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Don’t Let Ivy Turn Seattle Into a Ecological Cemetery

Posted by Johnine Larsen on July 6, 2017
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We’re well into yardwork season, and sun-soaked homeowners are planting gardens, landscaping lawns, digging fire pits, and boosting curb appeal. It’s a productive, vitamin-D fueled pastime—with the nice bonus of improving property value. And saving Seattle.

Those summer afternoons matter more than you think. That ivy climbing your shed? Or the ivy lurking in the back yard? It’s bad. Ivy needs to go.

English Ivy is invasive. Invasive like Viking hordes or War of the Worlds aliens. It chokes out other plant life, suffocates trees, and creates breeding grounds for rats. Unchecked ivy can create a monoculture—an “ivy desert”—totally eradicating everything in its way.

KUOW explains more of ivy’s insidious destruction, with the headline: “Rip the ivy out of your yard right now. Seriously.” As an invasive species, the article reports “ivy doesn’t have the environmental checks and balances it has in western Europe where it originated.” It thrives in the Pacific Northwest, and its biggest ally is homeowners.

“It came from our backyards,” the article continues. “It escaped cultivation. In order for us as a city to really get English ivy to become less of a problem, it is definitely going to mean controlling it in our own backyards.”

Back in the day, ivy might have looked good. It reminded settlers of England, and it hearkened back to an older, “proper” lifestyle. Now, though, it just looks environmentally irresponsible.

If you have a list of home improvement projects, “ivy eradication” should be somewhere near the top. We’re enjoying a beautiful summer, and this sort of yard work isn’t just an excuse to be outside—removing ivy helps keep Seattle from turning into an ecological graveyard.