If left unchecked, ivy will gradually wind its way up the central stem of nearby trees and grow into the tree canopy. Ivy is harmful to trees because its foliage clings on to and covers tree branches, blocking light from the tree's canopy. The weight of ivy can also damage the structure of the tree, particularly during winter storms if the ivy is evergreen and retains its foliage and weight. The most effective way to remove ivy is to cut a section from each ivy stem at the base of the tree. This will kill all ivy above the cut within around two years.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Pruning saw
- Sharp loppers
Inspect the base of the tree, and note the number and thickness of ivy stalks.
Select the correct cutting implements for removing sections from the ivy stalks. Heavy-duty loppers should cut through most stalks, but very thick stalks may require a large pruning saw or even an axe.
Sharpen the cutting implement's blades with a whetstone. The sharper the blades, the easier it is to cut through the tough and fibrous ivy stalks.
Cut through each ivy stalk at the base of the tree in two places, with the cuts about 1 foot apart.
Pull off the section between the cuts. You may need to pry the stalk off by digging under it with the blade of the cutting tool. Try to avoid removing any of the bark from the tree trunk underneath, but this may be unavoidable, particularly if the bark is loose in some areas.
Wait for the ivy to die off, which should occur within approximately two years. Once the ivy is dead and dehydrated, you can either remove it from the tree or wait for it to disintegrate and rot away.
Tips and warnings
- Prevent ivy from invading tree canopies by trimming it back regularly.
- Use protective gloves while handling cutting implements. If using an axe, also wear protective boots and eye wear.
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