English Ivy (alias: Hedera helix)
English Ivy is one of the more common invaders harboring in the yards of the Hudson Valley. Its potential for escape is notorious. English ivy looks nice climbing up the side of your house and provides great ground cover that you don’t have to mow, but if left unchecked it will spread to the neighbor’s yard or the forest. Its evergreen leaves smother other native forest plants by denying them light. English Ivy has similar characteristics to Poison Ivy. It only reaches maturity and goes to seed after it has grown up a vertical surface.
It was brought to the United States by European colonists in the 1700’s. It’s had quite a long time to adjust to our climate, but insects and animals haven’t yet developed a taste for it. (A good rule of thumb is, if it has vines, don’t plant it).
Eradication: For us, the tenacious English Ivy is never a welcome sight. Its roots are very strong, they cling to everything and get all tangled up with the poison ivy, for which it provides safe harbor. You can’t separate the two and usually have to pull all of it out.
The sooner you get started, the better, because it will take several trips to remove it all. If for some reason you want us to take out the Poison Ivy while keeping the English Ivy, don’t worry about that. We’ll rip both of them out and in another year, the English Ivy will return on its own without the PI.