Outdoor Ivy and Pine Trees
Our home is surrounded with several large pine trees and some type of ivy as ground cover (thanks to the tree, grass won't grow). Recently the pine trees dropped their summer needles. Do I need to rake up all of these pine needles and the neighbor's leaves to protect the ivy? I've been told that some of the ivy grows on top, within or under the pine needle leaves and other outdoor stuff, and if I don't remove all of this stuff, the ivy will die or won't grow to its potential. I've also been told to remove all ivy from within 3 feet of each tree. If I don't, the tree will either not grow to full height or will die prematurely. Basically, do I need to remove all of fall stuff from the ivy and the ivy from trees? If so, what's the best way to remove it?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
You do not need to rake out the ivy. They are amazingly resilient plants and will grow through the debris just fine until it composts.
In terms of not letting the ivy grow within 3 feet, that advice was sound but the reason they gave you was not quite accurate. Ivy can be very aggressive and if you let it grow near the tree, it will start to go up the tree and cause damage to the bark, if not overtake the whole tree someday. While that process is very long and would take years if not decades before it happened, it is easier in the long run to make sure the ivy never gets the chance to start climbing the tree in the first place.
This article will help you with removing the ivy: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/groundcover/english-ivy/kill-english-ivy.htm