Ask SAM added to shell 110518

Q: I have several oak trees with dense ivy growing up the trunk. Should I leave it alone or cut the ivy and let it die?


Answer: Both Derek Morris and Leslie Peck with N.C. Cooperative Extension recommended cutting it.

“The ivy growing on the tree will compete with the tree for resources like sunlight and water, which is bad for the tree’s health,” Peck said. “Ivy is considered an invasive species and will invade woodlands and other areas. When growing up a tree, the ivy can flower and produce fruit and seeds, which helps it spread to other unwanted areas. Cutting the vines at the base is a good strategy for removing them from the trees. If it is difficult to remove the living stems, wait for them to die and dry out, then remove them from the trees as you are able.”

Morris added that it is important not to allow the ivy to grow up into the tree canopy, as it can damage or kill the tree over time.

Q: What can I do to stop unwanted mail? We get tons of junk mail daily.


Answer: The U.S. Postal Service recommends contacting individual businesses directly to request being removed from their mailing lists.

The Federal Trade Commission also refers residents to the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. You can opt out of mail from the Direct Marketing Association by visiting and signing up for a 10-year registration for a processing fee of $2. If you don’t have internet access, you can mail a request with a $3 processing fee (check or money order) to: DMA Choice Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 900, Cos Cob, CT 06807. The website also has an email opt-out service.

The service lets customers opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies, but companies that are not part of the association must be contacted individually. Opting out through the service should keep customers from getting mail from companies that are members of the association for five years.

Also, you can sign up for a free account at Catalog Choice to opt out of many mailings at

Q: I saw the SAM answer about Lewisville Middle School, but what about Ashley Elementary? It also needs a new school and now.


Answer: According to Brent Campbell, a spokesman for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system, the design of a new Ashley was part of the same 2016 bond referendum package discussed in the previous answer for Lewisville Middle.

“While the two projects are part of the overall bond package, they are not otherwise connected,” Campbell said in an email response to SAM.

“Through a series of community meetings, stakeholder meetings, and surveys, the bond package and timeline for the many projects included in it was developed and approved. The overwhelming feeling by voters and those who helped plan the bond timeline and funding package was the need for a middle school to help with overcrowding had, at the time, higher priority than a new Ashley. The district did spend $1.5 million working on renovations to Ashley last summer,” Campbell said.

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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