My son built a new house 2 years ago. The front yard was too steep to
mow, so he spent almost $100,000 having English Ivy planted in the yard.
Spring of last year. The ivy did fair through the summer, but then
appeared to all die during the winter. We were told it would come back
this spring and it did. However about 2 weeks ago almost all of it has
turned yellow and much of it has completely lost it's leaves. We have
done nothing to the ivy to make it do this. He is frantic and thinks he
may have lost $100,000 in landscaping costs. He cannot affort do do any
more landscaping at all now. He called the local garden center and they
told him that it needed water, which I don't see any way that could be
true, we have had lots of rain over the last few weeks, and ivy is
suppose to be drought resistant! Plus it did fine through a minor
drought earlier this year.
Anyone have any idea what the problem might be? There are sections that
are still green, but few and far between.
It would help to know where you are and the conditions where the ivy is
planted -- sun or shade, trees, etc. You will also recall that two weeks
ago much of the central US was in a record-breaking heat wave and ivy
doesn't like sun and heat.
English ivy requires location with little or no sun and doesn't like high
temperatures. I'm able to grow it in central Florida in the shade of oaks
and an understory of azaleas, but it gets watered every day and is heavily
mulched to help keep it cool. Conjecture #1: It might have survived last
summer on its reserves and favorable weather, but be weakened enough by the
summer and then winter dormancy that it couldn't stand this year's heat
wave -- especially if it's been planted in the wrong location. Conjecture
#2. Were any sprays used for pest control during the high heat, either by
the homeowner, neighbor, or local government? Issue #3. $100K for ivy???
That would account for at least two acres of plants -- it's not a good idea
to try to maintain that large an area with a single plant type, because of
the possibility of losing everything due to a single problem -- as appears
to be happening here.
Suggestions: (1) Make sure the ivy is being properly maintained, including
close attention to its shade and watering requirements. If it's out in the
sunlight you may have to have it replaced -- a classic example of not having
the right plant in the right place; (2) Assuming the ivy is in a suitable
position, start planning a replacement program NOW. Get as many small plant
pots (peat pots work very well) as possible and start rooting cuttings from
the ivy that is still viable. (3) Dig up one of the dead ivy plants, root
ball and all, and take it to the extension service (you may have a Master
Gardener program that offers horticultural advice) for their evaluation as
to possible problems (4) Go back to whoever your son paid the $100K to
(that's an incredible figure!) and get them involved. If they took the
money and put the plants in an unsuitable location, consider legal action --
Good luck and regards.
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