eradicating poison oak

heidi_va(z7 VA)April 9, 2007

HELP! My husband and I moved into a new home last fall that the previous owners did absolutely no work to the landscaping. Because of this, the entire back yard and part of the front lawn has been taken over by poison oak. My husband cut down the vines last fall (and got a bad case of poison oak rash in the process). Now that spring has sprung, the vines are coming back. I've been pulling them out by the roots but there is no way I'm going to win this war doing that with the abundance of the stuff. Does anyone out there have a home remedy to get rid of the stuff??? I'm ready to buy contractor size amounts of round-up but would like to plant other things where it is and would hate to put that amount of chemicals into the ground. Any help would be appreciated!

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Where the vines are thick, cut the vine, and then paint the remaining stump with full strength round-up. For the small stuff, either hand-pull, or use something like round-up that only kill stuff that it hits. You're probably less likely to do long-term damage this way. Don't plant anything until you're reasonably sure that there are no baby nasties growing; it makes it incredibly hard to remove them when they're mixed in with good plants that you want to keep.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 3:52PM
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heidi_va(z7 VA)

Thanks Suja,
I have never seen so much of the stuff in my life! We have a 1/2 acre of land and every fence surrounding it is covered and the surrounding ground is covered as well. It's going to take forever to pull the stuff, but my husband has at least tackled the large amounts. Since I'm not allergic to the stuff (or very lucky) I'm in charge of erradicating the stuff now that it's a little under control. The area that we are trying to get rid of it is our back yard which should be a lawn once the vines are gone. How long before the areas treated with Round-up will be able to be planted and grow? I've never used the stuff...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 7:32AM
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I'd recommend Brush-B-Gone for poison oak and poison ivy. None us want to use chemicals in our yards, but this one will work the first time. I had success with it on poison ivy in my yard 5 years ago, and nothing has come back.

Even thought you're not allergic,(yet), I hope you are using gloves, covering your arms and washing up carefully after your outings :-)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 8:05AM
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heidi_va(z7 VA)

ABSOLUTELY! I won't even let my dog come play with me in the stuff since I'm so worried the ivy might get on her and transfer to my husband who seems to be a magnet for it. Thanks for the suggestion. I couldn't believe the state of the yard when we bought it. I've never seen poison ivy growing in a front yard before! The people we bought the house from probably sold it because of the work outside that was going untouched! The good news was that under all the poison oak were lots of unused 6x6's I can use for my raised garden beds!!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 10:27AM
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crabjoe(z7 MD)

I'm not sure if my trick worked but last year I was fighting Poison Oak. I 1st strayed it with Weed-B-Gone in mid summer because I didn't want to kill the grass. It looked to have worked on most of it. What came back up, I used Roundup.

Last month, I went out to clear the, hopefully, dead vines that were hanging. Most all seems completely dried out and dead. Now, I'm waiting for the weather to warm up to see if any comes back.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that I won't have to deal with any of it this year.

BTW, some of the vines were almost as thick as my wrist!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 4:42PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

My house had poison ivy growing up through the shrubs onto the roof. I thought I had these great, weeping trees along the fence line, but that turned out to be huge vines that grew up the fence poses so tall they wept down. An Oak tree at the front had vines thicker than my husband's thigh, which he hacked with a chain saw. I swear the stuff lives on air.

However, perseverence and Round-Up, pulling out the roots of everything I could has kept it at bay. I get it from the dirt the roots were in, so here's something for your husband that has helped me stave off more steroid-resistant episodes. That stuff burns my skin to the point the dermatologist thought I'd been scaled.

If I know I'm going into the ivy, I take Dawn dishwashing liquid and rub it into my skin. Dawn isn't just soap, it's a degreaser and poison ivy and oak are oils.

When I know I've been in poison ivy, like when I mow and the grass blows down my shirt and I get poison ivy down my torso, grinding it into my butt as I ride 3 hours on the lawn mower? I come in and rub Lava, Lever, or Dawn all over myself. I wait a few minutes then shower.

If I do this within the hour, no ivy. If I wait until I get off the mower? Trouble. That's why rub degreasing soap all over me before I get on the mower.

All the other sure-fire remedies were hoo-ha. Oh - there is one thing that I found that works later and gets rid of the darned itch. I can't think of it, but it's something like Xantec, Xanex, Xtec or something. It is granulated, so when you're itching, rubbing that stuff on yourself is almost, ah, well, you should get a room.

But have him try the soap. Don't be stingy and just get used to feeling weird. It's worth it not to suffer through that God-awful itch and burn.

Welcome to Maryland. Did you know the English imported it and Briar rose? They also used to grow it in their gardens, where women gardening would get it, but since it didn't appear until later, the doctors put it off to "having the vapors." Just some of the many fun facts I've learned about that horror.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 4:55PM
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The cream you are thinking of is called Xanfel. You can get it at Longs. It is expensive ($20 for a small tube), but it is absolutely amazing.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 1:16AM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

It's $39.00 around here and worth every, stinkin' penny.

