English Ivy Dead

Asked June 7, 2018, 1:56 PM EDT

All my English Ivy, about 3 dozen plants that have lined by patio for about 20 year, died off in mid-March. They survived the winter. I had them covered in deer netting to keep the deer and rabbits away. They were green and then one day they went brown. Any thoughts?

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

In spite of the fact that English ivy is considered an invasive plant in several parts of the country, die of is not uncommon. It is difficult to diagnose the cause of your ivy's problem without actually examining the plant and possibly the soil. Your best course of action is to take a large sample to your local MSU Extension office. They may be able to diagnose the problem or, if not, send it to the lab on campus.

There are three common ivy diseases: stem rot is caused by a fungus, Rhizoctonia solani; anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrechum omnivorum and bacterial leaf spot is caused by one of the Xanthomas bacteria. All three of these diseases are associated with too much water in the soil or on the leaves. You should cease any overhead irrigation, if that’s present.

Ivy plants are negatively affected by winter weather, and like fungi symptoms, the evidence appears as tan to brown blotches occurring mainly but not limited to leaf margins. Entire plants are sometimes affected, and dead patches develop later in a planting bed.

Ivy plant injury is thus attributed to a mix of extremely cold temperatures, temperature variations and freeze-thaw cycles in addition to drying winds and even low temperatures, but this type of injury can be minimized by utilizing needed fertilization and watering exercises during periods of drought. Our heavy rainfall in May could contribute to fungal problems.

There are a variety of reasons why ivy plants' leaves turn brown. Assuming that you want your prized ivy to survive, and it is still holding on, ask a plant expert to determine which of the variables apply to your plant's decline, and apply the appropriate method to treat the cause. If you must use chemical insecticides to assure the plant's survival, always remember to use the recommended dosage rates and observe safety precautions at all times.