No reprieve Posted on May 18, 2009

It has taken me many years of patiently peeling ivy from my trees to discover the best way to do it. The obvious way, prising part of the woody stem from the bark and pulling, only results in broken ivy and the chore of chipping off the fragments.

The technique: detach just enough of the ivy to get your hand round it (or for young stems your fingers) and pull it upwards, (or downwards), parallel to the tree. The little pads it uses to cling with can resist an outward pull, but not a pull in the direction they are growing, or have grown.

Spring, while they are growing, is the time to do it. Let no one persuade you ivy is good for trees, or looks anything but slovenly on them.

Hugh’s Gardening Books


Trees was first published in 1973 as The International Book of Trees, two years after The World Atlas of Wine….

Hugh’s Wine Books

Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book

I wrote my first Pocket Wine Book in 1977, was quite surprised to be asked to revise it in 1978,…

Friends of Trad

John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary