You can prune back English ivy (Hedera helix) as severely as you need to, or remove it entirely. Ivy can grow up the trunks of trees with little danger of harming them, but it shouldn't be allowed to grow into the branches, where it can wrap around and girdle the stems, or stretch to branch tips, shading out the trees' foliage. You'll probably need to have a professional remove it from the trees if it has climbed too high and grown too thick. You also could saw out a 1-inch slice from the base of the biggest vines and let them die, then remove the vines from the trees as you are able.
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