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English Ivy

    Date Posted: Sun, Jun 05 - 1:10 am


  • Hi, I have a question about some plants in my backyard. I think I have some kind of ground ivy, and it has something wrong with it. I'm not sure if it's fungus or insect activity. The leaves have small “bubbles" where the leaves material has ballooned in places. Each bubble is the size of a pea. On the underside of the leaves, inside the bubbles, there are clusters of little white specks. I have pictures, but I'm unable to post them here. What is causing this? Do I need to do anything about it? Will it spread to other plants? Thanks!
  • Answer

  • Hello there, I am making an assumption that you are referring to English ivy. I haven't seen the problem you're describing myself but I found some information on the Virginia Tech website. Again, I based my search for information on the subject being English ivy. If you think it's something else you can try searching for it on this website. There are photos you can refer to when you get the search results. Here is the website address-- --Select Woody Ornamentals for Plant Type and English ivy for Plant Common Name. It should return 2 entries. One will be for Bacterial Leaf Spot and the other will be Anthracnose-a fungus. I hope this helps! Let us know if you have further questions.

Raised beds, native ground cover, bio-diversity, dog-friendly

    Date Posted: Fri, Aug 06 - 8:50 pm


  • Thank you for doing this, first of all! My question is: How do I maintain a yard with raised garden beds, while also allowing natural biodiversity to thrive AND keeping it safe for my 2 small pet dogs to roam in? I am about to move into a place with a beautiful, old mulberry tree and a yard full of both native groundcover and some invasives like English ivy. I want to convert it into a big produce garden to share with my neighbors, and have planned out having 4 raised beds, along with allowing native groundcover to grow between the beds. However, I also want to be mindful of the fact that I need to keep any plants that may harm my dogs away, and keep ticks to a minimum (though I know theyre kinda unavoidable because nature is nature). Whatre your thoughts/suggestions?
  • Answer

  • It sounds like you've got a great plan. Assuming you have the right amount of direct sun, 6 hours or more, you should have a good site for growing vegetables, herbs ,etc. You mention a large mulberry tree, I hope that it doesn't prevent you from getting the right amount of sunshine. Are you planning on building frames for the beds? I find this to be the best method. It helps deter critters (domestic and otherwise), allows for good drainage, and helps keep weeds at bay. Since you already have some native ground cover you could make the most of that by dividing the existing planting and planting the divisions between the beds. I'm not sure what native you have but if it can take some foot traffic that would be the way to go. Dividing is most successful when done in spring or fall. It sounds like you've got a good amount of yard space In addition to the raised beds so for diversity you could add native shrubs and perennials. Blueberries make an excellent edible addition to a shrub planting or border. There are many lovely native shrubs to choose from - summersweet (clethra alnifolia), fothergilla, sweetspire (itea viriginica) - to name a few. Just remember - right place, right plant. Be sure to consider the specific location you are planting in: sunny/shady, moist/ dry, etc. As far as dog-friendly plants go, I would make a list of all the plants -food and ornamental- you're considering and then check the web to see if any pose a danger to dogs. For example, some herbs are a problem for dogs and some are beneficial, so it takes some research. Regarding maintenance, the raised beds will help with this for the vegetables and herbs, and generally, all plantings (shrubs, perennials) are easier to maintain when a good mulch is applied right after planting. Also, close plantings can minimize space for weeds to take over and a mature ground cover pretty much takes care of itself. And lastly, a convenient water source is critical. I think you'll have some fun with this-Good luck!