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Old field boundry native hedge/hawthorn with ivy

I own a very long hedge which is the boundary between us and a long narrow shared drive. The hedge was originally a field hedge beside a loke or track. It has trees and loads of flowering ivy in it with some hathorn and other trees. Height 7ft. 

Question is around 50% of the hedge is now ivy which has grown over the hawthorns. The ivy is mature and flowers and provides great privacy in back garden.

Problem is I don't know if I should try and take the ivy out? I have done this in the parts where the hawthorn was visible and not swamped with ivy. This created holes in the hedge base which I have replanted with hawthorn wips and copper beech.

Any advice? I like the evergreen ivy and privacy in the back garden. Should i just take the ivy out where the hawthorn is visible which is mainly in my front garden? Hedge is trimmed neatly.



  • We also have this type of dilemma Rebecca - more ivy than hedge.  Originally there was ivy growing up two sides of the big house here too, but that all fell down one terrible storm in the early 1960's and all that is left now is the stump which is about 1 foot across and at ground level.

    I don't know the answer to your question, but I do know that ivy attracts plenty of wildlife, nesting birds, ivy bees and butterflies. When you remove this you will be are upsetting the balance of nature in your garden for a few years.  However ivy has a tendency to regrow, unless you can dig out all the roots without disturbing the hawthorn and other plants in the hedge.

    A photo of your hedge would be useful for us to comment more fully.

  • I don't really see what you would gain by removing the ivy. Sounds like you like it, and it's an excellent wildlife plant especially when it's in the mature flowering & fruiting stage as you have. It isn't as if you need it to be keeping sheep/cattle in. I expect it's also a lot easier to keep maintained than hawthorn would be.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,333

    I'd keep it. If it's looking like smothering a tree (say) you can cut the stems around the base of the tree trunk and leave it to die back, rather than trying to pull it out and disturbing everything. Cut it with hedge trimmers a couple of times a year to stop it reaching out and galloping across the rest of your garden. But as has been said, it's a great wildlife plant, it sounds like yours is attractive and healthy and doing great service as a visual boundary. Don't convince yourself it has to come out because it's a weed. The hawthorns are as much weed as the ivy. They'll rub along fine together.

    It's not broke - no need to fix it image

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,583

    Another vote for keeping the ivy here.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,314
    Obelixx says:

    Another vote for keeping the ivy here.

    See original post

     Absolutely agree and that was what I was  going to write before I saw Obelixx's post.  Mature ivy is one of the most wildlife friendly plants you can have in your garden.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Thanks everyone. I'll try and post a photo of part of if another day. I notice my neighbour has stripped the ivy out of part of the hedge alongside the rack to his house. He cut it back so hard that side that a section of the hedge died and had to be replanted :'(

  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,578

    The ivy will eventually kill the hawthorn but ivy it's self makes a great hedge you can just add some fencing to keep it upright or as they do here grow it up the wire for putting in reinforced concrete. make a good narrow privacy hedge that doesn't require too much trimming.

  • Excuse dead plants :/. Bins full of ivy.

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