Ivy's Story - How It Grows
English ivy (Hedera helix) is generally considered a vine, but is actually an aggressive climbing woody shrub. When ivy spreads beyond its intended boarders- which it inevitably does without persistent managing for as long as it lives- it causes tremendous damage. Racing along the ground, it forms a thick evergreen mat which shades out other plants.
In order to reach sunlight, ivy dashes up trees, wrapping around branches and blocking sunlight from leaves, eventually causing the tree to die.
Ivy infested trees are more likely to be blown over during storms because of their weakened state and the heavy weight of the vines they are carrying.
Ivy can grow 3 feet a year and can climb up to 100 feet. It also spreads by birds eating and disbursing the berries produced on mature ivy.
Over the years, ivy has escaped and marched across the country and is now considered an invasive problem in about 28 states and D.C. In some states in the northwest it has caused such destruction over vast acres of forest, it's listed as a noxious weed (much like kudzu here in Georgia). Oregon has banned the transport, propagation and sale of English ivy. In Georgia, it's listed (along with the commonly present, tree girdling wisteria vine) as an invasive plant species.
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