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Old 15-10-2003, 11:23 AM
Big Bill
 
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Default Does ivy harm old houses?

Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc. that
it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.
Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.
Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new to
me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
simply didn't know where to ask.

BB

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Old 15-10-2003, 11:42 AM
Nick Maclaren
 
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Default Does ivy harm old houses?


In article ,
Big Bill writes:
| Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
| loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
| killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
| should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc. that
| it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.

Either can be true :-( Depending on the circumstances, ivy can
either be the thing that is protecting the walls (often by keeping
them dry) or damaging them (often by keeping them damp).

| Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
| cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.

That is a classic solution, and has been used on many building for
many decades with great success.

| Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new to
| me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
| simply didn't know where to ask.

Check behind some of the ivy. If it is dry and firmly attached,
then all is probably well. If it shows signs of long-term damp,
or the ivy is coming off with chunks of the wall, then you need
to deal with it. But DON'T just kill it, let alone pull it off,
unless you are sure the wall can handle it, as considerable care
is needed for some wall types (e.g. clunch or flint).

In difficult cases, or if you have problems (e.g. damp), then
you may need an expert to look at it. Be careful about so-called
experts who react too fast and to one extreme (e.g. "ivy should
never be allowed to grow on buildings").


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
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Old 15-10-2003, 08:12 PM
Jim W
 
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Default Does ivy harm old houses?

Big Bill wrote:

Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc. that
it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.
Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.
Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new to
me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
simply didn't know where to ask.

BB



Don't let it under the tiles.. You are doing the right thing by trimming
at roof level.

Ivy will ususally cause more damage to old soft lime mortar and/or red
victorian brick. If the mortar is modern harder mix then it should
stand ivy OK.. Take a look and inspect. If a lot of house comes away
with it then you may need to look into control and repair further.


This is a good a place as any to ask!-)
//
Jim
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Old 15-10-2003, 10:13 PM
John Rouse
 
Posts: n/a
Default Does ivy harm old houses?

In article , Big Bill
writes
Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc. that
it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.
Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.
Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new to
me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
simply didn't know where to ask.


Houses built before the war are likely to be lime mortar, as cement was
too expensive for normal use, and ivy will penetrate the mortar and
loosen the bricks. I nearly got killed pulling ivy off our garden wall,
about thirty linear feet of wall collapsed when I pulled a strand off
one end and, had I not been nimble on my feet, would have been all over
me.

Jon

--
John Rouse
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Old 15-10-2003, 10:13 PM
Mary Fisher
 
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Default Does ivy harm old houses?




Houses built before the war are likely to be lime mortar,


Not all.

as cement was
too expensive for normal use, and ivy will penetrate the mortar and
loosen the bricks.


Not so in our case. Mind you, come to think of it, when we moved in here in
the early 1960s we re-pointed the house with a mastic sand and linseed oil
mixture which has proved durable, strong, waterproof and everything else one
could wish.

I planted ivy on two corners of our house many years ago.

Recently, after surgery which might have limited my arm movement, I decided
that one day we'd get too old to maintain it (I'd go up a ladder every year
in August and pull off the loose strands, thus keeping it in trim). It was
important to do something about it before we were incapable. It was also
important to keep it from the top of the newly built carport, I couldn't
reach over that.

I pulled off as much as I could then cut it thinner branches with secateurs
then larger ones with croppers and finally cut through the trunk with a saw.
Spouse made large holes in the drive and pulled out as much root as he could
then concreted over the earth.

That was in August this year. So far there has been no re-growth (he did go
quite deep down). There has also - to date - been no ill effect on the
house.

More importantly, there was never any damp caused by the ivy on the house
wall. The ivy leaves shed water well away from the wall, protecting it.

I've noticed that when ancient walls have ivy growing on them it's always
the green-covered parts which stand, the exposed parts disintegrate.

