Every once in a while we spot a building or a home that is nearly covered in ivy growth. These buildings have been a common sight in many parts of America for quite some time. In fact, the term “ivy league” refers to the ivy vines that hug University buildings in the northeastern United States. This form of ivy is known as English ivy. The term is used to refer to a handful of colleges that are known for their academic excellence, but ivy does not just grow to extreme proportions on buildings that are located in New England. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared English ivy to be just as hardy and long lasting as evergreen trees. English ivy can grow one hundred feet in all directions, and many other ivy species follow a similar growth pattern. The question of whether or not ivy-covered buildings are aesthetically pleasing is open to debate, but ivy can definitely cause both structural and environmental damages. Ivy can easily escape cultivation and overwhelm other forms of vegetation, ultimately killing them. Ivy can also grow in between cracks and openings in buildings, resulting in structural problems. The negative consequences that result from ivy growth may be well known to many people, but the vines capacity to attract termites to structures is not so well known.
It is hard to imagine any causal relationship existing between ivy growth and termite damages to buildings and houses. This relationship is especially dubious considering the fact that termites do not feed on ivy. However, ivy vines can act as a bridge between termites on the ground and the wood contained on a home. It is generally recommended that homeowners leave a twelve inch space separating ground soil from the wood on their homes. This is enough space to prevent termites from reaching your home’s wooden components. Unfortunately, termites have no problem traversing long strands of ivy in order to reach a source of wood on a home.
Ivy also holds a lot of water, which moistens wooden paneling located on a home’s exterior. This creates an even greater attraction for termites, as they love waterlogged wood, and they require large amounts of water in order to survive. In addition to these two problems, ivy vines can obscure termite-induced structural damages to a home or building. Termite damage must be noticed early on in an infestation in order to spare serious structural damages. Considering this, ivy only increases the probability that a home will eventually become unlivable as a result of long term termite infestations that thrived unnoticed behind a wall of all encompassing ivy vines.
If you have ivy growing around your home, will you now be more mindful about potential termite issues?