Can English ivy ground cover killing evergreen shrubs without smothering them?
In a bed with evergreen shrubs and azaleas, ivy has begun to cover the ground around them thickly . I notice that one large evergreen (3' high) is dead and others are dying. Can this be caused by the ivy maybe using all the available water? Or . . . .
District of Columbia
It's not a coincidence that almost nothing germinates in a bed of English ivy. This cannot all be chalked up to shading the soil. Please read through this link, which points out that English ivy changes soil chemistry (Ecological Threat) and has allelopathic properties (History): http://www.tsusinvasives.org/home/database/hedera-helix
As you mentioned, it also competes for water.
That said, you don't mention what kind of evergreen you have, and their dying may be unrelated to the ivy. We suggest that you send us photos of the shrubs (declining, not dead parts). Both close-ups of needles and wide shots for a better diagnosis.