Allow Ivy to Grow up Trees?

jesrushFebruary 24, 2013

I have some groud ivy (pictured below) creeping about ten feet up several oak trees in my back yard. It looks nice and seems harmless--for now. Should I let it continue or will it eventually harm my trees or become an eye sore?

Thank you!

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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

If you don't like the tree and want it to die, let that ivy go. Otherwise, eradicate that pest.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

And good luck getting rid of it. Too bad that plant isn't toxic somehow. It would get the attention it deserves.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:51PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

There are armies of volunteers in the Pacific Northwest deployed every year to kill that cr@p and get it out of trees so the trees aren't killed. It also changes runoff patterns because of the waxy coating on its leaves (which makes it hard to kill with Roundup/Marathon etc). A nasty, pernicious piece of cr@p. Did I mention it was cr@p?

What it does in its native habitat is climb up trees as a vine, kill the tree, then change growth habit and become arborescent to replace the tree it killed.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:34AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

"What it does in its native habitat is climb up trees as a vine, kill the tree, then change growth habit and become arborescent to replace the tree it killed."

Sorry, but this is absolutely NOT true. I know that Hedera helix is a pest in the US but AFAIK that is because it ousts the native species and alters the ecology. Here, in its native habitat, ivy does not kill trees. It is not a parasite. It uses trees as support and it assumes its arborescent form when it reaches the top of its support, not after it has killed the tree. It will behave exactly the same way if it is climbing a wall or a telegraph pole. On valuable timber trees ivy can cause windthrow in winter as it increases wind resistance (being evergreen). It can also affect growth by reducing sunlight to the tree's leaves. But it categorically cannot, of itself, kill a tree. If the tree is not needed for timber ivy provides a very valuable food and shelter resource for many species. In fact, I have had trees fall in my woods after misguided removal of ivy which was helping to anchor them on unstable soils.

"Another feature of woods that many people try to control is ivy on trees. Contrary to popular belief, ivy does not strangle or damage trees, and should be left on the trees to provide nest sites," Forestry Commission, 'So you own a woodland?' 2009 ISBN 978-085538-793-8

Obviously, this does not apply in the US but it does where ivy is a native and I am always concerned when this misinformation is promulgated.

2 Likes    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 5:42AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if you decide to get it off the tree ...

do it the easy way ....

just go around the base.. and snip every tendril at ground level ...

AND WALK AWAY FOR A YEAR OR TWO ...

let it decay ON THE TREE ... especially its roots IN the bark.. and lose its leaves ...

then one day.. you can come back and pull it all down EASILY ...

i spent many a day.. 'wasted' is a better word.. trying to pull fully leafed out.. vigorous vines from trees.. grape usually ... and failed.. and DAMAGED the tree ..

then i got lazy.. and left it there for a season.. and it pulled right out ...

now mind you.. mine went 20 or 30 feet up in the tree ... but i would still worry about the roots pulling away bark ...

if you want to kill it all on the ground.. we can work that out also ... but you didnt ask that ...

do insure.. there is no poison ivy mixed in the plants ... that was the other vine i worked on ... and i just cut it at the ground and at 6 feet and left it there forever ... 3 years to kill the 2 inch underground part ... you cant burn it.. so why pull it down ...

good luck

ken

BTW.. to us tree purists.. it doesnt look pretty ... it interferes with the beauty of the tree itself .... so you have the wrong audience if you want anyone to agree with that premise ...

1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:36AM
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esh_ga

Aside from damage to trees or making them susceptible to wind/rain/snow damage, once it climbs trees then it enters its mature form, capable of flowering and setting fruit.

As an invasive plant in many areas, this makes it much worse. Birds can now spread the fruit to further areas, such as natural areas, allowing it to invade new areas.

So now you have another reason to keep it off the trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: More info

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:20AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

"Another feature of woods that many people try to control is ivy on trees. Contrary to popular belief, ivy does not strangle or damage trees, and should be left on the trees to provide nest sites," Forestry Commission, 'So you own a woodland?' 2009 ISBN 978-085538-793-8

I stand corrected, thank you!

Nevertheless, that plant is not native here and shouldn't be allowed to climb on trees, spread across the ground, etc.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:26AM
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krnuttle

In addition to the ivy and poison ivy don't forget the grapevines.

Between the three they can create an impenetrable thicket.

