Whilst Ivy and other climbing plants form a superb habitat for wildlife throughout the year, and do much to soften the divide between buildings and landscape; they are a costly nuisance to thatched roofs. Also close growing shrubs and small trees, whose young branches will tousle their way through the thatch when the wind is up, leaving a hollow which will slow and gather the rain. A hollow on a roof gathering water will be a weak point, subject to rotting and wearing faster than the rest of the coat work.
Below you can see how the ivy has grown over and into this roof. Removing the ivy must be done with care, teasing out each piece, while keeping pressure on the roof above. The third picture shows what happens if removing the ivy is done with too much enthusiasm…..it will take large parts of the thatch with it!
We cleared the ivy back to about 2 feet from the building and pruned the overhanging branches of the tree back too. Having tidied up the large hole left by someone else’s vigorous endeavours in ivy removal, we could patch from the eaves up, keeping the building dry until it’s re-thatch next year.
It is vital to manage all growth near to your thatched roof, in order to keep it in best condition. Ivy is best pruned back during the Autumn and Winter so as not to disturb the wildlife within it.