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Can Ivy Kill a Tree? (And What to Do About It)

Can Ivy Kill a Tree? (And What to Do About It)

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Ivy is a type of plant that many people like to grow. It’s common to keep ivy in hanging baskets and put them on your porch or your deck.

You will also find ivy growing on various surfaces in the wild. Often, you might see ivy growing on trees in the wild.

If you know much about ivy, you know that it can be harmful to other plants. Keeping ivy under control can be difficult in certain situations.

Does this mean that ivy can be dangerous for trees? Can ivy kill a tree if there is enough of it?

Read on to learn about ivy and whether it’s something you should be concerned about. This will ensure that you know what to do when you’re trying to protect your trees.

Ivy Can Kill a Tree

Sadly, it’s possible that ivy will kill a tree if it’s left alone. It’s not going to happen fast, but a tree can be overtaken and killed by ivy.

Ivy is very aggressive and it’ll continue to expand. The ivy is going to take precious resources away from the tree.

Both water and nutrients from the soil will be siphoned away from the tree by the ivy. This makes it hard for the tree to keep living.

It’s also important to note that ivy damages the bark of trees. The presence of ivy will slowly damage the tree until it eventually kills it.

Ivy continues to climb trees and it grows at a steady pace. As the ivy keeps climbing, it’s going to damage all of the bark that it comes into contact with.

Over time, ivy will overtake the entire tree. This can even happen to mature trees.

The branches of the tree will become weak due to excessive weight. The presence of the ivy will keep light from being able to get through, too.

This puts the tree in a significantly weakened state. It’ll be more susceptible to diseases and pest issues could also become a problem.

Getting Rid of Ivy

Getting rid of ivy is going to be the best course of action. You don’t want ivy to grow on any of your trees if you care about their survival.

There are a few different methods for getting rid of ivy that you can try. One is fairly easy while the other is going to be much more labor-intensive.

Depending on the situation, you might like one of the methods more than the other. It’s wise to read about both so you can make an informed decision.

No matter what, it’s important not to ignore this issue. Ivy is seriously damaging to trees and it can become a huge problem.

You want to take care of this issue before things get any worse. Read about your options and then take action to solve this issue.

Kill the Ivy with Herbicide

The simplest thing to do is to use herbicide on the ivy. However, it isn’t always easy to kill ivy by just spraying herbicide.

Ivy can be difficult to kill because many types of ivy are covered in a wax-like substance. This wax makes it tough for the herbicide to penetrate and kill the ivy.

You have to figure out how to get through the protective wax so the herbicide can do its job. One of the best ways to do this is to use the herbicide during the right time of the year.

Try killing the ivy with herbicide during the winter. Cold temperatures make it so the herbicide won’t evaporate as fast as usual.

This means that the herbicide can work to penetrate the wax barrier for a longer period of time. It’ll also help if it’s a sunny day.

Sunlight makes the wax on the ivy leaves easier to work through. It should give the herbicide the best chance of penetrating the barrier.

Another option is to cut the ivy. You can cut the ivy at the stems to make it easier for the herbicide to do what it needs to do.

Any type of cutting device should work to do the job. Just cut and damage the stems before spraying the herbicide to maximize its effectiveness.

Manually Removing the Ivy

Manually removing the ivy is another thing that you can try. This is going to be a lot more work than simply spraying herbicide to solve the problem.

Find any ivy that’s near the tree and pull it up by the roots. Remove as much of the plant as you possibly can to get rid of it.

You want to remove the stem and the roots from the area. Put the remnants of the ivy in a garbage bag and tie it off.

These plants can be regrown from just pieces of the stem. If you leave bits of the stem on the ground, you could wind up encountering more issues with ivy soon enough.

If the ivy is already growing on the tree, it’ll be harder to remove it. You should not simply rip the ivy off of the tree.

The ivy will have rooted into the tree at this point. If you pull the ivy off directly, it’ll take some of the bark with it and damage the tree.

It’s better to start cutting sections of ivy off at the base of the tree. Cut two-inch sections of ivy off at a time using a sharp knife.

You can then apply some herbicide to the cut areas. Keep doing this as you work your way up the tree.

Do this as high as you’re able to reach on the tree. You will likely have to repeat this process several times to truly get rid of the ivy.

As labor-intensive as this is, this method can work to take care of the problem. In the future, try to kill ivy before it gets the chance to grow on your trees.

When you’ve confirmed that the ivy has died, you’ll be able to take all of the stems off of the tree. The ivy roots won’t cling to the tree any longer so it will be safe to remove them.

