Have you ever seen English ivy fruit? This is why it’s listed as invasive in many climates. Here in Connecticut it has not run rampant yet. If our winters continue to be warmer, that may change.
But fruiting English ivy allows birds to spread it to other places. Still, that’s the least of the issues. Notice, in the top photo, how abundant it is on that maple. The weight of those vines is quite something, which we only discovered as pieces of them have been dislodged over the years in various storms (yes, these are my trees ). In certain instances, when the vines have come down, we have had to cut them into pieces to move them.
So when ice or snow builds up on these vines, it makes them even heavier. It’s enough to topple trees, although so far ours still stand.
This Virginia creeper, lovely as it is, and great for the birds, with lots of berries, also loves trees. Here it’s just scrambling over our woodpile. We fight constantly to keep it from our dogwood. Right plant, right place.
You can see it climbing up on our pines in the photo. It won’t do any harm if it get on the trunk. It would have quite a way to get into the canopy. If that happens, it can be cut back. On these trees, there’s not a lot of low branches like the dogwood.
Many times over the years , after storms have brought down trees, vines in the canopy were blamed. We try to manage our trees so that no vines get into and over the canopy, weakening them, and making them susceptible to wind, ice, snow and other weather issues.
But of course, trees are living things and you can’t manage everything. You just hope that you have prepared as best you can before the storms come.
Not many pathogens bother redwoods. That is why the lumber is used where rot is likely to be a problem. Not many vines will climb it. However, once ivy starts to climb a redwood, it can get more than two hundred feet high quite efficiently.
Wow! That’s why it’s a problem in a lot of states, I guess. Our biggest problem here is oriental bittersweet. It will climb anything, has roots that we need a weed wrench to get out, lots of tasty seeds for the birds–& until they started educating folks, crafty types would go into the woods every fall and bring it home to decorate with, thereby dragging the seeds all over the place–& maybe then just tossing the vines in their own compost when they were done. So it’s all over the state!