En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

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

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Invasive mandevilla from Chula Vista CA
December 10, 2012 - How can I rid my yard of mandevilla that has invaded from my neighbor's yard?
view the full question and answer

Lists of edible plants in region of Pennsylvania for school project
September 12, 2006 - Please Help! I'm a grade four teacher in Philadelphia. My students and I are assigned a theme project that involves listing edible plants that grow in our region. Can you recommend a web site(s)...
view the full question and answer

List of North American plants grown in other countries
August 17, 2008 - I am working on a childrens story and would like to let the teachers who read this book know where some of the native plants in my book grow throughout the world, or if they grow outside of the USA. p...
view the full question and answer

Controlling Thermopsis rhombifolia (buffalo bean) in Mozambique
May 19, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty, Please,can you assist. We have a plot on a dam in Mozambique. It has been invaded with Thermopsis rhombifolia (we call it buffalo bean), it is very hardy and if you fall in it or j...
view the full question and answer

Use of kudzu in landscaping
April 11, 2008 - HELLO MR.SMARTY PlANTS,my question is , I need a # of kudzu plants to grow quickly for a huge bare back wall since we are selling our house & have zero anything back there.we are getting comments that...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center