Ivy - Knowledgebase Question

Soquel, CA
Avatar for erbc
Question by erbc
November 29, 1998
Does climbing ivy harm the tree that it climbs? I have a liquid amber in my yard and it has ivy clmbing on it, and it looks beautiful, but will it potentially harm the tree?

Answer from NGA
November 29, 1998
Ivy does look nice when climbing up the trunk of a tree, however it has potential to do some serious damage. Ivy clings to vertical surfaces by extending little pads from the stems of the plants. These pads expand as they mature and can cause cracks in concrete or lift the bark of trees. Additionally, if enough ivy grows around a trunk or limb of a tree, it becomes heavy, especially when wet. The added stress can break limbs and branches. Finally, ivy clings close enough that it can trap excess moisture against bark, which can lead to rot and disease. So, unless you keep the ivy trimmed back, it can cause some serious problems with your Liquid Amber.

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