Is ivy really our enemy?

Is ivy really our enemy?

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Ivy does not always have a good reputation. He is accused of invading the gardens, of being totally indomitable, of damaging the supports on which he hangs to hoist himself ever higher. So, is the climbing ivy a friend or an enemy? With its defects and its qualities, Charly de Jardiland spoke to us with passion of this ivy sometimes loved for its many qualities, sometimes hated for its few defects.

Is climbing ivy as invasive and uncontrollable as it is claimed?

Ivy - Hedera helix L. - is indeed a climbing plant that few obstacles stop. It is also highly appreciated for its quality of excellent ground cover. Ivy indeed limits the proliferation of weeds, it facilitates the work of weeding. An advantage for gardeners, especially when confronted with weeding of slopes and steep gardens. It is in any case possible to contain the growth of ivy. If it invades the lawn, just mow it. When it takes up too much space on walls and other supports, it can be cut very easily using a pruner.

Can ivy smother the trees on which it clings?

Climbing ivy is not as problematic as the rumor claims. The tree is a simple support for this climbing plant and the two go very well together. The tree lends its bark to ivy, which clings to it lightly thanks to its adventitious roots. It even plays a protective role for urban trees because ivy absorbs the Benzene released by motor vehicles. On the other hand, it is advisable not to let the ivy climb on very young shrubs likely to give birth to buds at the base of their trunk. Buds indeed need light to develop.

Does it really make the walls damp?

It is quite the opposite in fact! Climbing ivy acts as an insulator because it protects the walls from rain, snow and even cold and pollution. The position of the ivy leaves is identical to that of the tiles that cover the roofs of houses. The water slides there perfectly without seeping into the walls which then protected from erosion. On the other hand, it is better not to let ivy run on walls in poor condition. On the one hand because a damaged wall must be restored to avoid its fall, on the other hand because the ivy can seep into the cracks and finish - after a few years - by increasing its importance somewhat.

Ivy is often accused of harboring all kinds of insects. What is it exactly?

What many people take for a defect is actually a quality. In the garden, ivy is a very welcoming host for many useful insect species, for bees, butterflies. Many of them are pollinators and nature needs them, as we do. Of course, if you do not want to see a cohort of insects enter through the open windows, it is better not to plant ivy climbing at the foot of the house. But then we deprive ourselves of a joyful ballet: that of birds which, at the beginning of spring, revel in clusters of purple berries, ivy fruits.