The main problem with ivy on the house was when it got into and behind the
wooden gutters. It blocked the gutters which were inadequate anyway and
overflowed and as the stems grew thicker it prised the guttering away from
the roof tiles.

Ivy growing under and out of the tiles themselves wasn't a problem - for us.
That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be for others.

Mary




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Old 15-10-2003, 10:13 PM
Big Bill
 
Posts: n/a
Default Does ivy harm old houses?

On 15 Oct 2003 10:35:04 GMT, (Nick Maclaren) wrote:


In article ,
Big Bill writes:
| Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
| loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
| killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
| should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc. that
| it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.

Either can be true :-( Depending on the circumstances, ivy can
either be the thing that is protecting the walls (often by keeping
them dry) or damaging them (often by keeping them damp).

| Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
| cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.

That is a classic solution, and has been used on many building for
many decades with great success.

| Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new to
| me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
| simply didn't know where to ask.

Check behind some of the ivy. If it is dry and firmly attached,
then all is probably well. If it shows signs of long-term damp,
or the ivy is coming off with chunks of the wall, then you need
to deal with it. But DON'T just kill it, let alone pull it off,
unless you are sure the wall can handle it, as considerable care
is needed for some wall types (e.g. clunch or flint).

In difficult cases, or if you have problems (e.g. damp), then
you may need an expert to look at it. Be careful about so-called
experts who react too fast and to one extreme (e.g. "ivy should
never be allowed to grow on buildings").


Where might I find a reliable expert? We're talking about a property
located in East Sussex.

BB


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.


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Old 15-10-2003, 11:02 PM
Nick Maclaren
 
Posts: n/a
Default Does ivy harm old houses?

In article ,
John Rouse wrote:

Houses built before the war are likely to be lime mortar, as cement was
too expensive for normal use, and ivy will penetrate the mortar and
loosen the bricks. I nearly got killed pulling ivy off our garden wall,
about thirty linear feet of wall collapsed when I pulled a strand off
one end and, had I not been nimble on my feet, would have been all over
me.


Don't you mean the Great War? Cement mortar was widespread by 1920,
though it was typically a lot weaker than modern hard mortar.

In any case, ivy will only SOMETIMES damage mortar - in other cases,
it may protect it.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
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Old 15-10-2003, 11:02 PM
Nick Maclaren
 
Posts: n/a
Default Does ivy harm old houses?

In article ,
Big Bill wrote:

Where might I find a reliable expert? We're talking about a property
located in East Sussex.


Unfortunately, I can't help :-( Sorry.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.
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Old 16-10-2003, 09:12 AM
JennyC
 
Posts: n/a
Default Does ivy harm old houses?


"Big Bill" wrote in message
...
Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc.

that
it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.
Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.
Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new

to
me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
simply didn't know where to ask.

BB


URG had a huge discussion about this a couple of years ago:
http://www.tmac.clara.co.uk/urgring/faqivy.html

Jenny


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Old 16-10-2003, 01:21 PM
Bry Bry is offline
Registered User
 
First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Sep 2003
Posts: 51
Default Does ivy harm old houses?

Quote:
Originally posted by Big Bill
Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc. that
it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.
Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.
Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new to
me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
simply didn't know where to ask.

BB
Well, I have researched ivy on houses as I live in an old 1871 brownstone covered with ivy and was concerned about dammage. The construction is solid brick walls with sandstone cladding over them, which I expect is softer than your bricks. I can't tell you anything about the mortar, except I doubt it's the original 132 year old stuff. In my case the ivy dates back to the late 70's and is very well established with huge thick woody trunks at the base.

