Why is some of my English Ivy ground cover dying

Asked July 31, 2018, 10:36 AM EDT

I have been converting my front lawn from grass to English Ivy ground cover for about 10 years. Currently, some of the ivy is thriving and other parts are dying; shaded parts, in general, are doing better than sunny parts. Do I need to get soil tested, if so, how?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

We viewed your photos. The English ivy may have declined due to past winter damage, poor site conditions, or fungal/bacterial diseases. These diseases can be common in wet weather. If the bed was neglected and filled with old debris like accumulated leaves, this can also promote diseases and the ivy can decline.

This vine is invasive and we do not recommend planting it. If planted near natural areas such as woods or parks it can grow and affect native plant habitat. If allowed to grow up trees it can produce flowers and berries which can be spread by birds.

You have the opportunity to remove the vines, and replant with other types of groundcovers, low growing shrubs, and perennials. Matching the plant to the site - sun versus shade. Select a variety of plants so you do not lose the whole stand to an insect or disease issue. For instance plant natiave hayscented fern, phlox stolonifera, or Pa sedge under the tree canopy in the shade. Select low growing groundcovers or shrubs such as sedum species and deutzia in the sun areas.
You will have to come up with a landscape plan. See our website to get started. You can also take photos to a large nursery for more suggestions. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/earth-friendly/landscape-planning
Begin with a soil test http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/soils/soil-testing