- Vines may cause several types of problems for trees and tree owners. The
vines may twist about young stems and kill them. The vines, especially at the
base of large trees, make conditions perfect for fungus fruit bodies. Always
check under vines for fruit bodies that indicate root and butt decay. Vines
may grow over tree crowns and shade the leaves of the tree. The weight of the
vines could cause weak branches to break. Vines at the base of trees make
suitable places for small animals to live. Rats often live in the thick vines
and ivy at the base of trees. Another point about vines for the homeowner; the
vines may cause high moisture as they grow on or near houses, especially wood
houses. Fungi that cause rot may grow rapidly under such conditions. Ants, or
termites may also become involved. If you want vines near your house, keep a
close check for these problems. I have learned, many vines, even poison ivy,
are a food source for wildlife such as birds.
Ivy and other vines often grow on and over trees. The vine growth can be so heavy that small branches may break under the weight of the vines. Or, the vines may so shade the tree's leaves that photosynthesis is decreased. Some vines will girdle small trunks and branches. Heavy growth of vines may also compete with tree roots for water and elements. Other than the allelopathic effect of ivy on Boxwood, we are not aware of any biological injury to trees caused by ivy. Vines also make homesites for rodents. (See page 342 and 343 MA)
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