i am trying to remove dead ivy from trees but it is tearing the bark off too. should I just leave it and let the leaves fall off
it hasn't been cut to kill the large stems for too long, about 1.5 months, is this enough time for it to die and safely take it off the tree. thank you barb brooks
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
That's unusual for the ivy to take bark off. But it depends on the type of tree and age. If it is a superficial layer or flakes of outer bark, but not the deeper layer of inner bark into the growing layer, then there is no great harm done, it's mostly an aesthetic issue. It may look patchy for awhile, but eventually the spots will weather and appear normal.
If you leave it for the dead leaves to fall off, it could take a year or two. In the meantime it's ugly and can present a fire hazard, a "fire fuel ladder-effect" that can channel a ground fire up into the canopy of the tree. It is possible to shear off the dead leaves and leave the stems attached to the tree, if acceptible to you aesthetically. You can do this with a hand snips, a hedge shears, or scrape the leaves off with a hand saw or pole saw.
If it's a large tree and a big volume of ivy, you may need to hire a climber/tree service for the ivy removal and disposal.
Inspect your trees monthy during the growing season and remove the ivy that is starting up the trunk again before it gets out of hand. There is systemic herbicide treatment available to prevent re-growth from cut stems.