Invasives: English Ivy creeping up the building

Discussion in 'Plants: Conservation' started by Bambi, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Bambi

    Bambi Active Member

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    I live in a complex and my neighbours have let their english ivy go wild up the side of our unit. Now, it is creeping over to the front of our unit and growing into the window!

    I was wondering if this could possibly be harmful to the building? The outside walls are made of a sharp textured concrete material, and it is extremely difficult to rip the ivy off of it. The little bit that I do manage to rip down leaves an unsightly mess.

    I have to admit I'm starting to downright hate this plant, they have it growing on their fence on the other side of the building, and it is very fast to take over my rock garden. Reading about it just now, I understand it grows fast in the winter. Great...

    Is there an easier way to remove it from the walls? I'm trying not to care about the side of the building, I just want to get rid of the part that has grown to the front, and towards the windows.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Saw through the stems near the ground. All above will die and eventually fall off.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Use something on the cut stem to stop it dead. Not sure if the infamous roundup will do the job. Around here the wretched stuff is off up the eucalypts and anywhere it can get attached. You will probably need to paint your unit where it eventually comes off. It will also destroy mortar between brick work. We have it designated as a noxious weed here. Maybe that is the case over there and you can get some official information to make your neighbour remove it.

    Liz
     
  4. Jon45150

    Jon45150 Active Member

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    We have some English Ivy on the north side of our house that the previous owners planted. That stuff is incredibly resilient. It needs to be pruned constantly or it can get out of control. We have aluminum siding and every few months I find it growing between the siding and over the basement windows.

    A few years ago I decided to plant something else near where the ivy was. I spent hours clearing the 4' square area of ivy. The roots were very difficult to pull up. I did not get them all. Within a week or two ivy plant were popping up all over the place. I tried round-up on the ivy (and I HATE using chemicals!). It had no effect. I crushed parts of the vine and tried round-up again on the crushed vine portions so it might soak in better. It seemed to have some effect but still did not completely kill the plant. I ended up spending hours more with a shovel digging deep and overturning the dirt to get at the roots. I still get some vines popping up in that area.

    As an experiment I ripped up a 6' portion of a vine and put in on our back brick patio to see how long it could survive. That was over two weeks ago and it is still very green and healthy. It will probably take root between the bricks over the winter.

    I have a love-hate relationship with this stuff. I actually like the way it looks so I have not tried to completely eradicate it, but you have to stay on top of it.

    If you cut it down to the stem as the others suggested this will keep it under control, you just may need to do this every few months (or maybe only once a year if you are on the second floor).

    Good luck!
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, in this region certain ivies are being designated by weed control boards as noxious weeds. The common weedy "English" ivy here is actually Irish ivy, a larger-parted species seen dominating hillsides in local cities where the upper ends of native and other trees may be about the only parts not covered by ivy.

    If you need additional motivating information rats and starlings like ivy. Being in an area comparatively close to salt water your ivy may be hosting wharf rats (Rattus rattus), another name for these that should help convey the lack of desirability of having these on the property is plague rats.

    I have pruned back a comparatively small panel of Irish ivy on part of a garage wall next to the front entrance to a bungalow and been greeted by the stench of rat urine - right next to where the owners were parking their car.
     
  6. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This plant is an irredeemable pest and should not be grown in this part of the world at all, most certainly not where it can affect other people's property - which it inevitably does if left to grow unchecked.

    You may have grounds for legal action to get the neighbours to do the work of removal, to pay for it, or to pay for the repair of damage done by the plant. I'm not a lawyer, but have had issues with neighbour's vegetation of a different sorts and have done some homework on the topic of nuisance vegetation, which is relevant to garden invasion as well as effect on structures. I'm pretty sure you would have to have a record that you've informed them of the problem and asked them to correct it, though, before you can pursue legal action. Registered letters, for example. If it's a complex, you may be able to work through the strata council. Municipal bylaws are typically useless or worse (in Vancouver for instance) - provincial statutes apply. You have the right to peaceful enjoyment of property without interference from the neighbours.

    It might be interesting to peruse the Canadian legal database at www.canlii.org for cases using such search words as "ivy" and "neighbour" - it's fascinating to see what people have gone to court over.
     
  7. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I just happened to have to go to the CanLii data base and did the search I suggested above - nothing relevant came up. If you search the full text field for "tree" and "neighbour" however, you will find oodles of cases that will illustrate principles that I imagine would be relevant.
     
  8. Bambi

    Bambi Active Member

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    Thanks for all of your replies everyone! Wow, what an awful pest of a plant!

    Very interesting court cases over trees! It's good to know, however I don't think any legal action will be necessary at this point. Our neighbours are a friendly older couple, and I don't think I'm willing to go that far.

    I've decided that I will try to cut it down at the source, along with the roots, and see what happens. The neighbours have low maintenance plants on that side of the building and obviously don't prune/care for them. I don't think they will mind if I cut it down, especially since it is growing on our unit and not theirs.

    I had thought of bringing it up at a strata meeting, as we do have hired landscapers that maintain our courtyards. If the plant lives on after I do some initial pruning, I will discuss it with the strata council.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I wonder if you should discuss first, cut later, both with the neighbours and with the strata council. It is your unit and you should have the right to protect it, but it is their plant...
     