As said previously, cut every vine that is growing up the tree. Watch to see that the upper portion is all dead, if not go out and look for any remaining pieces that you missed. The portion in the tree will die and decay after a couple of years.

Treat the ground portion with a good poison. You may also need to spray the plants growing around the tree. It seems that when you cut what is in the tree the roots sprout new plants that have to be dealt with.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:37AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Ivy also has a sense of 'place'. It knows where it's at. I've never seen it grow to the very top of a tree or out on the tips of the branches. Different story if the tree is dead.
That said, I've regretted any Ivy I have planted in my garden and have been fighting it ever since. Even several forms of smaller leafed Ivy.
Crossbow works way better than Roundup in killing it.
Mike

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:30PM
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greenthumbzdude

Crossbow also happens to contain a carcinogen and Roundup is similar to Agent Orange in that it causes birth defects in mammals.
I would use mechanical means...just spend a day ripping it out by hand (make sure you get the roots). Goats are also very efficient at removing invasives like english ivy but they might eat your rose bushes or other non target species in the process.
If you want a replacement I would consider Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Its a well behaved native that never chokes out a tree. It has great fall foliage and berries are loved by many species of birds.

This post was edited by greenthumbzdude on Mon, Feb 25, 13 at 14:35

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:28PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Crossbow also happens to contain a carcinogen and Roundup is similar to Agent Orange in that it causes birth defects in mammals.

==>> perhaps some documentation on these overly broad statements would impress me more than just throwing it out there ...

as in how a mammal would be affected by a systemic PROPERLY applied ???? that becomes inert on contact with the soil ..

this is the kind of stuff.. where later.. someone comes along and says ... 'i read it somewhere' ... yeah.. well.. good for you.. prove it ... [and not just some hippie environ-nazi publication.. i would prefer hard science backup ..]

ken

ps: i apply RU in a much more precise manner.. than say AOrange was applied..

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:17PM
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greenthumbzdude

Well for Crossbow it says right on the back label that a known carcinogen is present.

Here is a link that might be useful: Roundup Birth Defects

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:40PM
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krnuttle

Have you read what you posted. Some of the solutions they are using are 350 g/l. This is much higher than the 250g/l of the concentrated, and significantly higher the 0.96g/l in the ready to use solution.

Per the government approved MSDS sheet the concentrate is not considered a carcinogen.

Do a Google search on MSDS sheet for Roundup.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/abengoa/documents/applicant/Attachments_Set_1B_Response/Attachment%20for%20Response%20to%20Item%2060/Monsanto%20Roundup%207071%20MSDS.pdf

There are studies that have shown that Vitamin C has mutagenic properties. Vitamin C is necessary for life

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:02PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Around here, English ivy is very invasive and sometimes results in killing trees by covering them to the point that enough light is blocked so that the trees are weakened. In other words, it can indirectly lead to tree death. It very frequently leads to understory flora death, resulting in ivy monocultures in wooded areas. The biggest problems, as stated above, is that this plant is an invasive (environmentally destructive) pest in some parts of the US and can look awful when allowed to grow up trees.
______________________________________________

"Roundup is similar to Agent Orange..."

Water (plain H2O) is also a killer. Did you know people have actually died from drinking too much of this toxic chemical?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:24PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Around here, English ivy is very invasive and sometimes results in killing trees by covering them to the point that enough light is blocked so that the trees are weakened. In other words, it can indirectly lead to tree death.

There are several parks in the Seattle area that have a fair number of trees that have passed away in this manner.

A friend's youngest kid spent a summer on a crew clearing out English ivy from Seattle parks, and it is not easy. IMHO the key to killing this plant on a large scale is to start by damaging the leaves before spraying an herbicide. Then keeping on it until all your sweat and cursing has made it succumb.

This post was edited by WxDano on Tue, Feb 26, 13 at 0:02

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:49PM
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greenthumbzdude

"Water (plain H2O) is also a killer. Did you know people have actually died from drinking too much of this toxic chemical?"
This is false. In order for water to become toxic one has purposely drink copious amounts of water for electrolyte imbalance to cause death. With herbicides, one only has to be exposed via skin contact for side effects to occur and contact does not have to be on purpose (example: child runs through freshly sprayed area without knowing)
* I think that man made herbicides should not be used. Science has come far over the past couple hundred years but there is still alot out there that is unknown. Until we know all of the facts I refuse to use any herbicide.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:14AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

No, the statement Did you know people have actually died from drinking too much of this toxic chemical? is true. The old saying about the dose.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:34AM
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j0nd03

Anytime water is mentioned as a killer I am always reminded of the following prank passed around in HS chemistry class.

"Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound... Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters."

Full disclosure of DHMO and its ill effects at the link at the bottom.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rabbit = English Ivy where it is a foreign invasive

Knights' (heads) = Tree's infested with ivy

Don't believe me?

LOOK AT THE BONES!!!

Simple!

Here is a link that might be useful: DHMO

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:27AM
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krnuttle

When considering the toxic of chemicals most people ignore the concentrations and the compounds in which they are found. Complexes of cobalt cyanide are non toxic, which can not be said for sodium cyanide.

Selenium is a required nutrient for living organism, but in high levels will kill you.

Every chemical and chemical compound has limits that above which it will have detrimental effects and below which will have no effect.

If you take a 1% solution of sodium cyanide and dilute it a million times (1 milli liter into a liter and the 1 ml of that solution into another liter ) is significantly below the lethal dose.

By the way more people die of water overdoses than any other chemical in use. If you don't believe that look at the number of drowning per years. drowning is an overdose.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:54PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I'm going to say things that will irritate people, and then I will never visit this thread again. But, I am not trolling because I will be making substantive points.

The sophomoric stuff about water is a waste of my braincells: no toxicologist considers drowning to be a toxic reaction to water. Or drinking so much of it that one has an electrolyte imbalance. These are physiological problems. Water is non-toxic.

"Crossbow also happens to contain a carcinogen"
don't bring it to a picnic

"Roundup is similar to Agent Orange in that it causes birth defects in mammals. "
don't drink it if you're pregnant

Seriously, people, the use of these by serious gardeners is 1% of 1% of 1% of the amount used by agrobiz. Much more dangerous chemicals are either banned entirely or banned from domestic use and still used by commercial interests. Grind your axe somewhere that makes sense, like the "lawn care" companies that are probably destroying the Chesapeake Bay by fulfilling their contracts that spread nitrogen fertilizer on McMansion lawns 3X a year. There will never be anything less "toxic" that can do what these 2 do, so the answer isn't hysterically banning them, it's using them more responsibly. I've gotten so many broadleaved weeds out of my lawn, and kept them out by cutting high, that I don't even need to broadcast spray anymore. When I see the odd dandelion I just spot treat it. People need to leave the putting green look to the golf courses.

As to the ivy, I understand why it has to go in the PNW. That is an entirely different ecology, agronomic history, and climate to the east coast of the US. It will never be as damaging around here. In my own garden, it fills a niche that would otherwise be occupied by nasties like poison ivy or wild roses, and will be removed over my dead body. Are we going to pull down all the ivy from Princeton's buildings (not much, actually) and let poison ivy replace it? Should we call it the poison ivy league? (some people probably already think this lol) Breaking news: the environment of the eastern 2/3 of the country has been _permanently_ altered, especially the northeast corridor. If we want to fix it, we should all pack up and move back to Europe, Asia, Africa or wherever we came from. Suburbia creates vast swaths of forest edge that can never be "right". Those are the places ivy invades. BTW because the antlered rats no longer have predators, and we "manage" them so that they are sufficiently prevalent that hunters won't face any pesky intellectual challenges in finding them, they are destroying the local ecology, too.

I do remove the mature foliage form, which takes years to develop on tree trunks. But the ground covering it performs...guess what...keeps me from having to use crossbow to take out poison ivy! See how a balanced approach works for both issues! No need to eliminate ivy where it's only causing minor alterations to an already heavily altered landscape, and no need to have hysteria over chemicals that are probably barely more toxic that's what's already added to children's candy as coloring.

Everyone "concerned" with non-natives needs to read this essay:

Here is a link that might be useful: http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/483.pdf

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:59PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Before someone blows their own horn to correct me: ivy in this extremely tenuous context can refer to Parthenocissus; but I've seen Hedera on buildings at UPenn & Princeton and since the whole thing is obviously rather anglo-aspirant, they both count.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:26PM
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krnuttle

davidrt28

Please stick around this forum needs more technically knowledgeable people to keep the "sky is fall" ones under control

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:29PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

If H. helix is such a killer it doesn't seem to have done much to this (now evergreen!) Ulmus pumila.
hortster

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:51PM
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j0nd03

I love it when people start replies with something along the lines of "I know this is gonna piss some people off..." and then state they will enter lurk mode while they hope to see the flames that ensue.

