Lisa Schade

Broker, BS, CDPE, SFR

Problems with Overgrown Ivy Could Plague Home Sellers

By John Voket


Maybe it looks classy decorating the walls and halls of Ivy League universities, but this creeping decorative plant can wreak havoc, especially when homeowners are trying to get rid of the stuff when preparing their property for sale.

REALTOR® Sarah Snodgrass ( recently posted that there is a dark side to ivy - this stuff is destructive and invasive. For resale, ivy is bad.

Snodgrass says buyers are scared of ivy. They think it will be difficult to maintain or remove, and it just feels like a problem to them.

She suggests if a homeowner is planning to plant ivy - have a plan and be ready to maintain it or consult with a landscaping expert. And she supplies five reasons to avoid english ivy on your house:

  • Ivy scares away home buyers.
  • It is invasive and difficult to control, possibly invading unintended areas and choking out other plants if left unattended.
  • It can creep onto and under things like shutters and trim, windows, painted wood, mortar and siding, potentially causing damage, leaks and rot.
  • It can act as a ladder for bugs, spiders, and termites to enter your house.
  • It is difficult to remove. Pulling it out by hand is labor intensive and potentially dangerous if it has climbed high, but it is an effective and quick removal technique. Chemical herbicides take much longer.

Another site,, says if homeowners want to keep plants healthy and free from disease and insects, it’s extremely important to stop ivy from growing up trees and twining into shrubs.

The site advises homeowners or their landscapers to go around the trunk and cut out a vertical section of ivy about 1-2 feet wide around the entire tree, which will cut all the roots going to the upper section of the ivy.

Then, remove the cut section, but leave the upper ivy until it starts to die - ivy is much easier to remove once it’s dead. Finally, once the dead ivy is gone, remove the still-living ivy from the tree’s base and off any of the tree’s roots that may be exposed above ground.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.