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Ivy aerial roots hairs removal

Hi everyone, I have massive ivy aerial roots on a wall (Common ivy). I am keen to keep the ivy which provides a nice green privacy screen above the wall but these aerial roots are just ugly. They are in particular very “hairy”. Can I safely “shave” these aerial roots to make them look more like tree branches rather than these monstrous alien hairy arms? or will it harm the plant? The hairs that allow the roots to stick to the wall would obviously stay. Thanks!

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  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 2,664
    edited November 2020
    Welcome to the forums!

    Is this what you mean...see link.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=hedera+helix+aerial+root&client=firefox-b-d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj-yM3OrZvtAhXTTcAKHQa7DEwQ_AUoAXoECA8QAw&biw=1280&bih=579

    These are not hairs.
    I think you are talking about the aerial roots down the stem.
    I would not remove them.
    Goodness life is too short to shave the trunk of Hedera helix...common name Ivy.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • thanks, yes this is what I am mean.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 65,514
    Just a heads up ... beware of allowing ivy to grow too tall above the wall ... when unsupported ivy changes it's type of growth and becomes 'arboreal' ... it is at this stage that it flowers and fruits and is of most value to wildlife ... however at this stage it also becomes very heavy, particularly in wind and rain and can tear away from the wall and come crashing down ... in some cases if the wall is not in good repair it can damage the wall as it comes down.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • If the ivy is healthy and growing well you rarely see the aerial roots - the foliage will generally cover it from view.
    The main structure is usually only visible if the plant has been stripped of foliage at some point.
  • Just a heads up ... beware of allowing ivy to grow too tall above the wall ... when unsupported ivy changes it's type of growth and becomes 'arboreal' ... it is at this stage that it flowers and fruits and is of most value to wildlife ... however at this stage it also becomes very heavy, particularly in wind and rain and can tear away from the wall and come crashing down ... in some cases if the wall is not in good repair it can damage the wall as it comes down.  
    Thanks. It's quite clearly the case here. Some of the roots have a 10+cm diameter. I will try to trim it / cut some of the large roots, which may prove challenging as the roots are tightly intertwined. Let's see!
  • If the ivy is healthy and growing well you rarely see the aerial roots - the foliage will generally cover it from view.
    The main structure is usually only visible if the plant has been stripped of foliage at some point.
    thank you. It was trimmed recently, removing some of the foliage but even before, the large roots were clearly visible (and unsightly), especially near the bottom.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 65,514
    Those sound like stems ... not roots. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 2,664
    edited November 2020
    If the ivy is healthy and growing well you rarely see the aerial roots - the foliage will generally cover it from view.
    The main structure is usually only visible if the plant has been stripped of foliage at some point.
    thank you. It was trimmed recently, removing some of the foliage but even before, the large roots were clearly visible (and unsightly), especially near the bottom.
    That is just the nature of the beast.
    Trimming leaves is going to expose stems/branches with the aerial roots on...showing  what you so dislike.
    Think of the bottom branches as being like the trunk of a tree...with no foliage.
    I would suggest you prune the top to encourage more leaves lower down...to hide the bare branches
    Then conceal the bottom trunk/branches with many be a few nice plants in pots placed in front.
    Trimming aerial roots could make matters worse ....Ivy needs and uses these roots to cling to what ever it is climbing up.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 65,514
    I agree with @Silver surfer .

    An alternative course of action would be to replace the ivy with a climber whose appearance you prefer ... but the ivy sounds long established and removing it would be a big job, let alone the length of time needed for another climber to grow to a similar size.

    I recommend learning to love your ivy ... warts   aerial roots and all  :)

    Few climbers are as good for wildlife as the common Hedera Helix  B)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • thank you all. it looks like I will have to learn to love my Ivy as it is indeed. I may hide the worst part with other plants at the bottom as suggested if it doesn't get better. Let's see how it all looks in 6months time!
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