P91113Ivy often climbs into trees, buildings and all sorts of other situations where it becomes problematic. It might have been planted intentionally. It might have grown from seed left by birds. When it gets into trouble, we can easily blame it on the ivy. Even that which was planted was intended to be mere ground cover. It only climbs out of control because that is what ivy does.


This Boston ivy that . . . ‘someone’ planted almost a year ago was actually expected to climb. That is what Boston ivy does. Even if it would be willing to grow as a ground cover, it would not work well as such because it is deciduous. As a climber, it covers freeway sound walls and any associated graffiti with vibrant green foliage that turns fiery orange and red this time of year.

The problem with it is that there are not many practical applications for it. Yes, it does well on freeway sound walls. It also does well on concrete parking structures, where it can not reach painted or wooden surfaces. There are a few unpainted reinforced concrete building out there that it would work nicely on, as long as it gets trimmed around windows, doorways and roofs.

It has no business on painted wooden surfaces, or even stucco. It clings with these weird ‘suction discs’ that never let go! (They do not really use suction, but an adhesive instead.) You can see a few to the right in this picture below. When vines get pruned back every few years, the suction discs remain attached. Although not a problem for concrete, they promote rot in wood.P91113+

What concerns me with the Boston ivy in these pictures is that it grew to the top of the pillars that they were planted on in less than a year. Even if they get pruned down this winter, they will grow farther next year, and will reach the wooden bridge above. It will be a lot of work to keep them pruned back from the bridge.

As you can see I the picture below, Boston ivy is quite pretty on the concrete. Fall color is delayed this year. P91113++

3 thoughts on “Horridculture – Clinging Vines

  1. We have Boston Ivy growing on the east side of the house. Not sure if it was planted by birds or the prior owners. I cut it to the ground at least once per year. Otherwise it will cover up the second story windows. It’s a painted brick wall, and those little sucker things are all over. Not sure what the long-term solution is, or if there is one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There isn’t one. They will not actually damage the brick, but can damage wooden window frames and any wooden parts they can attach to. That is why it is important to continue to control it. The paint will of course be ruined, but if you prefer the vines to the paint, that will not be a problem. If you ever need to paint the wall, the discs can be sand blasted off, or scraped and then sand blasted. Honestly, if I lived in a brick or block house, I would let it climb too. I would just control it like you are doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    What is worse than how this Boston ivy was growing three years ago is that . . . someone actually grew more from cuttings, and added one to each of another pair of concrete pillars of the same bridge. They are surprisingly complaisant so far.


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