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

Posted by Seeds_of_Grace z5/6 OHIO (My Page) on
Sun, May 16, 04 at 17:20

I know that English Ivy is a big no no in many areas (I've seen the posts). I was reading "The Gardening Book for Ohio" by Denny McKeown and it states "in my opinion ivy makes one of the best ground covers....english ivy will not compete with trees and shrubs in the landscape....ivy unlike some of it's cousins has a central root system that allows it to get along with tree roots. You can plant ivy roots between the tree roots and the vine will grow and cover them" O.K. I'm flippin confused!!!!! Is Ivy just a "bad boy" out west?? in the longer growing season??

Hugs & kisses!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

I just don't plant it because it twines around anything in comes into contact with. IMHO I think it looks bad covering trees...when there is more ivy than tree type thing. It becomes a maintenance pain in the rear.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

It is really tough to get rid of once it is established. A friend of mine had in front of her house and tried to take over her front porch.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

It seems to work well in my neighborhood where we have older established trees. They're planted out on the strip between the street and the sidewalk and looks quite nice. I don't think conditions are favorable enough for it to be a problem.

I like it because it eliminates the need to mow that difficult little strip (in theory) and looks tidy. I would sincerely hesitate to put it up on the main lot or near flower beds. My parents have it in their backyard beds and it's trouble there. (they have also had it for 45 years).

If you walk around German Village in Columbus, there are many nice applications of ivy that look good and appear to be controlled. Maybe it's a different kind of ivy - I dunno.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

If you can maintain it, there are plenty of aplications...if you can maintain it.

Did Denny start selling Hedera helix again?


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Ditto what bolecke said. It has good applications if you're willing to maintain it. My mother had used it to fill in a space in her back yard that was on a slop and full of trees. While it did a great job filling in that spot and making it cut free for her, she generally had to keep after it to keep it from spilling out into areas she did not want it. After 15 years of keeping up with it all, she finally tore it all out. She decided it was too much for her at her age to contend with anymore. But it did look nice there, and never did kill off any of the trees it grew up, though my mother usually pulled it off the trees each fall as she hated the look of the Ivy on the trees in the winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Gardens


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

don't do it, you will be sorry. I just spent weeks pulling it out and off of a house. It grew up through vinyl siding and into the house, literally. It laughs at Round-up and can cause a rash in some people. There are better choices for ground cover.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

In an appropriate spot, if it pleases you, there's no reason not to have it. The problem arises when people put it where it can reach a vulnerable structure, or a vulnerable part of an otherwise appropriate structure, which it will try to tear apart until it succeeds or dies. It will be successful if left to its' own devices. Luckily, ivy doesn't set berries around here, so it's only a nuisance on the spot where it's planted when that spot is not appropriate. In warmer climates, the berries cause seedlings to show up anywhere (after being dropped by birds,) hence its' invasiveness.

I don't know of any shrub big enough to support a full-blown ivy infestation, which happens about 2 weeks after you look at it and say to yourself, "Wow, that really looks nice, just like I imagined." Sure, the roots might peacefully coexist, but what about the issue of the vines soon completely covering the poor shrubs? Unless one were to want to perform an annual trimming ritual, this would be considered a very high-maintenance ground cover as it would continually attempt to climb the trees and shrubs he mentioned. As mentioned above, ivy can look pretty ratty in the winter here, not totally herbaceous, but certainly not evergreen. In any case, I doubt you'll find anybody on this forum hopped up enough to yell about ivy. (smiles!)

Were you looking for a groundcover or a vine to grow on a tree trunk (or just wanting to be more educated about ivy?)


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

I have to say that in the right spot, it's great. In the wrong spot, it's bad. I have it in places where it's easily contained with some border or barrier. In fact, 80% of my front yard is English ivy (no mowing--good for the earth). I have to go out once a year and clip it off a tree truck and the side of the house, but that's it. I take hedge trimmers and clean up the border every so often, just like trimming a hedge. I like it there.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Remember this, underground runners as strong as electric cords, and they can be snapped by pulling hard, but new ones sprout from what is left. And they root at the nodes.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Me/Myself and I-I'm looking for an evergreen groundcover for a front bed. It has a Japanese Maple in it from the previous owners...right smack in the middle. I'm very non symetrical....I planted lots of perennials the first year here but they seemed to compete with the JM. Any ideas that would fit the bill?


