English Ivy with Walter Reeves

>> Walter Reeves: Lets have
a talk about ivy. Now I’m not talking about the
leaves of three of poison ivy that a lot of people fear;
I’m talking about English Ivy which to some people should
be feared just as much as its tri-foliate friend. You see, English ivy has
a good side and a bad side. English ivy grows
in dense shade; I’ve seen it growing
underneath magnolia trees. I’ve even seen it growing
underneath kudzu sometimes. It can grow in any soil
throughout Georgia. It’s drought tolerant. It spreads very readily. And in some cases where there
is nothing else that will control erosion, English ivy
is a great choice. The problem is is that
English ivy if left uncontrolled can be a real problem
in your landscape. Look behind me and
you’ll see what I mean. What do you see? Nothing but English ivy,
a couple of privet hedges, and maybe a couple
of pine trees there. We have, basically,
an ivy desert; no ferns, no native
plants, no flowers – nothing but English ivy
growing in this area because it was let to grow
and never controlled. Another problem with English ivy
is the affect that it has on trees when it
grows up tree trunks. You can see this
pine tree right here. Once upon a time it was
a vertical pine tree but then the English ivy
was allowed to grow up it, came a big thunderstorm
and bangedy boom down comes the pine tree because the
ivy leaves acted as a sail. When you have an ice
storm or a big rain storm, the ivy leaves hold that weight
and the tree may not be ready – may not be capable of holding
the weight of the ice or the snow or the rain and
the limbs fall out of the tree and the tree itself
then may fall down. Of course ivy also, as it gets
up into the top of the tree, causes the lower limbs to
be shaded out so they fail and fall from
the tree as well. So, how do you control
English ivy once its gotten out of control
in your landscape? You know, I wish
there were a chemical I could tell you, ““You spray it on English ivy
and the ivy will be gone.”” But actually, there’s not. A couple of chemicals
that I’ve tried and I do use on occasion are
the chemical glyphosate – that’s the active ingredient
in Roundup. I also use sometime
triclopyr and that’s the active ingredient
in Brush-B-Gon. Both of them though take a long
time to kill the English ivy. You spray it on the leaves,
you wait 3 weeks and finally you see some yellowing,
some spots on the leaf, and maybe a week or 2 later the leaves
begin to die and fall off. But, a couple of more weeks
and you’ll see there are more sprouts of the English ivy
that’s come up from places that it’s rooted and you’ll have to
come back and spray those too. Honestly, the best way to
control at least a small patch of English ivy is
to pull it up. You and some friends
get out there, pull the vines
out of the ground, one of you take the
clippers and just clip it. Clip, there’s some right
there where it’s rooted. Pull more,
clip where it’s rooted. [ clipping sounds ] And pretty soon you’ll have
a great big ball of vine that you can put out on the street,
give it to the garbage man and let him take it away. This is not a plant that I would
put on my compost pile because, obviously, it will re-root
there and then you’ve got even more problems in
your landscape. And what do you do when English
ivy has started climbing a tree? Come with me back to the
forest and I’ll show you a way. The good news is that ivy is
not a parasite even though it has great big hairy vines
and a lot of little rootlets that adhere to the bark;
the rootlets do not go through the bark and suck
the sap of the tree. So, if you cut the vine down
low, the top of the vine up in the tree eventually
is going to die. Now, it may be a month before
you see those leaves up there start to turn brown but
eventually the upper part of the vine will die if you
just clip the vine out. What you’ll find as you’re
clearing the vine off the tree is there will be great big
vines that you barely can get your clipper through. So what do you do then? You’ve got to clip it. Sometime a saw is not
the greatest answer because it saws into the
bark of the tree; not the thick bark of
this pine tree right here. So here’s a trick on how
to get that vine out so that you can get
it off of the tree. Use a pry bar;
just a flat pry bar. Put it behind the vine and hit it
a couple of times with a hammer. [ hammering sounds ] Then, if you pull the whole
vine away from the tree and take your pruner and
you can clip it off. Now I always try to take a
big section out of the vine. I want to make sure that
behind the vine there aren’t any little vines that
are hiding there. So once I have the section taken
off the trunk of the tree, I know that this part right
here is still living but this part up here is dead. Now, obviously, I’d try to
take this off down closer to the ground to make sure
that the vine is not climbing up the pine tree. But there is a way to make sure
that this vine does not re-sprout anymore and that is use
a paint brush and some of that undiluted glyphosate –
undiluted Roundup. Take the paint brush and
put it in our container right there and paint
it onto the stem. By painting the Roundup
onto the stem of the plant, it will be sucked down through
the stem, at least a couple of feet, and will keep
it from re-sprouting. You can use the same trick when
you’re trying to keep stumps from privet hedge or sweetgum
or maple from sprouting too; when you cut them down, paint
the stump with Roundup. Now another thing that I want
to show you about ivy before we leave is the change in ivy
leaves as they mature over time. Come with me back to the tree
and I’ll show you that. We’re all familiar with the
lobed leaves of English ivy when we buy it a nursery;
sometimes they have 3 and maybe 5 – lobes
on a single leaf. But did you know that this is
the juvenile for of English ivy? After the ivy vine has been
growing on a vertical surface for several years, the lobes
will disappear. The leaves will change. They’ll be rounded; having
very few, if no lobes at all. It’s the adult English ivy that
has flowers and berries on it. These berries are what
birds can eat spreading the English ivy
even further. Another interesting thing
about adult English ivy is if you take a cutting of the
adult form and root it, it will grow as a small shrub not as a
vine as the juvenile form does. You can take the shrub and put
it in the same heavy shade that you would the vine and
it tolerates it just fine. English ivy, it’s
a non-native exotic. It can be a friend
or it can be a foe; just be aware before
you plant it. If you give it an inch,
it can take your yard. (c) 2014 University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and
Environmental Sciences
UGA Extension

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