LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- THV's lifestyle guru Chris Olsen with Botanica Gardens has some tips to help take care of destructive ivy and how to give your child's new teacher a back-to-school gift.

Destructive Ivy

Slowly but surely both the tree and the building will be sorry they couldn't move to get out of the way of English ivy. Ivy won't pull off tree bark unless you try to remove it by brute force, but as it spreads upward and throughout the canopy, it shades out the tree's inner leaves. None of those leaves are there just for decoration-the tree needs all the food they can make. A trunk covered by ivy can also make it hard to see structural damage from other sources. It isn't that ivy attacks in the way that twining vines can strangle a tree, ivy does its damage inadvertently.

We may think ivy is beautiful on buildings, but the ivy League grounds and buildings managers at Harvard and Yale agree it's a problem. Ivy grows small rootlets, called holdfasts, which make a glue that dissolves some of the mortar between the bricks. Worse, the ivy traps moisture, dust, and debris next to the building. Between acid rain and the decomposition of the debris, the acidity next to the building increases. That causes further damage to mortar eventually need repointing (replacing worn mortar). Ivy makes it happen sooner.

Boston ivy because it was used to cover Harvard's brick buildings, is a least deciduous. In the winter, snow and ice are able to drop off and the walls are able to dry out. But because English ivy is evergreen, in never takes a break.

Teacher's Pet

Back-to-School Teacher Gift:

Summer is winding down, and it's back to school! It is also a great time to surprise your new teacher with a special gift! Give your teacher a decoupage terracotta pot wrapped in dictionary paper. Copy dictionary pages with words like teacher, education, school, etc. Next, decoupage the copied dictionary pages onto the terracotta pot using a paintbrush and Mod Podge. Cover the entire terracotta pot with the copied dictionary pages. Fill the new decoupage pot with a plant or your teacher's favorite snacks. Attach a sign or card that reads "Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that will grow forever!" This great gift will make your teacher's day!


-Terracotta pot
-Copied dictionary paper
-Mod Podge
-paint brush
-Plant or teacher's favorite snacks
-Sign that reads "Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that will grow forever!"

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