Boston ivy is a popular choice among many gardeners, but like any plant, it can develop problems. You may find your vines have been infested with spider mites or the dreaded Japanese beetle. Both are always on the lookout for vines to feed on. Another important issue to watch out for is a fungal infestation called Guignardia bidwellii, which may pop up quickly. Overfeeding is a potential issue too, that should be quickly addressed. With the right tactics, all of these common problems with Boston ivy can be corrected. Your plant will then continue to thrive.
4 Things That Could Be Wrong with Your Boston Ivy
Boston ivy is not a high-maintenance vine, but certain issues may affect its health. Be on the lookout for these so you can address them promptly to keep your ivy growing quickly. Below are 4 things that may negatively impact the health of your Boston ivy as well as how to remedy these problems:
In early spring, Japanese beetles start hatching, after which they live for about a month. Even in that short period of time, a swarm of beetles can entirely skeletonize your Boston ivy vine. The most obvious sign of Japanese Beetle infestation is multiple holes in the leaves of your Boston Ivy.
- In only 30 days, Japanese beetles can swarm and kill Boston ivy.
- The biggest sign of a beetle infestation is numerous holes in the leaves.
- These beetle traps are the quickest way to kill Japanese beetles.
- This grub killer is a great way to prevent Japanese beetles from returning in the future.
The two most effective remedies for Japanese beetles are beetle traps and grub killers. Beetle traps placed around your vines quickly trap hundreds of beetles at a time. Another great way to eliminate them entirely is to spread grub killer in advance. Grubs grow up to transform into beetles. By killing grubs, you will kill the immature beetles before any damage is done. Use a grub killer that contains Dylox for best results.
Spider mites often target Boston ivy, particularly in hot, dry climates. The mites are usually red or white in color, and suck the juices from the plant, causing the leaves to develop spots and drop off. They also weaken the vine overall, leaving your Boston ivy susceptible to other pests and diseases.
- Spider mites thrive in dry, hot climates.
- Spider mites damage Boston ivy by sucking the plant’s juices out.
- Leaf spots, followed by dead leaves, are a sure sign of spider mite infestation.
- Use this organic insecticide specifically formulated for spider mites.
Pesticides specifically designed for mites should be your first choice. This is because general insecticides are not always effective against spider mites. This depends on how bad the infestation is. When in doubt, use a formula that targets spider mites specifically.
Guignardia Leaf Spot
Guignardia bidwellii, also called Guignardia leaf spot, is a fungal disease known to attack climbing plants. It is an opportunistic fungus that thrives on the moisture created by Boston ivy’s natural adhesive.
- Guignardia leaf spot ruins Boston ivy’s beautiful appearance.
- Light brown rings with a black border are the easiest way to identify Guignardia infection.
- Spray this fungicide in early Spring to prevent this disease.
Spotted, light brown rings featuring a black border are the most obvious sign of this infection. Holes may also appear in the leaves. This fungus doesn’t kill your vine, but will ruin its beautiful appearance. There are two good ways to head off Guignardia leaf spot: spray the ivy with a fungicide at the beginning of Spring and make sure there is no decaying foliage on the ground around your plants.
Overfeeding is a problem frequently overlooked by gardeners. Naturally, you want your Boston ivy to grow lush and flourish, and the quickest way to do that is to use fertilizer. However, Boston ivy has a tendency to “overeat.” When this happens, your vines become too thick and full.
- Overfed Boston ivy may destroy itself.
- Eliminate fertilizer to remedy this problem.
Too much fertilizer causes your vines to start growing into each other, which ultimately destroys them. They also might try to expand their growth to new places, but these will not usually be the areas you prefer. The quickest and easiest remedy to tone down vines that have become too lush is to eliminate fertilizer use. This almost always remedies the problem.
Why Are Your Boston Ivy Leaves Turning Brown?
If your Boston ivy leaves are turning brown, it’s usually a sign of fungus. The brown spots typically develop in the middle of the infected plant’s leaves. They may even combine to form bigger patches of dead tissue. Tiny black fungus spores may be present as well.
- Brown spots on Boston ivy vines usually indicate a fungal infection.
- Don’t let the leaves get wet when you water your vines.
- Mulch the area around your vines.
- Trim infected leaves immediately.
Trim off infected leaves immediately and spray the vines thoroughly with a copper-based fungicide. When watering your vines, don’t let the leaves get wet. Instead, only water the ground. Mulching around the area where your vines meet the earth can prevent fungus spores from being thrown up during rainstorms.
Why is Your Boston Ivy Wilting?
The primary reason your Boston ivy plant is wilting is a lack of water. This is particularly true if the leaves are also turning brown or yellow. If your vines are exposed to constant sun and hot temperatures, this can also lead to wilting.
- Too much sun and lack of water can cause Boston ivy vines to wilt.
- Quickly revive your dying vines by watering them appropriately.
- Immediately cut back dead foliage to boost normal growth.
Revive your dying plant by giving it appropriate water and fertilizing it, if necessary. Cut back all dry or discolored foliage to promote healthy, green growth.
Boston Ivy Problems You Could Be Facing
Some of the most common problems you could be facing with your Boston ivy plant are:
- Japanese beetles eating Boston ivy leaves in spring.
- Spider mites devouring Boston ivy grown in hot, dry areas.
- Brown leaf spots ringed in black are a sign of fungal infection.
- Too much fertilizer can cause a boom in Boston ivy growth, followed by wilting.
If left unmanaged, each of these can be Boston ivy killers. However, with the right pesticide or fungicide, you can battle back insect invasions and disease. If your Boston ivy was overfertilized, simply stop fertilizing and your plant should rebound.