ 1999, Environmental weeds and loss of native plant biodiversity: Some Australian examples, Australian Journal of Environmental Management, 6, 164-171.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 2:24AM
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Bye Bye!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2004 at 11:09PM
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I want to use english ivy on a north facing slope to prevent erosion. I planted a number of pyrocanthas on the hill yesterday. Is there a way to stop the ivy from climbing the pryocanthas, like a plastic border that keeps grass ect out of a rock garden?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 3:26PM
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To akapeggy: you said "This is a woodland plant forum, for which ivy doesn't fit the bill." That may not always be true. I just ambled over from a jack-in-the-pulpit forum where I mentioned that in the rural, wooded area where I live, someone decided to rid themselves of ivy (or perhaps a load of clippings) by dumping it in the woods alongside the road not far from my home. Realizing that I wasn't sure what KIND of ivy it was but seeing mention of English ivy under the woodland forum topics list I did an online image search and sure enough, the stuff slowly taking over the woods is EI. So there are times, it would seem, when ivy does belong in a woodlands forum...and I'm glad it was here, because I've been going back and forth in my mind as to whether it would be right to pull out the patch that's there before it finishes choking out the plants that have been growing in that area for the last 30-plus years...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 1:38PM
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My recent experience attempting to establish ivy on a 200 meter X 2 meter bank between a dry stone wall and a gravel road suggests that ivy is NOT the assured winner in the battle of plants - or maybe that its survivability is inversely related to the individual's perception of desirability. So, ceding Round 1 to the long established weeds whose root remnants prevailed over ivy during a long dry summer, I'm shifting to winning the battle one zone at a time. Lesson learned.? Dispersing the plant too thinly simply doesn't work if the weather is challenging and there are sturdy competitors. As for the fascinating debate whether there are native species or they're all invasive, Darwin would have relished reading some of the dialogue. Had he returned to the Galapagos, my guess is that he would have had little difficulty in categorizing the goats and tortoises there.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 9:36AM
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I know that this thread is old, but it is near the top and is slamming a plant that I enjoy. The posts form the PNW are counter to my experience.

I have lived in in Oregon my entire life (other than a few winters in the Midwest - strangely, they feel colder to me here - probably the humidity.) Sadly, there are plenty of reasons why no state should look to Oregon for guidance on anything - and dealing with invasive plants would not be an exception.
Oregon is 27th in population among the states - surprising isn't it! We have more citizens than Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Utah, West Virginia, Nebraska, etc.... Yet, everyone reading this knows how Oregon is viewed nationally. Remember that little election in 2000? Bush vs. Gore? Remember how long Florida and the court process took to count the ballots by hand (in massive counties) two or three times? Despite what you felt about the outcome - Larger counties in Oregon didn't finish a single count during that entire time and nobody noticed or cared!???

I like English Ivy! If you keep it low and groomed it will not seed 30+ years experience. It is a hardy plant once established. If you did not even look at your plantings for a number of years(3 to 30 years), I am sure that it may grow out of control - example: urban parks. If you have tall trees that are infested, the solution is just like poison oak or ivy, sever the stems and wait for the plant to die and fall off the tree - It did not get there in a day and will not be removed in one.

It is not surprising to me that many people in Oregon say that they are disgusted about the spread of English Ivy ! It is what they have seen jogging through the park (where it was planted and not maintained.) What I can tell you IME that is not so hip or current - the damage from invasive plants in OR was inevitable and was done at least 20+ years ago - google "scotch broom" or "himalayan blackberry" with oregon - the war on invasives is serious and ongoing! - I have NEVER seen in Southwestern Oregon a naturalized English Ivy Plant!

But the people of OREGON have spoken! Who would want to plant Ivy or a butterfly bush anyway ? We like to make laws!

Best of luck to all!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 7:10AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

English ivy is responsible for serious ecological damage in some areas, but is fairly tame (according to many, at least) in other parts of the country. Before anyone plants it in a permanent location, they should really do their homework (check your state's and nearby state's invasive plant list, etc). Remember that you may not always be around to control your "beast". Once the plant is mature and produces seed, it can cause real damage in areas where the plant is invasive. Here in Tennessee, I've seen large areas of what used to be wooded natural areas that are now becoming close to a monoculture of this scourge.

Here's a map of where this species has naturalized and therefore may be invasive. It's much less likely to be any problem in the non-shaded states. One can also go to the USDA's NRCS site for more info.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 11:19PM
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Love my English Ivy, For me it is the perfect ground cover, Zone 7 Virgina...Never gets out of hand. Evergreen, I use it for floral arrangements, and neighbors love it to use for occassions such as weddings. Always glad to share!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 9:11AM
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Ivy like this can be super invasive and you should do what you can to control it. Even though it does look nice, it will probably have a negative effect on the whole to your local ecosystem.

