Starting An Ivy Wall - Knowledgebase Question

Somerville, MA
Question by katherine_gr
June 20, 2000
I would like to cover (eventually) a massive brick wall with ivy. How do I start? I am looking to achieve a similar result as some of those "ivy-covered" institutions we have around here in the northeast. There are many places from which I can take cuttings, but what is involved in successfully getting the vines to attach to the brick?
How fast is the rate of growth (in Northeast summer weather conditions) in determining how fast I could expect to see significant coverage?


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Answer from NGA
June 20, 2000

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Many of the "ivy covered" walls are covered in English ivy or Hedera helix, an evergreen. Others are covered with "Virginia creeper" or one of its relatives such as Engleman ivy; these are deciduous vines. Their culture is approximately the same, however. Plant them at the base of the wall, allow them a year to become established, one more to grab hold, and a third year to "take off". They will attach to the wall all by themselves using little sticky roots hairs. These hairs can be nearly impossible to remove from the wall or building, so be sure you really want the vines there. Also be aware that once they have covered a building they need to be trimmed regularly to keep them out of the window frames, guttering, and so on.

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