Is my English Ivy dormant or dead?

Winter was very hard on Ivy!

By: Sandy Feather 2014
Penn State Extension

Long cold winter turned ivy leaves brown..

Q. I have a steep hillside that is planted in English ivy. After this winter, the whole thing looks dead all of the leaves are brown, and I am afraid I have lost all of the ivy. Do you think it is dead, or just damaged from our long, cold winter?

A. Broad-leaved evergreens such as English ivy, rhododendron, mountain laurel and holly took a beating this winter. Drying winter winds draw moisture out of the leaves of these plants, but they cannot take up additional water from frozen soil to make up for the loss. The result is the browning you see now.


English Ivy
English Ivy during the Summer

The good news is that their roots are probably fine, and they should start to put on new growth when temperatures warm up. The bad news is that you should trim out the dead as much as possible; otherwise, the brown leaves will persist until they break down on their own, which will take a while.

Fertilization of English Ivy

Once you clean out the dead leaves, you can make a light application of fertilizer to help the plants on the road to recovery. You can use 10-10-10, Milorganite, or Plant-Tone according to label directions in mid-late May. Be sure to fertilize when the plants are dry so that you can brush off any granules that land on the plants to avoid burning the tender new growth.


Freeze Damage to Plants

Winter garden beauty

Snow melters and deicers


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