Getting at the root of a fast-growing problem

Ivy choking a healthy tree compared to influences that can impede our lives.

I had some uninvited guests visit my back yard last summer. Some small patches of green ivy popped up in the ground cover under the trees. At first I thought they were fitting in well with the other residents, filling in some bare spots and cuddling up to the ferns and hostas. So I just let them stay.

It was mostly green back there  and I had once thought about infusing some colour between the yucca plants but then I decided, with fronds like that, who needs anemones? Nature always seemed to know just what my little jungle needed.

By fall, when everything else was dying off or going dormant for the winter, I noticed my guests were still growing strong and they had even started to work their way up the fir trees. It actually looked pretty, giving my forest an English garden look, and soon my back yard looked more like Oxford or Cambridge than Brookswood.

But it showed no signs of stopping and by spring it was crowding, choking and covering everything and it was now well up into the trees. After some investigation, I found that when this visitor had first appeared I should have said, “Sorry, you’re not welcome here. Move along.”

It seems this particular strain will develop a root system that robs nutrients from the tree roots, it attaches to the tree in such a way that it kills the bark and if it gets to the canopy, it blocks the photosynthetic process and the weight of the vine can bring the dead tree down.

I followed guidelines and donned a dusk mask, goggles and long sleeves and began the task of peeling it off and, on a couple of trees, it came off intact, a huge 50 foot ecosystem. I could almost hear the trees take a deep breath as the foliage fell to the ground. It was a lot of work but if I hadn’t let it go so long, it wouldn’t have been such a big task.

But that’s human nature, isn’t it? We tend to leave things alone until the situation becomes critical. We let depression start around our feet and ignore it until it has covered our entire body,  blocking out the sunshine.

We wait until the vines are squeezing our chests. Then we decide to do something to free up our hearts and lungs. We wait until our abuses or addictions have choked out  and smothered the healthy life around us and then suddenly, we find ourselves starving for light.

The secret I found to rid these vines was to do some digging, and find the root of the problem. Once I had the root firmly in my grasp, if I was careful  I could pull it all away in one piece. In some cases it wasn’t that easy. The invader had to removed bit by bit, in small pieces. But the secret was to not give in to it.

Getting to the root of the problem is where you have to start. It may take getting down on your knees, it may take asking for help, it may mean getting dirty and you might not like what you find down there, but it’s a good place to begin.

Summer is a good time to clean up your garden, your body and your mind. Take a close look at what you’re letting grow in there. At least that’s what McGregor says.

Just Posted

Eight alleged dealers face charges for Surrey-Langley drug ring

Police say the group is linked to the ongoing gang conflicts in Metro Vancouver

Langley’s Grand Prix Gala is right mix of horse, hors d’oeuvres and hats

Annual gala at an equestrian competition raises funds for the Langley School District Foundation.

Generators, security guards brought in to deal with continuing parking lot blackouts at Langley Memorial

The lights in the hospital’s lot were out for several nights in the last week

Langley Child Day aims at improving development of babies, toddlers

Encouraging parental interaction was a theme of the Child Day

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Metro Vancouver mayors ask public to lobby feds for annual $375M transit fund

Mayors renewing their call for transit funding as federal election looms

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

BC Ferries asks boaters to learn signals and be careful around vessels

BC Ferries responded to 15 marine emergencies in 2018

VIDEO: Suspected arson sends five to Abbotsford hospital with smoke inhalation

Man seen throwing flammable substance in van, lighting it on fire next to home

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Mother bear, three cubs relocated from Maple Ridge

Silver Valley residents calling for ‘no-kill’ zone.

Most Read