Removing English Ivy (Hedera helix L.)

On Saturday, we ripped out some problems at the local library garden. I belong to the garden friends. For the last two years we have eradicated invasive plants and planted native ones.

We were joined on Saturday by thirty teenagers on a community service project. They did a fantastic job getting rid of the problem plant, English Ivy.

English Ivy was bought to North America by European settlers as an ornamental plant. It’s native range includes Europe, western Asia and Northern Africa.

It is invasive because it rapidly grows covering forest floors. By covering the floor, the plant blocks native species from growing. By this it disrupts ecosystems.

English Ivy can also grow vertically and wind its way up through trees. It covers branches and smothers the trees, slowly killing the them.

When I was a little girl English Ivy covered the front of our house. Birds used to nest in the thick tendrils. I remember the smell. It was an unpleasant sharp smell, that rubbed off on your hands it you handled it.

In a way I miss the Ivy. I liked the way the birds flew in and out of it.

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