Ivy, Creeping Vines and Trees

Although some vines do not leave marks on masonry, trees or vines on or around a building should be removed. Trees offer many environmental benefits to masonry buildings, particularly their ability to shade a building in the summer and reduce heat gain. However, tree roots will damage foundation walls and vines will grow into mortar joints in search of water. Paint, vinyl siding or any other material that obstructs one’s ability to visually inspect a building for cracks or animal nests should be avoided. Plus, bricks are beautiful in and of themselves. If you must have vines over a brick wall, one solution is to build movable trellis panels that can by pulled away from the brick wall periodically.

To avoid problems with plant growth but still benefit from the beauty and the energy savings of shade trees, keep plants at least 2 feet from foundation walls and trees at least 15 feet from foundation walls. Avoid all kind of ivy on masonry because it damages mortar while looking for water and will tend to leave small nubs on the masonry that are extremely difficult to remove.

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