Removing Ivy From Trees… Easier Than You Think!

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Ivy_covered_treesSorry for the long title, but this is what I needed to read regarding the large tree next to the house, two years ago.  You see, we bought a house with a yard that had literally “run wild”.  This tree and the foundation next to it was completely ivy covered.  It was charming and picturesque and I loved it.  Old houses scare my husband,  so before and after purchase, he had multiple contractors come out and give us some advice on what needed to be done. Every one of them said, “You have got to get that ivy off that tree!”  But none of them could tell us how.  I would just look up at that humongous tree and think “holy moly” what have I gotten us into?  The first thing I did was began spraying the foliage with Round Up. Probably not a good idea for the tree and besides, nothing happend.  Then like a good DIY’er, I began to research.  I found pictures and videos of lumberjacks out in the forest with chain saws giving instructions on how to do this. They all made it look very intimidating and it is not!

Ivy_covered_treesCan you say Jumanji!  Believe it or not, this is an ivy vine complimented by fuzzy poison ivy vines.  Once this sucker was located, it is easy to understand how deadly it can be to trees.  It also ruins mortar in foundations and retaining walls. Notice the 3 inch cut through the vine? This took days to accomplish. But the good news is, once this is done the ivy dies all the way up and through out the tree! Yea!

removing_ivy_from_treesHere’s an old pix taken a few weeks after making the cut. You can still see the ivy green and flouishing. Around this time an arborist who was cutting trees across the street, looked at it and confirmed that we had done exactly the right thing.   Let’s take a look at another tree in the back yard that is still covered with ivy.

removing_ivy_from_treesThis is John, our 18 year old yielding a hand saw with Zippy the cat.  He is going to demonstate how to remove ivy from a tree.

removing_ivy_from_treesNow, you have to resist the temptation of ripping the vines off the tree. Those vines are hanging on for dear life and you could damage the tree. Do your best to keep the bark intact.  Here John has located a vine and placed a crowbar behind it and is carefully working it loose, so that he can cut it with a saw.

removing_ivy_from_treesHere he has loosened it enough to cut it. This vine was small and came off and  out of the ground easily. This will stop all growth from this vine. But, there are many more…

removing_ivy_from_treesIf you can’t  “work” the crowbar under the vine by hand, get it started and then gently tap with a hammer.

removing_ivy_from_treesCan you believe this is an ivy vine!  It is amazing how it becomes part of the tree. How invasive can you get? This is where we will saw a 3 inch section out and stop all growth.

removing_ivy_from_treesLet the sawing begin! John will continue to saw and remove sections of the large ivy vine all around this tree and about 5-6 feet up the tree. Gradually, over time, the ivy will die all the way up the tree and as the wind blows and wildlife scurry around the tree, the dead ivy vines will fall.

removing_ivy_from_treesRemember that old tree, I climbed on the roof to get this shot. See how all the ivy has died leaving us with the perfect Halloween tree.  (Trying to be positive here.)

removing_ivy_from_treesHopefully, this tree will be saved from ruin. It is the home of many furry little creatures. So, bottom line, ivy is one of those beautiful plants that can be deadly.  If you choose to use English Ivy in the landscape, it has to be maintained or it will take over.  Happy sawing!

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Comments

  1. 1
    Will Bowers says:

    How is the tree doing now? My neighbor has the exact same problem with a tree near my yard. The ivy had started to take over my yard and I started to pull ivy roots out of my yard, I noticed they were going to tree. I yanked the ivy roots last fall and noticed the tree was starting to come back to live but the dead ivy is still on the tree.

  2. 3
    Sally Gee says:

    We have been combating the ivy for a long time. We live in a wooded area and pull it off trees and the house every year. I don’t know that we’re winning the battle, but we’ll win the war!

  3. 5
    Cynthia says:

    I have cut the vines, the ivy leaves are falling off. My question is, how long will the vines stay on, will they fall off or should I pull them off.

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