STEILACOOM – The rain showers on Sunday didn’t dampen the spirits of the 18 volunteers who made quick work of removing ivy towering high overhead in the cherished Steilacoom Tunnel of Trees along Steilacoom Blvd.
European colonists introduced English ivy as early as 1727. In the Pacific Northwest, English ivy is an aggressive invader that threatens native vegetation in forested and open areas, growing along the ground as well as into the forest canopy.
There are many reasons to remove ivy growing up into trees. Ivy can strangle trees if allowed to climb up the trunk. Once it is in the tree canopy, ivy reduces sunlight to the trees’ leaves, thereby impeding photosynthesis and retarding tree growth. Dense ivy cover deprives the tree’s bark of normal contact with air and microorganisms and competes with the tree for nutrients and water. By holding moisture close to the tree trunk, ivy can accelerate tree rot. The added weight to the tree can cause them to topple during storms.
“It is really nice to see the young people participate,” observed Billie Blattler, who manned the sign in and refreshment table. Boy Scouts Andrew Rieper and Zach Koivisto, from local Troop 71, brought youthful energy and enthusiasm to the event.
Having given the trees a new lease on life, the volunteers will now enjoy watching the remaining ivy in the trees shrivel away.