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Arlington County Civic Federation

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Resolution of the Arlington County Civic Federation

Adopted December 3, 2002

Classification of English Ivy as a Noxious Weed

Whereas English Ivy (Hedera helix L.*), a woody, evergreen vine that grows rapidly with roots along the stem allowing it to climb and cling, is long-lived and is not native to Virginia; and Whereas English Ivy is not a major food source and is in fact toxic in all its parts to human and most animal species and does not provide either food or habitat for desirable native wildlife; and

Whereas English Ivy's shallow root system does not stabilize slopes or stop erosion because it prevents root mass diversity, ponds water and thus makes the top layer heavier and more likely to slide; and furthermore, English Ivy kills or inhibits the growth of trees on which it grows by limiting the trees' ability to produce food through photosynthesis, competing for limited water and nutrients, covering bark and thus depriving the trunk of normal contact with air and beneficial micro-organisms, and adding weight to the tree through its high water content and ability to hold water, ice, and snow which can cause premature toppling and breakage, covers the apical stem and causes the tree to react as if it has been topped, and supplants the deciduous plants which have a growth and decay cycle that replenishes the nutrients in the soil, further depriving the tree of food; and

Whereas English ivy adversely affects stream areas by suppressing native plants, increasing erosion, increasing sedimentation, reducing water quality necessary to aquatic life, increasing water temperatures and thus diminishing the oxygen levels of water, and decreases beneficial streamside vegetation suitable to terrestrial and aquatic wildlife;

Whereas English Ivy's growth characteristics (i.e., thick mat, nearly impenetrable layers of inter-twined vines) provide refuge for vermin, especially rats who are protected from predators in the dense growth; and furthermore, its vine and root growth pattern tends to make shallow pools of water on the ground which are ideal breeding places for mosquitoes; and

Whereas English Ivy can cause damage to structure, particularly weakened mortar and through accelerating rot in wood;

Whereas mature English Ivy produces seeds which cause the plants to spread inadvertently to unwanted places like natural areas and forests;

Be it resolved, by the Arlington County Civic Federation that the Arlington County Board is strongly encouraged to add to its legislative package a request that English Ivy is declared a noxious weed in Arlington under Virginia's Noxious Weed Law (Section 3.1-296.11); and

Further, Arlington County resources continue to be used and be increased to eradicate large English Ivy infestations on publicly held land; and

Further, Arlington County resources be increased for the purpose of educating property owners on the invasive and destructive nature of English Ivy with a goal of the cooperative eradication of this species of weed on private property.

And further, the Civic Federation encourages the County to consider whether similar action might be required for other species of invasive plants.

*[Kingdom Plantae; Subkingdom Tracheobionta; Superdivision Spermatophyta; Division Magnoliophyta; Class Mangoliopsida; Subclass Rosidae; Order; Apiales; Family Araliaceae; Genus Hedera L., Species Hedera helix L.)

Resolution #2002-12-03

This page was last revised on: December 27, 2003.
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