Home & garden

Ivy on the tree - remove or let grow?

Ivy has the property of climbing up trees and growing on them. That looks nice, but is it also good for the trees or does the ivy have to be removed?

Ivy doesn't harm trees

Ivy originally grew in forests and sought a way up from the forest floor. Of course, this led over the tree trunks. But ivy also thrives in the home garden without losing sight of the old growth direction. As a gardener, you are right to ask yourself whether you should leave the tendrils on the trees or rather remove them.

Does the vegetation damage?

The question often arises as to whether ivy that seeks its way along trees is harmful or not. The trees could suffocate on the tendril or the shoots could break off. The roots of the plant could also damage the tree.

Some of these fears are unfounded. A healthy, strong and mature tree will not be damaged by the ivy. It is different with young trees. These often have a very thin bark that could be damaged by the adhesive roots. The branches can also bend down and break off. However, this only applies to very young trees. Weeping willows are also problematic, their branches projecting downwards anyway and are very thin. The ivy can become too heavy and damage the branches.

How does the ivy stick to the tree?

Unlike mistletoe, for example, ivy only touches the bark on the outside and does not penetrate the bark with the adhesive roots. The climbing plant therefore does not harm the tree, nor does it absorb any nutrients from the trunk.

Despite vigorous growth, the tree also gets enough sunlight. Ivy prefers to stay in the shade, so densely leafy trees are ideal climbing aids for the plant. Since the ivy rarely overgrows the entire treetop, the tree also receives sufficient sunlight here.

Conclusion: ivy does not have to be removed

To protect the tree, you don't have to remove the ivy. Exceptions are:

  • Young trees with a low stature
  • weakened trees with damaged bark
  • fruit trees

Damage to the bark does not cause the roots to penetrate the tree, but an ideal climate for fungi that can damage the tree forms under the ivy. Fruit trees are also only suitable for greening to a limited extent, because insects often settle in ivy, which can have a negative effect on fruit harvesting. You can find out how to remove the ivy here.