How is this NOT trolling, david?

In my garden to my eyes it looks out of place and unnatural. (I wonder why this could be?) But I don't like the look of any vine on a tree trunk. On a trellis, many vines look great, especially in flower. I have an old section of fence consumed in campsis radicans and nesting birds as well as humming birds and insects love it! As much as I enjoy this every year, I would never allow it to grow on any tree I cared to look at. I am almost repulsed by this look in a landscaped area. Just my personal taste.

This ivy mentioned literally eliminates the mature bark aspect of trees which may or may not matter to the owner. I do agree as a groundcover it is pretty harmless and limits weeding considerably. My parents have had ivy as a groundcover in several beds for 20+ years and I don't recall ever seeing it escape into the woods, not that I looked very close. It is the next owner that will most likely stop whacking the ivy back at the base of the ancient oak tree trunks and allow it to take in full sun and flower/fruit/disseminate.

John

Edit: and I hope my previous picture was taken in the light hearted manner it was intended. No, the ivy does not out right kill trees unless the tree is perhaps in a weakened state from storm damage etc and the ivy shades out the leaves on the host tree. What is does do is increase the competition for water and nutrients like any other growing green thing when growing in the root zone of another green thing. How much this ivy requires from its environment, I haven't the slightest clue.

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Tue, Feb 26, 13 at 17:39

1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:51PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Greenthumbzdude, I hope you not only realize that what I said was literally true but that it was meant as sarcasm to highlight the sky-is-falling nature of your response concerning RoundUp. Davidrt28's point about small homeowner use of this type of chemical is right on target. I wouldn't blame someone for being concerned about the effects of the truly vast amount of this stuff that is being used in agriculture today, but fear mongering the homeowner by comparing the chemical (in the context of this thread) to Agent Orange is, IMO, just way over the top. And, P.S.....I can pretty much guarantee that you use way more harmful chemicals in your house on a weekly basis.

I don't agree with Davidrt28's apparent defeatist viewpoint about invasives, because it's like saying that our highways are already littered so people should now feel free to throw out as much trash as they want. I can see that that viewpoint may have some validity (as we've discussed in an earlier thread about the philosophy concerning invasives), but just think that there's more to it than that.

This post was edited by brandon7 on Tue, Feb 26, 13 at 18:50

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:45PM
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lkz5ia

Wow hortster, cool pic

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:45PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I have owned trees for long enough to see house crunching branches fall off during storms.

In the tree line I allow the vines to live. I cut them back every year and kill some sk they do nit become too much of a trouble.

Where them vines are growing up the trees I can not plainly see any trunk defects. Sometimes me, my car or my KID are under these trees.

Evergreen vines are double the danger if not more. I view them as an unnecessary risk in suburban settings. Good thing I am not an insurance agent!

We are the (usually) sentient beings. It is ojr responsibility to manage our trees.

Oh, and yeah, Round Up and my car's exhaust aren't good for me. I am reasonably careful with each.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:57PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Davidrt28's point about small homeowner use of this type of chemical is right on target. I wouldn't blame someone for being concerned about the effects of the truly vast amount of this stuff that is being used in agriculture today, but fear mongering the homeowner

Totally on board with the orders of magnitude more chemical used by big ag, but I used to live in the watershed of one of the most impaired urban creeks in the US, and it was because of overuse of organophosphates by the gardeners of the well-to-do. As soon as some preemptive actions were taken in the area, RU et al. use went down and the creek started to recover. The impervious cover and compacted soils in urban areas mean a lot when talking about runoff. The same is true with the creeks' fecal coliform problems in KY-TN area that were lessened by picking up the dog cr@p.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:44PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

lkz5ia - this tree blooms yellow in the very top with black fruit each summer. Have watched it hoping the damn Siberian elm would succumb. Owner must like it. Hedera is not invasive here because of the incredibly hot summers and intense sun - doesn't like it here. The pic doesn't show the NE side of the tree where it began climbing, but it seemingly doesn't spread on the ground on this yard's west exposure.
"Invasives" like this are not invasive everywhere; nonetheless introduced plants often get that way. Hedera was originally from N. Africa and W. Asia. USA now suffers with displacement and competiton in many areas.
hortster

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:00PM
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c2g(6)

Took me about two years (and a half dozen bouts with poison ivy) of hand pulling to control the English ivy that dominated my yard when we moved in. I'm surrounded by it as both neighbors let it engulf everything, but it's fairly easy to control at this point. A 10 minute walk through every three months or so pull up remnants is all it takes these days.

