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Why ivy?

Posted by Kees_Lover (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 20:30

Watching "Fixer Upper" on HGTV. The house they are working on has a lot of damage & rodent infestation from ivy growth on the side of the house.

Other than the concept that it looks "charming," is there any real reason why any home owner would plant ivy to grow up a trellis (or side) on the house? In the past, did it keep homes cooler, or... something?

Just trying to figure out what the original purpose of ivy-covered English or New England homes might have been.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why ivy?

Don't know the answer, but just want to note that, that is where the term "Ivy League" came from: the university buildings covered with ivy.


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RE: Why ivy?

Maybe this will help answer your q...

Here is a link that might be useful: Ivy report


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RE: Why ivy?

Wow Annie. What a great article! Thanks for posting.


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RE: Why ivy?

This is a topic near and not-so-dear to my heart. Before I bought my house at some point it was covered with ivy. It is a brick house. The ivy still grows on the ground around it and I am constantly battling it. I keep it off the walls and out of the lawn. I also have to cut it back from the AC condenser.

My garage backs up to my neighbor and they did not keep the ivy trimmed, so it grew up the wall and onto the roof. I had to climb on the roof and cut it back to keep it from getting under the shingles. Finally the house was empty for a short while so I went over and pulled down all the ivy. It took the top layer of stucco with it! Then I put weed killer all over it. Now I go over periodically to beat it back.

I had to have all the mortar between the bricks repointed due to the ivy damage, a huge expense.

I think the stuff is a scourge, right up there with creeping bamboo. It destroys the walls and provides a nice ladder for all kinds of bugs and rodents to get in your house.

I have slovenly neighbors across from me who rarely cut back the ivy on the house. Right now it completely covers the front, has grown over the screens and into the gutters.

On the other hand, there are some big old homes near me that loo quite handsome with the ivy on them. Nevertheless, I think underneath the house is being eaten alive.

I can't think of even one reason to let ivy grow on a house other than the charm, if you see it that way.


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RE: Why ivy?

Obviously depends on the kind of ivy (as Annie's article points out) as well as the type of siding material on the building.

My house has cedar clapboard siding, so I make sure ivy is kept at bay from the house.

On the other hand, I'm trying to grow it up the walls of my outdoor shower as a privacy screen.


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RE: Why ivy?

Really great article, Annie! The polarity of views with respect to ivy is really quite interesting. I enjoyed reading that :)


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RE: Why ivy?

My mom and I always joked that it was to hold those old buildings together in New England. Afraid that if one ripped it off the building would fall apart.

I battle ivy on our house too.

Looking forward to reading the article.


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RE: Why ivy?

I'm allowing Boston ivy to cover my house. The siding is green asphalt and the ivy is giving the hse some character.
It's not anywhere as destructive as Hedera(English) and can be simply pulled off if I tire of it.
I'm even allowing it to grow across/cover a couple of east window, I love how the leaves filter the morning sun and the silhouettes created which I can enjoy from the inside.

Also a plus, in the fall it turns colors like a tree and then later drops its leaves.


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