A wildlife charity in the island is warning against misinformation about ivy.

Net Zero Matrix, a local net zero non-governmental organisation, has advised removing ivy from trees. Manx Wildlife Trust says it was part of a list of 10 things people can do to help the island achieve net zero.

Andree Dubbeldam, conservation officer at MWT, said: ‘It advocated that a mass removal of ivy from trees, even engaging schools, is the mission.

‘MWT wanted to put record straight and say that, rather than killing trees, ivy somewhat increases the carbon on a tree and does not kill them.

‘More importantly, ivy is really important for biodiversity.

‘They are the main late nectar source for over-wintering queen bumble bees, they are critical winter shelter for invertebrates and small birds (wrens, robins), and they their high calorie berries bridge the gap between the autumn berry crop and the spring insect emergence.’

At the trust’s Hairpin Woodland Park, the charity has seen ‘many lots of trees that have had ivy killed by ivy vigilantes’, he says.

‘They do not just do this near the entrance of the site, but will be busy in remote areas too,’ Mr Dubbeldam added.

‘They are well meaning, but very misinformed and will be causing significant damage to wildlife habitat.’

In areas of planted conifer trees, the ivy growing on the trees is often the only wildlife habitat as the conifer trees themselves support very little.

‘MWT also sees ivy removed from trees among hedgerows all around the island.

The conservation officer said: ‘The misconception that ivy damages trees is very pervasive, and despite lots of freely available evidence of the benign value of ivy, this essential wild plant is still the subject of hatred.’

He explained that there seems to be more ivy on trees due to the effects of ash dieback.

Ash dieback is a disease that is killing a number of trees in the island and as they die off, more light reaches beneath the canopy.

This leads to more ivy growing as dying trees tend to be prime areas for it.