Second the recommendation for Virginia Creeper as a replacement. I let it take over the main area I pulled the ivy from and it's a great ground cover, and in early fall it attracts tons of birds and has magnificent color.

It's painful to walk past the huge properties in my neighborhood that border the woods. Large patches have essentially become monocultures thanks to years of dumping yard waste across the street. Next month we have 50 volunteers coming to spend a day pulling English ivy from a protected area of woods. Sadly, it will hardly make a dent as we spend countless hours trying to at least keep it away from the interior.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:03PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

c2g has it -- depends on the vine. VA creeper isn't very aggressive. Hummingbird vine & wild grape are OK too, IMO (but don't let them climb your house). Others like English & Poison Ivy, Wisteria & nasty Kudzu -- too aggressive/dangerous.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:03PM
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esh_ga

But isn't poison ivy only "too dangerous" because of the rash caused in humans? It doesn't hurt a tree and the berries are greatly relished by wildlife.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Not sure if this is a problem in other parts of the country but ivy in quantity around here often harbors rats so we discourage it - whether climbing up a tree, over an arbor, along a fence, etc. The most common type of ivy here is Algerian ivy.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:12PM
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j0nd03

"But isn't poison ivy only "too dangerous" because of the rash caused in humans? It doesn't hurt a tree and the berries are greatly relished by wildlife."

It also has great fall color around here. Much better than virginia creeper that many claim colors great in other areas.

I have a persimmon at the edge of the property probably ~35 feet tall and only half the canopy is persimmon - the other half is poison ivy. It has shaded out the lower half or so of the persimmon and as it continues to meander up the trunk. I believe some of the ivy branches are close to 8' long. I was surprised (to put it mildly) when I finally figured out what was going on. I did not know a vine could so efficiently take over/claim/reclaim open space on a tree so far away from the trunk.

John

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:21PM
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jesrush

Wow -- kicked off quite the discussion! Point taken -- I'll snip the connections to the ground and pull it off in a year or two. Thank you for the advice!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:04PM
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vieja_gw(z7NM)

Had some of that outside ivy find a spot near a viga to crawl in & begin 'decorating' a wall inside one of our rooms! Guess 'everything has a place' .... but not inside my house!!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:53PM
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bsmith717(6)

Can someone please explain to me poison ivys purpose for existing, seriously?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 7:08AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Poison ivy's function in the ecosystem is the same for any vine. Just because it has evolved an anti-herbivory defense doesn't make it useless.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:25AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

bsmith, this is really getting off-topic for this thread, but to answer your question briefly...

Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy) is a well-loved and important food source for many birds, deer, and other animals. It is used in herbal medicine for things ranging from rheumatism to various skin disorders. It's oil is sometimes used as a lacquer and to make certain inks and dyes. Some (crazy) people actually use it as a colorful garden plant. And I've even heard of it being used as a substitute for TP (mostly in bad jokes though).

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 7:55PM
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esh_ga

Yes, poison ivy berries are an important source of food for birds that eat berries. I believe that only humans are bothered by it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:58PM
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siriusconspiracy

Humans are an invasive species and should be rooted up and composted.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 4:07AM
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siriusconspiracy

Oh, and by the way, we are not discussing ground ivy,Glechoma hederacea, the picture shows English ivy.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 4:10AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Humans are an invasive species and should be rooted up and composted."

How about we start with you, Siriusconspiracy! Or, if you feel like you are that much of a pest, why not gallantly take maters into your own hands?

1 Like    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 8:49AM
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siriusconspiracy

Touche! But I would be in favor of removing all of us, leave one and we'll come right back and destroy everything!
Seriously, I made the comment to point out that most species would be considered "invasive." Given the chance, species will expand their range. It's not so much that the specie is invasive as it is disturbing to the new ecosystem and displacing the local species.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 2:23AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Invasiveness is not really about extending a species' range. A species can extend its range and not be invasive. An invasive harms existing species (usually by displacement) as its range increases. As humans, we have the opportunity or ability not to be so invasive! We have the responsibility to limit how our actions impact other species, including introducing invasives into our environment.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 7:31AM
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wisconsitom

Kinda hard to believe-I didn't utter one word in this thread! Oops!

;^)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 5:40AM
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