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

  • Posted by Dagget 5/6 Central OH (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 16, 04 at 8:17

english ivy is not evil incarnate. neither is mulch. But pile mulch up on your tree trunks, and you may damage them. Let ivy grow against and on things, and you may damage them.
One problem not mentioned is that ivy will make a thick, lofty bed that hide the ground (it's a ground cover, right?), and that might mean you can't see that water is draining toward your house and standing against the wall -- it's under the ivy. My in-laws found termites had eaten a lot of the joists under a house they owned. Ivy covered up the termite tunnels on the outside foundation walls.
So, be careful with it.
But I have planted it, and am happy with it where it is growing.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Here's a list of native OH groundcovers. For some reason, Gaultheria is on a page with vines.


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English Ivy on a Trellis?

What if I want something to plant to vine up and cover a trellis? Would English Ivy be appropriate? We have a trellis at the end of our porch, and we have some sort of ivy planted at its base now, but it's more of a ground cover than a climber, and doesn't grow fast at all, so it's not what we want. (My grandma gave us the starts.)

If not English Ivy, what else could we plant there? It gets lots of south and west sun and wind, so it needs to be tough stuff. We'd like a fast grower, too. You know, the perfect plant. LOL


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Pipanella, if it were me, I'd try a dutchman's pipe vine (Aristolochia macrophylla) there.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Yes! I got yelled at least year for ivy questions!

For me, ivy on a hillside has been a lot less maintenance and a lot safer than trying to cut the grass on theat hillside. It's easier for me to go out a clip it a couple of times a season.

As far as getting rid of unwanted ivy, it takes persitance, but the secret is to weed whip it, wait a week or so for new growth, then mix up some extra strong round-up and use that on it.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

I like the looks of ivy better than the ground cover euonymus, which is what I have in a bed out front. Euonymus also tries to take over the world (and often succeeds).

The groundcovers I really like are:
Myrtle
Packisandra (probably mispelled)


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

If you want to see a large amount of English Ivy blooming AND setting berries, I can show you. LOL. It does indeed set berries in Ohio if it is a mature planting. The leaves change shape and it does berry up. It takes almost two decades, at least that is how long it took ours. It's plenty warm enough in Ohio. Mine has berried times two years, and I suspect I'll soon fine it in places away from the vines.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Someone gave my grandmother a start of English Ivy about 30 years ago. She didn't want it so she took it up the hill behind her house and tossed it thinking it would die. It DIDN'T die!!! I am living in the house now and it is completely covering the hill, growing up every tree in sight and is slowly creeping it's way to the house. It's like the movie "The Thing" I expect to wake up one morning and the house will be swallowed up and I will never get out of the house again, I'll be trapped by the dreaded English Ivy. I hate it (where it's growing). I have tried everything to get rid of it. I don't see it happening because I could never afford the cost of the round up that it would take to spray on the stuff because the area is so large and even if I could afford it, it wouldn't work anyway. I have pulled, yanked and have tried spraying with round up and the Ivy just looks at me...laughs...and grows even faster. The Ivy is winning this war, I'm tired!!! I don't know what else to do. It grows faster than I can pull it.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Yep. It was one of my biggest gardening mistakes. The thing is, when you plant it initially it grows so slowly you actually celebrate when it starts to rip. You always PLAN to keep it contained, and when it gets to just where you want it, then it is usually too late. LOL. When it hits maturity, it goes on steroids.

Plants cannot survive if they are severed from their roots, so I'd suggest taking a good sized lopper and severing the vines just above ground level on the trees you wish to eradicate it from. My husband has mowed the ivy bed from lleh in our front yard. Destroy the clippings in an appropriate manner. What you have left are very short zagillions of rooted stems and THAT is what you round-up. It usually takes several applications exactly how the label describes, before you see results. By mowing it down first, you have a lot less area to cover .. however since the herbicide is absorbed through the leaves, this is also a drawback.

I faced the same situation with Japanese honeysuckle on my property before I got married. It was already there when I bought the land, but in one small spot. By the time I moved ten years later I was taking machetes to it to keep it from enveloping my orchard. It was hideous.


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

I think as long as you keep it under control, it's not a bad plant to have if you like the way it looks, which I do. I myself have a lot of it (the former owner of my house apparently started it) and am now trying to maintain it. It's not bad down here in Texas, and a lot of people like it, so my solution is to take starts and sell them!!


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RE: English Ivy question---please don't YELL at me.

Pachysandra is a good choice, but it needs to be mulched with leaves. Turn the rake upside-down and work the leaves in.
The stuff grows better on concrete with an inch of rotten leaves than it does in bare soil. Tuck in some Lilac Wonder Tulips for spring color. They, too will spread. Herman


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