What’s the Best Herbicide to Use?

There are many types of herbicides on the market that will work to kill ivy. Generally, you want to buy herbicide that contains various chemicals that are known to be effective.

Triclopyr, glyphosate, and imazapyr are some of the most common chemical ingredients in herbicides. You should be able to find various products that contain these chemicals.

Most herbicides that are advertised as vegetation killers will get the job done. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to cut the plant first to kill the ivy.

You need to penetrate the ivy to give the herbicide the chance to do its work. This should make it easy to get rid of the ivy and protect the trees on your property.

Make a Vinegar Spray

Some people don’t like the idea of using herbicide in their yards. This makes sense because you don’t want to accidentally harm any other plants.

Is there another option that is a bit safer to use? One of the best ways to kill ivy is to utilize vinegar.

Vinegar can be used to make a powerful spray that can get rid of ivy. It might not be as effective as herbicide, but it can get the job done.

Using vinegar is as simple as covering the tree with it. Remove the ivy and coat the tree in vinegar to try to keep it from growing back.

You can try cutting the ivy and then coating it with vinegar. This won’t be as reliable as using herbicide, but it’s an option that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Keep an Eye On Things

Keeping an eye on things is wise when you’re trying to get rid of ivy. You can’t assume that the problem is taken care of even if you used herbicide.

Ivy has the potential to be very stubborn and it might grow back. Check on the tree every few weeks and try to look out for any signs that ivy is growing in the area.

If you see any ivy vines, you’ll need to cut them away and take care of them. Remember that leaving even pieces of the stem on the ground can give the ivy a chance to grow anew.

Use herbicide or vinegar to try to kill the ivy. Do your best to keep killing it until it stops coming back.

You might need to remain vigilant for many weeks or months. Ivy problems in your yard can be a long-term hassle to deal with.

Growing Ivy Can Be Dangerous

Growing ivy can be dangerous. Many people love the look of ivy plants, but it might not be wise to plant it in your yard.

Ivy is notoriously hard to control since it spreads rapidly. The ivy might be very hard to contain unless you’re a proactive gardener.

It’s possible that ivy might take over the entire yard if you’re not careful. All of your plants and trees in the yard will be in danger due to the presence of ivy.

While you can contain ivy to a specific area, it might not be the best idea to attempt. If things get out of hand, it’ll be more of a hassle than it’s worth.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do in your yard. If you want to care for ivy plants, it’s best to do so safely so you can avoid harming your other plants or trees.

Ivy is Mildly Toxic

You should also know that ivy is mildly toxic. This can be problematic for a few different reasons.

When ivy is consumed, it’ll cause serious stomach issues. It is unlikely that it will kill you, but it is certainly not going to be pleasant either.

Dogs and cats will get sick if they eat portions of ivy plants. You should keep your pets away from ivy plants when they’re out in your yard.

Young children are in danger if they consume ivy plants. Those who are five years old or younger will be at the greatest risk.

It’s also worth noting that ivy can cause skin irritation. Coming into contact with ivy might cause you to itch and it might make some people experience rashes.

Be mindful of the potential for harm that these plants possess. If you’re worried about this situation, it’d be better to avoid ivy plants.

Always Wear Gloves

Whenever you’re handling ivy, it’s best to wear gloves. Buy a reliable pair of gardening gloves so you don’t actually have to touch the ivy.

This helps to keep you from getting rashes or dealing with other types of skin irritation. It might even be a good idea to wear long sleeves when you’re trying to kill ivy.

Once you’re finished, remove your clothing and wash it. Don’t continue to wear clothes that have come in contact with ivy plants.

Some types of ivy are going to be more problematic than others when it comes to skin irritation. Don’t take any chances.

Final Thoughts

After learning about ivy, it should be clear that it can kill trees. It might not kill a tree right away, but it can kill the tree over the course of time.

Ivy has the potential to severely damage your trees. It’ll damage the bark and it’ll make it impossible for the tree to get sufficient water or nutrients.

You want to get rid of ivy plants as soon as you see them. Getting rid of ivy involves cutting the vines and using either herbicides or vinegar.

Be sure to get rid of the ivy completely and don’t leave bits of the stem or roots on the ground. Failing to get rid of the entire plant will allow the ivy to regrow.

Dealing with ivy can be a frustrating process. You’ll need perseverance to get the job done right.

It’s likely not a good idea to grow ivy in your yard on purpose. These plants can easily overtake the yard if you’re not careful.

Keep all of this information in mind and make good decisions for your property. You know how dangerous ivy can be now.