When one thinks of of old homes with ivy the first thing that comes to mind is character and charm. Many folks love the old school charm of ivy growing on their homes walls but can this ivy cause long term damage? The following blog post will examine what Ivy is and how it may affect your property.
Common Types of Wall Ivy
English Ivy- This iconic Ivy is seen on office buildings, Universities and Victorian homes. If left unchecked English Ivy can grow to over 100 feet in length. English Ivy does does best in shady locations. Be sure the soil well drained.
Boston Ivy-As the name describes Boston Ivy is common in North East America mainly New England. Boston Ivy does well in part shade and sunny locations in well drained soil. Typically the vines can grow up to 50 feet.
Virginia Creeper- Virginia Creeper is a hardy wall vine that flourishes in dry or wet soils. It can also be planted in full sun or full shade making this Ivy an excellent choice for most homes. In the fall the vine turns beautiful colours.
Climbing Honeysuckle- This is a fast growing vine that likes moist soils. It is also referred to a trumpet honeysuckle. It will grow up 20 feet. Birds are attracted to this popular ivy.
Will Ivy Damage The Brick, Siding or Stucco On my House?
Ivy will cause the least amount of damage to newer brick homes. The quality of mortar on older homes was softer so ivy could work its way into the mortar causing cracks and damage. The cement in newer brick homes will help prevent this from happening.
Ivy should be avoided on wood or vinyl siding homes. The vines will grown under the siding causing the siding material to pull away from the house causing damage.
Ivy and stucco are not a good mix. As the ivy grows it will penetrate the stucco, this will cause pieces of stucco to come away from the wall.
Benefits of Ivy on Your Home
Ivy offers a small amount insulating value by keeping walls cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter. Many people like the esthetic beauty of ivy growing on an old brick home. Ivy on walls may attract a variety of birds, this affords them a place to roost. Ivy can also cover an unsightly wall.
How To Care For Wall Ivy
Wall Ivy is easy to maintain. Once the plant takes root the tendrils wil anchor to wall while the outer vines will produce foliage. They grow so fast, some parts of the country consider Ivy to be an invasive species. It is recommended to inspect the wall regularly for any damage the ivy may be causing. Check for loose bricks or crumbling mortar.
Removing Ivy From Wall
You may come to the conclusion it is time for the ivy to go. Here are some tips on how to remove the ivy without causing unnecessary damage to the wall.
Gently pry the ivy from the wall first
Scrape any leftover roots that are left behind
Scrub any leftover tendrils away with soapy water
If all else fails you can use a torch, this will run the risk of your scorching the brick however.
Here's a great video on how to remove Ivy from a wall
If your home has wall ivy you may want to have it inspected to be sure there is now unwanted damage to the walls. Solid Ground Inspections Inc. is a certified inspection company serving Barrie, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and all of Simcoe County.