English ivy vines have tendencies to spread horizontally and climb vertically. They don’t directly poison trees, but do negatively affect tree health and increase the likelihood of the tree becoming hazardous to surrounding areas. The thick vines decrease light exposure and make trees vulnerable to tree bark disease and rot. Physically speaking, the sheer mass and surface area that English ivy adds to a tree can make it more susceptible to falling over during high winds.
To contain English ivy and promote tree health, KCD recommends creating a survival ring. Although it may be tempting to remove ivy by pulling it off of a tree, KCD advises against that practice due to the likelihood of potentially damaging the tree or creating hazardous falling debris.
- At about shoulder height, cut the ivy around the tree (making a ring), severing its connection to the roots.
- Strip the ivy down from the ring that was initially cut. Clear and remove the ivy within a 5 to 10 feet foot radius of the tree to prevent regrowth back up the tree.
- Make sure ivy roots are removed by cutting and pulling them out.