by Aspect County

This ivy is poison to your building

I know I have covered it before but some people just don’t listen….. Do they? 

The naughty word this autumn a word that makes me wince at the sound is…. IVY!

There is this misinterpretation that ivy makes a building look good, makes it look stately like some manor house cast on the end of a picturesque county field surrounded in grandeur and pomp. Ivy beauty may be in the eye of the beholder and your opinion of ivy may be good, it may be bad but one thing is for certain it is killing your house. 

Grade II Building Tetbury Gloucestershire
This ivy has been left to establish itself very nicely, the edges have been manicured around the windows and the fronts have been cut back in places to give a sort of vertical forest look

You see the ivy does not just hang there by some sort of foliage magic or anti gravitational force it climbs up the building regardless of construction material like some green super hero using the most technical climbing tools know to man. First the shoots make contact with the solid substance your wall, this then allows the second phase to come into play. The ivy roots will change their shape, thus alering them into the perfect arrangement to maximise contact with the wall. 

Grade II Building Henley 1780
I personally cut back this ivy in March of this year. Out of direct sun and loads of moisture has given this plant a great chance to race to the top. Unchecked by the end of the summer it will be at the eves and ready to gain entry to the roof space. First your wall, then the roof space next the world.

Then the ivy excretes a glue, this is a plant remember! The glue then anchors itself to the surface to be climbed, then this is the best part, the glue dries out and this tightens the root to the wall never to be removed. 

Grade II House Ripley Nr Guildford
Once the ivy was removed from this wall it was clear to see that every piece of mortar had been affected and will have to be removed and repaired. The life was sucked out of the beds and the bricks at the top were unstable. Result, big re-pointing job not cheap

The ivy them maximises its attachment to the surface by growing root hairs that make their way into cracks and pulling tight to the wall then allowing the Triffids to climb up to the next level to infinity and beyond. These fixing methods that would put Chris Bonnington to shame are not done yet. Next they suck all the moisture out of the wall and inhibit the natural drying out process and then the first reaction by any unsuspecting lover of Old Buildings is to cut the lowest part of the plant and wait for it to die. The attachment is there, and all the dying in the world won’t pull it off, your wall is scarred. 

So please, pretty please with a cherry on top, if you have ivy anywhere near your lovely old buildings keep it controlled, before it controls you… 

Until next time Love Old Buildings