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RE: ivy


I agree there are applications where ivy may work. When I moved to Northport
20 years ago, the ivy was already here. It has carpeted the floor of the
woods and I'm forever trying to cut it off the trees so they don't get
smothered.  I'm sure the person who planted it instead of a lawn area never
gave a thought to how it can invade and take over native plants!  I hate to
see that happen here, but I can't seem to stop it!  I really need to try to
kill some large areas with roundup.  I now hire someone to help me cut the
vines out of the trees, but there are a lot of trees, many of which are
native red cedars.  The cedars can't tolerate any vine growing on them.
They are a rather soft wood and the ivy would shade out the needles and
weigh down the branches making them too heavy especially in weather like

I know that you agree with all of this, so I'm preaching to the choir.

What I was more concerned about was how ivy can get established in a
person's ornamental garden.  Like houttiana cordata, all those little tiny
pieces of stems will form new plants.  Okay, it's not as bad as houttianna
cordata, if you are not vigilant ivy can get out of control. It looks nice
the first few years, but then watch out!

I remember when I was less experienced I planted some small leaved
variegated ivy in the shade.  It looked lovely, but now I'm pulling 2/3 of
that out every year.  It's easier than whatever green form I have, but again
more maintenance!  I don't pull it all out because it still lights up the
shade, but it blankets my asarum and small wild flowers killing them if I'm
not watchful.

I guess if it isn't rampant in Donna's area, the fence would be lovely in
ivy.  I would choose a variegated small -leaved form.

Long Island, NY
Zone 7a (Average min temp 50 - 00)

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Marge Talt
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 2:51 AM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] ivy

Well, Chris, I'm gonna play devil's advocate here.  Hedera helix gets a lot
of bad press  these days and some of it deservedly because, in suitable
climates, it has escaped and is trying to conquer the world, but there are
hundreds of forms that are not as vigorous (or even
hardy) as the species and MUCH more interesting plants.  I grow several
forms, including the species and I would not plant the plain species again,
but I would hate to be without the others.

Like ALL vines, one has to monitor it.  I don't know of a vine you can just
walk away from and leave to its own devices; most have a gene for travel and
that's what they will do...some more than others, but it's their nature to
move out and cover whatever they encounter.

I have thought that ivy might be the answer for Donna's fence, but have not
mentioned it because I wasn't sure it would do well in such an exposed
location in her climate.  It will winter burn pretty badly in sunny, windy
areas in cold climates - any of it - if it doesn't totally defoliate.  The
nicer forms probably wouldn't make it at all.
 But, where it will grow well, it's great for covering chain link fences.
Yes, it needs some work to do this - you have to train it - and not cover
the surrounding ground, but once it does cover the fence, you've got a
living hedge instead of a metal mesh...

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
Shadyside Garden Designs
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