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9/8/2017- English Ivy

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

One of the most favorable indoor and outdoor plants is ivy. Most gardeners and interior designers love the way ivy looks around a door way or makes a side table “pop”. Little do they know, ivy (especially English ivy) is a very invasive species that can get out of control if not managed properly.

Hedera helix or English ivy is a very woody vine that is aesthetically pleasing, regardless of its invasive habits. The vine is part of the evergreen family that can reach heights of 90 feet by wrapping and maneuvering its way around tree trunks or along the ground. The shape of the leaf as well as the color pattern makes this species very desirable. It is usually a leaf with three to five points and white or cream colored veins. The fruit of English ivy is a purple colored berry but it is very toxic to humans and can trigger some allergies in some humans. The vine fruits from October to May. The fruit clusters are pale green in late summer but then turn a dark purple color during winter and spring. Aside from just in the plant section of Home Depot, this particular species can be found throughout the country. English Ivy thrives in forests that are fairly open and not too moist (although it has proven to be quite tolerant to most moisture and soil types). English Ivy DOES NOT do well in wet areas. The ivy prefers to grow in shaded areas as a juvenile, but becomes more tolerant to full sun as it matures. Once the ivy is established, it grows vigorously. The more sunlight the vine receives the more fruits and flowers the vine will produce. English Ivy especially serves as a host for bacteria that can cause diseases in oaks, elms, and maples. Of these diseases, leaf scorch is the most common. Like most invasive species, animal dispersed seeds and vigorous spreading are the number one causes of establishment. The use of this invasive species has varied very little since it was brought over from England and Asia during the 1800s.

While English Ivy may appear harmless and beautiful, it is actually very harmful to native vegetation. The dense infestations choke out other native plants that help the ecosystem and replenish the soil. Don’t be fooled by the beauty of English Ivy, it will only cause havoc to your native vegetation and your pocket book!

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as a member of the TrueSouth team contributing wildlife blog articles!

My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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