An evergreen woody climber in the Gensing Family, which scrambles over shady ground or clings to walls and trees by roots which can arise at any point on the branches. These roots are for holding on and not for feeding so they do not cause damage to healthy trees. If the pointing in stonework is poor the branches can penetrate it and weaken the structure; some old walls would collapse but for the ivy holding them together. Gutters can be blocked and roof tiles disturbed if the ivy is allowed to reach them, so it should be trimmed back by at least 30cm.
The leaves on the young stems are shiny, dark green with a lobed shape. As the branches mature they become arborial and produce flowering stems with leaves that are oval and pointed.
Seedlings should be uprooted before they can take hold. Any developing plants should be removed from hedges as they will eventually become dominant, the hedging plants will die and collapse. Normally the ivy grows near to the main trunk of shrubs and trees so it does not compete for light, but with a hedge the growth which would naturally be beyond the ivy is removed, so the ivy becomes dominant. On badly affected hedges prune out the Ivy to allow the hedging plants to recover or plant some new ones to fill large gaps.
A systemic herbicide will kill it, eg. Gylphosate, but the glossy leaves are hard to penetrate. Another would be a selective one for brush wood. If the stump cannot be removed it can be treated with a special stump-killer.
Follow these links for further details on Weeds, Weed Removal and Weed Prevention.