English ivy (Hedera helix L.) and Irish ivy (H. hibernica) are perennial plants introduced to the U.S. by European immigrants. They are woody, evergreen vines with waxy leaves and green or white flowers that produce black berries. The ivy crowds out native plants and climb up trees and shrubs, depriving them of sunlight and water and eventually killing them. The berries can be toxic to pets.
The best control method is to pull them out by hand when the soil is moist. For ground ivy, hand-pull and roll the matted plants. For tree ivy, cut the vines around the trunk of the tree at waist level, pull the wines to the forest floor and then pull and roll back the matter wines away from the trunk. Ivy is vigorous and grows fast so you’ll need to return to the same area and pull vines several times a year.
Read more about English and Irish ivy in this brochure.
Some native plants you could plant as an alternative to ivy are:
- Beach strawberry
- Wood strawberry
- Sword fern
- Prostrate ceanothus