The Q&A Archives: IVY

Question: We have Ivy growing up our london plane tree - is that dangerous to the tree?

Thank you.

Answer: A heavy layer of ivy can damage a tree by acting like a sail during windy weather and contributing to storm breakage. It is better not to let vines grow far up into a tree for this reason. Ivy is quite difficult to remove once it has grown up into a tree. Cut the vines at the base and paint the cut ends with an herbicide containing glyphosate to limit regrowth. (Or, plan on regularly trimming it back. The newest growth of ivy is relatively easy to cut back.) Once the vine is cut, the ivy foliage will wither and drop. Pulling the vine off can damage the bark because it is so firnly attached to the tree. Eventually, the vine itself will deteriorate and rot away as well.

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