I have thick English ivy as a groundcover in a section of my garden where I will be removing a tree and bush and planting a new tree. I would like to cut back some of the ivy before doing this work, but I don’t want to kill it entirely. What would you advise? Thank you.
The most common ivy grown outdoors is Hedera helix. It is evergreen, and is often used as a ground cover, and is also an excellent climber on walls, fences and even up trees. The ivy plants do this by using little roots to attach to the wall or fence. If ivy is left as a ground cover, the roots will enter the soil.
English Ivy can be pruned back by 1/3 to 1/2 of its height in autumn, using garden shears. Make sure to leave at least 3″ of the plant intact as shearing the ivy too short can damage the plants.
Make sure to water English ivy deeply before the ground freezes in winter, especially if the fall months have been dry. Watering is important, as wet soil will act as an insulator.
The American Ivy Society www.ivy.org/about_bv8.htm is a good source for general ivy information.