En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Monday - March 23, 2009

From: Greenville, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Will an ivy vine growing up my maple kill it?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a ground cover ivy vine that has grown up my big maple tree. I would like to know if this will kill the tree if left, or will I kill the tree if I take it off? What should I do with it?

ANSWER:

Your ground cover ivy (you don't mention the kind) needs three things to survive; light, water, and nutrients. Your big maple tree needs the same three things; thus they are competitors. The maple tree has the advantage because of a massive root sytem to absorb water and nutrients, and because its trunk and branches can put its leaves up high in order to absorb sunlight. The ivy plant probably can get sufficient moisture and nutrients with its root system, but it most likely isn't getting enough light under the shade of the maple tree. To get more light, it needs a new strategy; grow up the big trunk and branches of the maple tree. This is why your ground cover is becoming aerial.

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks the the answer to your first two questions is no. Generally, ivy vines won't kill trees, but  their presence on the tree is not with out some consequences. If the growth of the ivy becomes excessive, the ivy leaves may block sunlight from the maple leaves, and the weight of the ivy may weaken the limbs of the maple and cause them to break. Removing the ivy won't kill the tree. Just do it carefully so you don't damage the tree bark.

Remove? Don't remove? This a pesonal preference. These two links gives several pros and cons regarding ivy vines in trees.

Trees Atlanta

Classy Groundcovers

 

More Vines Questions

What thorny vine grows rapidly in Pensacola?
May 06, 2013 - What thorny vine grows rapidly in Pensacola?
view the full question and answer

Re-landscaping in Stephenville, TX.
November 17, 2012 - I prefer native plants. We are re-landsacaping, so I need grass, ground cover, vines and flowers to plant in our back yard. We have many trees and the whole yard is shady. A small area might be con...
view the full question and answer

Vines for side of home
July 14, 2008 - Can you suggest a native vine for Central Maryland? The intent is for the vine to grow up the southern face of a vinyl sided home to make the home more attractive but also to provide some reduction o...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for Austin
June 21, 2009 - In addition to coral honeysuckle, carolina jasmine, and crossvine can you recommend any other fairly hardy, evergreen vines that will do well draping from the top of a wall in Austin, Texas. Exposure ...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming of Campsis radicans, Trumpet Vine
August 25, 2006 - I have a trumpet vine that does not bloom. My neighbor has the same plant and it blooms profusely. I have pruned the vine in February as was suggested on another site. It is healthy and is planted a...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center