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Trees and Ivy

Ivy is a natural part of the hedge, woodland and tree habitat and provides food and homes for a wide range of species, especially birds, insects and bats. It will usually live in harmony with the tree and cause little or no damage as a healthy tree is able to restrict the growth of the ivy sufficiently through shading. Ivy uses the tree for support but rarely restricts the growth.

However, ivy can occasionally cause problems and in some situations it may be necessary to sever and/or remove ivy from a tree. Where a tree is struggling and the ivy is able to dominate, the amount of ivy growth can become so great that it’s ‘sail area’ is such that the tree is in danger of failure. This is sometimes found on old hedgerow hawthorns and some stagheaded oaks. Another situation where ivy is a problem (not to the tree but to us) is where the ivy obscures the structure of a tree that needs a safety inspection and is possibly hiding important defects.

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Removal of ivy is generally a matter of personal taste unless it is causing a problem but its benefits to wildlife can be considerable. The Council would therefore encourage tree owners to keep ivy on their trees wherever possible.