  10. MXB

    MXB Active Member

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    I run a small "green" landscaping business that specialized in invasive plant removal from private residencies.

    I've gone 10 rounds with Ivy on numerous occasions and have seen it literally destroy sides of houses and condo walls. The trunk can quickly become as thick as your arm and in one instance I went to a house where the bay window had been pushed right out of the front of the house by the Ivy. You will need to revisit this plant several times before you finally kill it (especially if the root is close to the wall of the condo....the extra warmth from the building helps the roots establish quickly and strongly).

    Once it gets under the artex type finish of your condo.....you will be faced (as will all the strata members) with a bill to fix the problem and it can be very expensive.

    It would be advisable to be very vocal and very persistent with your Strata council if they don't seem to take this seriously. As for your landscaping company, well I've never known a strata council hire anything other than cheaply. What you will likely find is that the landscaper doesn't have a clue and their answer will be to use chemicals on it.

    I pray for the day when the Govt of BC bans the sale of English (or Irish) Ivy and all other plants that are considered invasive in this area.

    Why are garden centers allowed to sell this stuff? Drives me nuts.

    here is an interesting link:

    http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/invasiveplant.htm

    Good Luck!

    MXB
     
  11. Bambi

    Bambi Active Member

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    At the time of posting this my neighbours were away on a long vacation, they are back now so I'm considering taking action.

    I have noticed this plant taking over everywhere. Driving through Stanley Park a couple months ago I noticed it was climbing up many trees along the way, at our local hospital it is taking over a few windows, the Empress hotel in Victoria, etc. I guess it has ornamental value, except for the trees in Stanley Park, which was kind of upsetting to see.

    Someone mentioned that rats nest in this plant, well in the recent strata newsletter they had reports of rats living around the area(!!) Now I'm kind of worried about inspecting the plant myself, even though the report said they had been taken care of.

    But, I think I'm going to have to experiment on my own without the strata's help. They have other priorities with their funding and I respect that. I'll get my neighbour's permission to prune it first, clear out the part on the ground, and go from there.

    I'll post updates on here if anyone's interested, for future reference.

    Thanks
    -Bambi
     
  12. Bambi

    Bambi Active Member

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    Alright, I just went outside and snapped a couple quick pictures of it. My house is on the left. I haven't inspected the plant for a while and wow is it ever dense! Branches as thick as my arm indeed! This is going to be tough.
     

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  13. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Time to prune or remove. It is making seeds and birds will spread it with gay abandon. Ours grows up 60 -80 foor eucalypts. the land care are for ever removing it from the bush where it is a noxious weed.

    Liz
     
  14. Bambi

    Bambi Active Member

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    All finished!

    The neighbours and I collaborated to take it down. We did a bit yesterday, but finished the job today. Just cutting and pulling. Boy did it ever leave an awful mess! I wonder if a pressure washer would help...

    Thanks again everyone!
    -Bambi
     

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  15. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Wow it sure has left a mess. I would let it dry a bit before you tried power wash. Like they say on the packet try a small corner first to make sure you don't create a bigger mess and need a repaint.

    Liz
     
  16. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Nice work! Thank your lucky stars for co-operative neighbours.

    Now remain vigilant for re-appearances... on the ground and for those leftover pieces to grow from their crannies.
     
  17. MXB

    MXB Active Member

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    Well done!
    That was a job and a half I'll bet.

    Just a thought: where did you put the Ivy?

    It needs to be bagged and sent to the dump /or burned/ or sent to a large composting facility where the hot composting method will destroy the seeds.

    if you dumped it in the woods nearby, thinking it is dead.......think again. It will root wherever a root piece or broken branch touches the ground (this is mostly how Ivy has gotten into the parks and ravines in Vancouver , via residential tipping).

    If you put it into a residential composting system, it will break down but it will not be killed off properly as home systems don't generate enough heat to kill any seeds that are present. This usually results in people spreading their compost over their property and having 100's of small Ivy plants pop up.

    Sorry if I'm adding to your woes here ;-)

    MXB
     
  18. Bambi

    Bambi Active Member

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    MXB,

    My neighbours actually had the complex landscapers pick it up and take it away. I'm not sure what they did with it, but I hope they're aware of how invasive this plant is and had it properly destroyed like you said.

    -Bambi
     
  19. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

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    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Wow!!
    It certainly looks like you have had your fun with that stuff!
    I suppose one wouldn't think that English Ivy would be growing here on Ruxton Island....boy would you be wrong!
    Evidently, someone, about 35 years ago brought one ivy plant over here. Do I have to tell you how much it has spread? And how much damage it has done?
    It has a very strong foothold on several areas of the island.
    One of our neighbours thought it might look nice growing around his outhouse. Great idea! Now it covers an area about 100' wide and several hundred feet long. It goes up the fir trees, and if not removed seems to have the ability to kill them. These are 100' tall Douglas firs. We try to rip the ivy off all the trees each spring, but in many cases we may get 10 or 15 feet off the bottom, then the ivy breaks and just keeps on growing.
    It seems to really like the cool moist conditions that exist under the tree canopy here, and the speed that it spreads is amazing.
    I must admit, it makes a nice looking ground cover, but what a pain....
     

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