Tree Tips: The Problem with Ivy on Trees

Hello Neighbors!

One of the best ways to take care of trees is to cut off vines that are growing on them. (These vines are most likely English Ivy, not Poison Ivy. English Ivy does not cause a rash and is not harmful to humans.) These vines might look nice but they are slowly killing the tree. As the tree weakens, it becomes a falling hazard to your home. The vines grow on and into the bark of the tree and around the vine’s roots underground entangling themselves with the tree’s roots, slowly choking them to death.

Vines on Tree - Not Cut
Vines on Tree – Not Cut

But there is hope! Getting the vines off the trees is relatively easy. All you have to do is snip one-inch chunks out of the vine. For that, you’ll need a pair of hand-clippers. Find a spot on the vine where it is not touching the tree (and as close to the ground as you can get). Cut in one place, move one inch up the vine, and make another cut. Then, gently pull out the chunk of vine. Do this for as many vines as you have growing up the tree. Whatever you do DON’T PULL THE VINES OFF THE TREE. That can pull bark off the tree, exposing the tree it to insects and disease. (Bark is like a human’s skin. But while we have band-aids for our cuts, trees don’t.) Lastly, if you can, pull out the roots that are growing in the ground. This will help ensure a longer time before the vine comes back. Over time, the vine will die, turn brown, and dislodge itself from the tree. At that point, it will be easier to pull it off the tree.

Person Cutting off Vines on Tree
Person Cutting off Vines on Tree

This method I just described does NOT use herbicides. Yes, the vines will grow back, but clipping off vines once a year only takes 5-10 minutes and over time you will weaken and reduce the vine, decreasing the amount of time you’ll spend cutting it.

Proper Cutting of Vines on Trees
Proper Cutting of Vines on Trees

If you want any help doing this, please feel free to reach out to me. I would be glad to freely assist you in any way that I can. Email: Cell: (573) 579-7599. The vine cutting method I described is approved by the St. Louis based, non-profit Forest ReLeaf of Missouri.

your neighbor,
Aaron Dohogne