Elm Trees
Q.

70-year-old English ivy grown around a Japanese elm tree

Zone San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, CA | yBetty added on June 7, 2018 | Answered

This art was started about 70 years ago by my uncle. He passed away about 20 years ago, and I have been keeping it going ever since. The ivy is draped over the crotch of the tree and is kept off the upper limbs. The upper limbs are pruned back every January to about 4 feet above the crotch, and the ends grow back out, creating a waterfall effect. The city came by once and said that the pruning and ivy would cause the tree to die. Well, it's been 70 years, and the tree hasn't died yet, so they don't know what they are talking about. A couple of years ago, some of the ivy leaves became bigger and produced fruit. I thought the site might have been invaded by a neighbor's large ivy so started to cut that ivy out. I'm down to the trunk on one side of the tree. Do I keep cutting the large ivy vines?

A.
A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
Downtoearthdigs
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on June 8, 2018

This is an amazing live art piece!

Mature plants produce umbels (umbrella
–shaped clusters) of greenish white flowers in the fall resulting in a deep purple, soft skinned, berry-like
fruit in the spring.

Vine stems begin pale green and slender when growing along the ground and quickly become woody
and stout on climbing vines. Stems produce rootlets that give the vine a hairy appearance and produce
a sticky substance that allows the vine to cling to vertical surfaces. Vines can produce roots from each
node, allowing it to re-establish itself from cut stems and pieces of stems left on the ground.
The growth pattern you mention is the normal aging and growing pattern of English Ivy.
I do think thinning out the vines could benefit both the ivy and the tree.
These links will help you.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/groundcover/english-ivy/english-ivy-pruning-tips.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/groundcover/english-ivy/english-ivy-tree-damage.htm

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