When I asked people about the dangers I was told loads of rubish and half truths. One person told me it would get under the foundation and crack it! Another said it leached the lime out of the mortar and made it turn in to dust, which is not true as the little root-things that make ivy cling to the wall don't asorb water or nutrients in to the vine. All the storys I heard are based on the simple illusion whenever someone pulls down ivy they seem to find the wall is a wreck, but when you actually ask them more it's obvious they never looked behind the ivy in years and actually the wall failed naturally while they couldn't see it. And, further misleading still they only removed the ivy when water started to rise up the plaster and cause big ugly stains inside. I doubt we can blame ivy for someone never checking their wall's condition for years (even decades), that would be better classified as home owner ignorance. One person claimed her walls were ruined when the ivy tendrils (her words, not mine!) burrowed in to the mortar. Her evidence being that there wasn't much mortar left and there were ivy stems between the bricks where mortar should be. She wouldn't make much of a detective, it's more obvious the evergreen ivy hid the failing morter for years as it eroded in the rain, and obviously new growth would fill the gaps over time, and of course the reason why this is what happened would be the total lack of mortar chips around the wall.

Ivy is entirely safe on brick/stone houses, but NEVER let it grow on the roof where it can lift slates causing leaks or even cracks. It should also be trimmed away from gutters as it may block them causing damp problems when water spills down the walls. Oh, and do check every year or two behind it to see the general condition of the walls. And finally, don't let it grow over vents for things like dryers and heating appliances.

Bry


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Old 17-10-2003, 12:12 AM
Big Bill
 
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Default Does ivy harm old houses?

On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 12:19:14 GMT, Bry
wrote:

Big Bill wrote:
*Some say when ivy starts getting invasive, in our case invading the
loft by lifting the tiles, it should be chopped at the roots and
killed. Others say that with a 200 year old property like ours, it
should be left alone as it's probably got in so many cracks etc.
that
it's contributing in a big way towards keeping the house standing.
Myself, I'd be inclined to leave the ivy to grow along the walls but
cut it back periodically so it stops invading the loft space.
Any thoughts or experiences on the subject please? This is all new
to
me. I looked on the gardening forums but there's so many of them I
simply didn't know where to ask.

BB *


Well, I have researched ivy on houses as I live in an old 1871
brownstone covered with ivy and was concerned about dammage. The
construction is solid brick walls with sandstone cladding over them,
which I expect is softer than your bricks. I can't tell you anything
about the mortar, except I doubt it's the original 132 year old stuff.
In my case the ivy dates back to the late 70's and is very well
established with huge thick woody trunks at the base.

When I asked people about the dangers I was told loads of rubish and
half truths. One person told me it would get under the foundation and
crack it! Another said it leached the lime out of the mortar and made
it turn in to dust, which is not true as the little root-things that
make ivy cling to the wall don't asorb water or nutrients in to the
vine. All the storys I heard are based on the simple illusion whenever
someone pulls down ivy they seem to find the wall is a wreck, but when
you actually ask them more it's obvious they never looked behind the
ivy in years and actually the wall failed naturally while they couldn't
see it. And, further misleading still they only removed the ivy when
water started to rise up the plaster and cause big ugly stains inside.
I doubt we can blame ivy for someone never checking their wall's
condition for years (even decades), that would be better classified as
home owner ignorance. One person claimed her walls were ruined when the
ivy tendrils (her words, not mine!) burrowed in to the mortar. Her
evidence being that there wasn't much mortar left and there were ivy
stems between the bricks where mortar should be. She wouldn't make much
of a detective, it's more obvious the evergreen ivy hid the failing
morter for years as it eroded in the rain, and obviously new growth
would fill the gaps over time, and of course the reason why this is
what happened would be the total lack of mortar chips around the wall.

Ivy is entirely safe on brick/stone houses, but NEVER let it grow on
the roof where it can lift slates causing leaks or even cracks. It
should also be trimmed away from gutters as it may block them causing
damp problems when water spills down the walls. Oh, and do check every
year or two behind it to see the general condition of the walls. And
finally, don't let it grow over vents for things like dryers and
heating appliances.

Bry


Ta Bry. It seems that the ivy has already been chopped off at root
level, I only found this out today. The firm doing it have a very good
reputation though apparently so I'm hoping for the best.

BB


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