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Cut the ivy at the base. The ivy attached to the tree will then die and will be easier to remove. Any regrowth from the base can be treated with glysophate - avaiable from most stores.
It's purple loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria
Looks like yew. If they were not planted that long ago, I would suspect lack of water as their root run is not established enough - you would need to keep them well watered over the summer and in dry periods.
Definitely not a fremontodendron. Looks more similar to a camellia leaf. A picture of the actual shrub would help a lot.
Looks like an ash tree
I use an empty compost bag turned inside out - they are black on the inside. Most of the big bags reach the length of my troughs. I fold them around at the ends to get a good fit . I usually make some holes about an inch up the sides to allow water to be retained at the bottom. You don't see the black for long as the plants soon cover it.
Looks like Claridge Druce to me but as Nutcutlet says here are so many different variations it is hard to be sure.
I wonder if it is one of the Sorbus family...looks like my whitebeam but I think the leaves are not quite the same...