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    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:47PM
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I planted an ivy hedge over 30 years ago to cover a wire fence. First year it slept, second year it crept, and third year it leapt. This was well before it became a villain and was commonly planted by the highway dept. We have maintained the hedges around our yard all these years. Other plants that have also been planted and removed were English laurel, and buddlia or butterfly bushes, yellow archangel and creeping Jenny. These were impossible to maintain and got ripped out. And every year i weed a few more out of the yard trying to get the last one. But I also have to weed out seedlings of cedar, fir, holly and a wide variety of other trees. Isn't that part of maintaining a yard? Don't even get me started on bindweed. Ivy just needs a yearly tight trim to keep neat. It is still here. Ivy only flowers on wood that is 3 or 4 years old. I've never had any flowers therefore no berries since it is trimmed.

Ivy isn't the villain as much as bad/lazy owners.

Anyone silly enough to let ivy crawl along a foundation or up a building will have problems, but I wouldn't let even a clematis be up against my home without a trellis. And I've seen a grape vine do the same damage as ivy can do in less time.

We have a yard that we turned into a woodland garden due to fir trees and a sequoia tree planted by neighbors along our south property line ten and fifteen years ago. These are pest trees to us. No where in my yard is ivy a ground cover or a pest, but it does provide nesting/shelter areas in the hedges for the Anna's hummingbirds that frequent our yard. We also have a wide variety of birds, towhees, song sparrows, jays, chickadees, juncos, gold finches,and quit a few more because of evergreen fences, bushes and native hazelnuts. Although ivy does change our landscape it doesn't make a desert. Wicki even says deer use it for food. The birds in my yard speak "diversity".

I have found the neighbors blackberry patches to be a haven for rats, and possums. The fir trees are also nesting sites for raccoons. The ivy keeps it so that I don't have to look at their unmaintained yards (all four of them). Our dogs have done in the rats, possums and one raccoon that got in the yard.

Would I plant ivy again? Probably. But I also have a huge variety of native plants including but not limited to: salal, Oregon grape, trilliums, pacific bleeding hearts, deer and sword ferns, BC ginger. Would I have woodland plants if the neighbors hadn't planted weed fir trees? No, but I am a homeowner and keep my yard up. If grass doesn't grow any more I adapt and have discovered new plants.

I have also tried some of the suggested vining plants. None of them did the job I needed them to do. If the people who complain about plants that are changing our wild lands would be out there pulling invasive species on public lands I'd see a whole lot less scotch broom on my commute to work.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 1:16AM
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ApprenticeGardener(7b or 8)

Have lived in and around Atlanta for over 40 years and have lived in 7 different homes and an additional 2 rentals. Ivy was located on each lot (even the one home I had built). I'm currently in the midst of removing about 1/4 acre of it from the back yard, a nice wooded area with several native plants.

I firmly believe that anyone down here who actually wanted to plant English Ivy should have their sanity seriously questioned. It is prolific, requires constant attention to keep it in check, and has a nasty habit of taking over, burying, and destroying whatever is in its path.

In one of my future posts, I'll let everyone know what I really think about it.

Best Wishes--Carl
Atlanta, GA

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 4:42PM
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My mother has English Ivy at her house in Tennessee. I pulled some from the roots, and now have it in a pot. It is growing quite nicely and makes for a BEAUTIFUL house plant for all of us that love the sight, but not the damage that Ivy can cause.

If anyone else has potted Ivy, or knows the answer I have a question. A few years ago I had a beautiful Ivy. But I had a pest issue that killed all my plants.

Now, i have this ivy, but it's drying out and looking brittle. I thought maybe it was the cold, but reading the comments, now I'm not so sure. I spray the plant with water every morning, just a mist to keep the top soil damp.

Could I be watering too much, Not enough sun? I really don't want to have another plant die on me. I mean come on, if I can't keep Ivy alive sheesh!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Hi Ezmerla

English Ivy does have a weakness. It does not like wet feet or too much moisture. Try letting it dry out almost completely and see if that helps. Just give it a good water on occasion directed at the root zone.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:19PM
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I might have an english ivy cultivar here in this pic. I got a fantastic deal on it, super mark down price. No tag name. Perhaps a not otherwise identifiable ivy. Keep it cut low on the trees expect things to buzz and crawl beneath the leaves, keep it crawling high and your trees might take a dive. lol. But mine, won't be leaving it's pot for a good long while. Ivy is great for those who deal with termites appropriately. If your in a zone with termites, ivy and trees might not be what you want and pebbling up your lot might be a better option. It looks great on trees and ivy managed on trees and landscaped low isn't going to topple your trees, great alternative to grass. This ivy I have has varied points, sometimes three sometimes five, unique specimen that will eventually go in a hanging basket. Take care of ivy and it might not tear your house down.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2015 at 7:02PM
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