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Vines-Do they damage trees

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#1 Guest_<Hank>_*

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Posted 01 December 2002 - 02:20 PM

I have three types of vines beginning to climb some large trees in my yard. About 90% of the vines are English Ivy, with the rest being Virginia creeper and Poison Ivy. My question is if these vines will hurt the trees in any way. I really like the appearance of the vines but do not want to damage the trees. Any help would be appreciated.
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#2 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich
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Posted 03 December 2002 - 11:15 AM

None of those three vines usually hurts the tree trunk when they climb there and attach to the bark. Trouble can come, however, when the vines get up above the tree's canopy and begin to shade out the tree's foliage. That cuts the light significantly, slows the tree's growth and weakens it all around. Often trees are killed, gradually, when native poison ivy or Virginia creeper overtop them.

Another problem comes from the increased load on the tree and its greater density because of the vine. When winds are high, a tree that could handle that in other circumstances may topple.

English ivy doesn't usually cause those problems here in Michigan, because our winters kill its branches back every time they reach out beyond the shelter of the trunk and main branches -- it rarely bridges the gap between branches to cause increased wind resistance or cover the tree's foliage. In England and the Southern U.S. English ivy can be a killer but not here, not except in rare cases.

So keep the natives clipped back from the tree's crown, or keep them off the trunk and on the ground.
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