English ivy is a woody, climbing vine that has been used extensively in the Pacific Northwest. Ivy can be found in roadside plantings, parking lots, as ornamental decoration and climbing on buildings, fences and other vertical surfaces. Research has shown the problem ivies to be Hedera hibernica, Hedera helix 'Baltica', 'Pitttsburgh' and 'Star'. However, ivies are often mislabeled at nurseries, so don't plant any ivy except in pots.
English ivy is not native to the United States and has no natural predators or pests to keep it in check. It easily escapes from planting areas and invades natural areas, parks and urban forests. It creates "Ivy Deserts" - areas so dominated by ivy that no other vegetation survives. Ivy affects trees negatively, especially when it climbs into the canopy. By adding weight to limbs and reducing air flow around the tree's trunk, ivy makes a tree more susceptible to canopy failure, wind stress and disease. It can also strangle trees around their base and reduce the flow of nutrients up and down the tree.
English ivy does not provide a significant food for native wildlife, but does provide habitat for rats.
Do not plant ivy. Remove ivy, especially from vertical surfaces where it seeds and is spread further by birds. Remove ivy from your yard. Join community out-reach and volunteer-based removal work parties.
Take part in IvyOUT sponsored work parties. Be a team leader. Adopt an area as your own IvyOUT project! Sponsor an IvyOUT program in your own neighborhood. Groups and organizations are more than welcome. Make your presence felt.
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English ivy has been listed as a noxious weed by the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.