It is cold enough now that the ticks are dormant. One can walk the woods in some security. But this time of year now just breaks my heart. The bare winter trees are far too often overwhelmed by English Ivy — in yards, vacant lots, along our woods. A million trees, it seems, have been consigned to die because people are not really seeing what’s going on.
As we reminded you last year, Winter Is The Perfect Time To Kill English Ivy. We offer here a handy guide that combined with the videos below should get you going. It was only three years ago that I came to understand just how destructive English Ivy is to our environment. Now, I can’t unsee it. It makes it tough just to drive up the street sometimes.
People will say “Well, it’s my property and I like it like this.” The problem here is that English Ivy spreads, and not just by their roots. Birds eat their berries, then fly off. That is why English Ivy is all over the trees at the edge of a woods or in vacant lots. This is where the birds will often fly next — not into the woods, but along them.
That English Ivy kills trees is one thing. Altering the very habitat of our forest edges is another. English Ivy is non-native; our local insects won’t eat it. No natural “enemies.” It just becomes the dominant ground cover for the forest floor near to the tree line, smothering everything out, and providing refuge creatures we don’t want anywhere near us.
It is in the grasses along the forest edge zones where the deer graze, where the ivy is prevalent, and where humans would enter the woods, and it is here where they each pick up ticks. Where from?: The White Footed Mouse has been determined to be the main vector for the spread of Lyme Disease.
What if there wasn’t English Ivy running rampant along our woodland edges, parks, yards, vacant lots? For one thing, we would see far fewer white-footed mice, as our local raptor population would spot them far more readily. Further, clearing the invasive ivy would also make the ticks themselves were far more visible to all that can eat them.
In conclusion then if we want to have an effective tick management policy, we will need to improve the prospects of their main predators, and we do that by systematically removing English Ivy from our property, public and private, lot by lot because its killing our trees anyway.
Note this too: Robins also carry ticks. I even got one in my own yard, far away from any deer. Robins forage in those same edge grasses where the ticks also live. If we let our local lands go to ruin, it is no wonder we have more vermin than we should in our own yards.
If you know a place in your community where English Ivy has grown rampant please let us know in the comments. We can help organize local resources for its removal. It’s a stunning realization to first learn how invasive English Ivy is and then how it impacts the health of our forests, the animals that live within them, and it seems our own. Up to 90% of white-footed mice carry Lyme Disease. Let’s not give them a place to hide.
Here are two useful guides for English Ivy removal: