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The Holly and the Ivy

’Tis the season for giving and planting. Poinsettias are beautiful additions to the yard this time of year, as is English holly. But beware that your plants don’t turn into the Christmas Grinch, gifting you with unwanted issues this holiday season. Perhaps you’re reading this right now because you’ve already had some problems and are interested in learning more about holly and ivy removal in Portland, Oregon. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place. Mr. Tree specializes in a variety of tree services, including holly and ivy removal. We’ll tell you what you need to know to address any issues.

English Holly


English holly is a classic plant to give and receive during the holidays. But while the plant may be an attractive addition to your home’s landscaping, it’s also something you’ll want to be cautious about leaving around your yard. That’s because English holly can spread quickly and disrupt Portland’s native ecosystems.

One of the reasons English holly poses such a threat is that birds feed on the plant’s berries and then disperse their seeds to other areas, spreading the plant. It also competes with Portland’s native species for space and water. In fact, English holly is considered a Class C invasive species in Portland, Oregon. So what should you do if English holly is already planted in your yard?

Holly Removal in Portland, Oregon

The best thing to do is remove the plant altogether. If the plant is relatively small, this can be a fairly easy do-it-yourself project, especially if the soil is moist, which makes for easier removal. If you do decide to remove English holly yourself, you’ll want to be sure to remove the plant and its roots in their entirety to prevent the opportunity for regrowth. You’ll also want to check the area annually for new sprouts.

Larger plants, on the other hand, can prove to be more difficult to remove. If you have a large English holly plant growing in your yard, it may be wise to call in a professional arborist to take care of its removal.

English Ivy


Another invasive species to be mindful of is the English ivy plant. In fact, ivy removal is such a priority in Portland, Oregon, that this past October marked Portland’s 16th annual No Ivy Day. So what’s all the fuss about?

Much like the English holly, ivy can spread easily, and birds also carry the plant’s berries to new areas. Much volunteer work has been committed to the removal of ivy in Portland’s natural habitats, such as Forest Park. Because ivy doesn’t soak up water as easily as native plants, their presence can lead to stormwater runoff. That erosion can then lead to pollution in the city’s waterways. In general, areas where invasive species are present are more likely to erode during flood events, making the mere presence of these species extremely problematic.

Ivy Removal in Portland, Oregon

The good news is that it’s far less expensive to control young invasive plants than to attempt to remove well-established infestations. That’s why it’s best to nip the problem in the bud before it gets out of control. Mr. Tree can assist with the removal of invasive species such as the ivy plant from your yard.

If you’re interested in attempting ivy removal yourself, there are some steps you can take to address the issue. The first thing you’ll want to do is cut the ivy loose from the tree, or whatever surface it’s attached itself to, at two points—at shoulder height and ankle height. This will sever the connection between the ivy and its roots, eliminating its potential for continued growth. Once the ivy has been cut from the tree, be sure to pry it loose and carefully remove it from the tree’s bark.

Once you’ve tackled the ivy on the tree, you’ll want to tackle the ivy on the ground as well. The best way to root out the problem, after all, is to remove evidence of the plant altogether. You’ll want to measure out a circumference of about six feet in diameter around the base of the affected tree. Next, cut the vines loose and pull them from the base of the tree and the ground.

What Now?

It’s possible to mulch ivy once it’s removed. If you’re interested in mulching your ivy, make sure to form manageable piles once the ivy pieces have been pried loose. Be careful to place the piles in areas where the ivy was present so that the ivy won’t spread to previously unaffected plants.

Once you have the ivy placed in piles, begin slicing through the vines. You’ll want to start about six inches from the edge. You’ll then want to cut that piece into smaller segments, about three to four inches in length. Once the entire pile has been cut down, flip the mulched ivy and repeat the process. When the ivy has been thoroughly trimmed and cut into bits, you’re ready to spread it over the areas of removal. Be sure to target those areas most impacted by the ivy’s removal. Also, be mindful to check back every few months to ensure there isn’t any new growth or problem areas.

Your great aunt’s fruitcake isn’t the only unwanted holiday gift you could be receiving this year. So always be careful to check your yard for invasive species. Even better, contact a professional arborist to perform preventative maintenance. As we’ve said before, it’s easier to root out a problem early on, before it becomes a full-blown issue. Scheduling regular maintenance appointments with tree service experts will help you identify potential issues before they arise. Whether it’s tree pruning, tree trimming, or tackling ivy removal in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Tree is here to help you with all your tree service needs.