The ivy growing at the base of our azaleas and lilac are showing extensive,...

Asked April 6, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT

The ivy growing at the base of our azaleas and lilac are showing extensive, and very unattractive, die back. The leaves have dropped, the stems are long and straggly. What could be the cause and what can be done about it? Thank you

District of Columbia County District of Columbia groundcovers english ivy removal english ivy turnd brown

1 Response

Depending upon its exposure to sun, some English ivy in Maryland took a hit this winter from severe winterburn. This can cause leaves to brown and fall off. There is no reason to suspect that the vines themselves are dead. They should leaf out this spring.

While the leaves are off, it's a good idea to rake them out of the bed, because when too much debris builds up in an ivy bed, it hold in the moisture and can lead to fungal problems.

Incidentally, English ivy is considered a non-native invasive in Maryland because when it grows up a tree it becomes mature and can produce flowers and berries that birds spread into wild areas. So, be sure to keep it under control for the environment's sake.

ECN