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

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Tuesday - April 13, 2010

From: East Flat Rock, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Eliminating English Ivy in East Flat Rock NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In the woods behind our house our neighbor has an invasion of English Ivy. It creeps over and through the fence into our yard, and we want to fight back! I have read the other articles about cutting ivy and treating it with an herbicide, and plan to follow those steps as a first line of defense. However, I was wondering if we then planted a native vine such as Carolina Jessamine, will it stand up to the ivy or will the ivy choke it out? Thanks! Heather S.

ANSWER:

Hedera helix, English Ivy, is native to Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa. This article from the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group pretty much covers all the ways we know of to combat the plant. None of them are permanent, especially if there is a stand of the plant still adjacent to your property. You will have to watch for it all the time, as it can regrow from just a small cutting left on the ground. 

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower) is not native to Henderson Co. but to parts of North Carolina farther east; however, it should do all right where you are. Be careful what you ask for, you might get more than you bargained for. This plant can also scramble over structures and trees, is evergreen and grows aggressively. We're not sure if you could say it would choke the ivy out, but it would certainly compete strongly. You should also know that the roots, leaves and flowers are all poisonous and can be lethal to livestock.

We agree with your plan of first dealing with the ivy and then planting the Carolina Jessamine, but you will have to be alert that you don't end up with a mix of the two.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 


Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

 

 

 

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