En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Will an ivy vine growing up my maple kill it?

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

Cow-itch vine name from Seguin TX
July 02, 2012 - How did Cow-Itch Vine (Cissus incisa / Cissus trifoliata) get its name?
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars eating passion vines from Austin
May 17, 2012 - My question concerns Yellow passion flower, purple passion vine & butterflies. I have had my passion vines for 3-4 years, each spring they start growing beautifully, then in 1-2 days are almost compl...
view the full question and answer

Winter survival of non-native Mandevilla vine
March 24, 2007 - Last summer I bought a dwarf mandavilla vine that blooms deep red and planted it in a pot and kept in on my east-facing porch, where its tendrils hung over the pot. I had to move it to shelter for the...
view the full question and answer

Native vine to cover brick column in Houston
October 28, 2009 - I have a brick column (~20ft tall) in the entry way to my house in Houston, TX. I am looking for a beautiful native vine that'll cover the column and soften the look of the house. I don't want to us...
view the full question and answer

Identity of vine with green flowers
November 03, 2012 - What is this trailing plant with half inch green flowers with gold metallic centers? Looks like a milkweed plant or gourd plant of some kind. I found it off Hamilton Pool road. West of Austin TX
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