I was rereading this thread and agree completely on the Brush-B-Gone. Round-Up is for foliage. Brush-B-Gone works on the woody stems of, well, Brush! The thick stems of the ivies fall into that category. So paint it liberally up and down the stems. Then, have a squirter or something handy for the resiliant roots that will pop up leaves.

I, like Cynthia, have been diligent in watching for ivy. I launched a campaign in 2003 to get rid of it. I was pretty successful, but even this week I found where it was popping up under a plant I was weeding. I'd rather put my hand on a slug or into a snake's mouth that touch that stuff.

Anyway, I hope you're having success and your husband is well coated with soap!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:29AM
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Lot's of good info above. Both Roundup (glyphosate) and Brush-B-Gone (triclopr) are good to use. Combining the highest concentrate of Roundup (18%), you can find 40+% sometimes at Ag stores and triclopr will usually dispatch the poison ivy/oak in a single application. Here's the real trick ... first spray the poison ivy/oak with a water soluable fert like Miracle Grow. Then come back 3 days later and use your solution of Roundup and Brush-B-gone. The hotter the day the better ... dead to the roots in no time. If you have a lawn that has a lot of poison ivy and oak the you may want to do this in the fall (august) and do a complete renovation with seeding etal in September. The Roundup (glyphosate) will not translocate and the triclopr will become inorganic within 10-14 days at the most.

Good luck!!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 4:02PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

It was also my understanding that essentially, if it rains, it's dissolved into the ground.

I actually spilled a 4 gallon container (my pull-sprayer) on a great part of my lawn. I freaked, then got the hose and watered, watered, watered. I didn't lose any grass. Or weeds.

Something else I learned. If you want Round-up or Brush-b-Gone to work on slick surfaced leaves such as ivy or that awful, prickly runner vine that takes over trees? And oiled surfaces such as PI, of course? You put a few squirts of a degreasing liquid detergent into the mix. It causes it to stick to the slick leaves and etches through the oil on the greasy ones, to stay on the surface longer and to get to the surface more quickly, respectively.

Round-Up is my friend.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 8:37AM
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so, once the R-Up has killed the PI, what/how does one get rid of the dead branches, etc without exposing sensitive skin to the residual oils.. I am conquering a new bed area this year and there is enough PI to be of concern.. The R-Up is doing a great job... but...

thanks for any suggestions,

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:36AM
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>> I actually spilled a 4 gallon container (my pull-sprayer) on a great part of my lawn. I freaked, then got the hose and watered, watered, watered. I didn't lose any grass. Or weeds. Round-up package mentions its good to go even with rain after 2hrs. So your flooding the area to disperse the chemical seemed to work. Good for you!

Your correct about the dish soap. It's called a surfactant/sticker that is especially good for glossy leaves as you mentioned.

As for glasslady21102 ... >> what/how does one get rid of the dead branches, etc without exposing sensitive skin to the residual oils. Bob

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 10:08AM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Technu? eh.
Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. [LOL]

yes, glasslady21102. Or you can bury them Lasagna gardening style. They do decompose...


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 7:19PM
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I spent many years dealing with poison ivy. I found that Technu worked as well as Zanfel on me - at a much cheaper price. I also learned when to admit defeat and go to the doctor when I had a bad case of it.

Also, Ivy Block Lotion, applied before getting into the ivy patch, will protect you. No matter how careful I was, I used to get PI on my wrists where my gloves stopped.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 9:45AM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

You're lucky, graywings.
My first bout with PI was so bad it was steroid resistant, but shots and pills.
I ended up on tranquilizers and treatment for 3rd degree burns. People don't realize PI Urshiol is a chemical, which causes chemical burns. Hence the blistering.

I'm just glad in the areas in which I work, at least, are pretty clear.



    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 2:42PM
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I'm a new member and live in Balto County on 1.3 acres, about 1/4 - 1/3 wooded. I picked my screen name because that's what I feel like, trying to eradicate Tree of Heaven and PI from my woods. A couple questions I thought I would throw out...

1. My PI is mostly young because of my earlier work. Big leaves and skinny little vines. If RU works on the leaves and BBG works on the stems, aren't I better off using RU for younger plants? I know there are differing opinions on the best treatment, but I'm thinking the age and stem size might enter into the decision making process.

2. These chemicals are supposedly broken down by water. What happens when concentrate is mixed in water and then sits?

3. Among a couple sprayers, I use a white semi-translucent sprayer. Somewhere in my net wanderings, I read that BBG (Triclopyr), I think, has a

I'm wondering about that in relation to my white somewhat translucent sprayer. Could be wasting my time after it sits around for awhile, especially in sunlight. IOW, I'm trying to fine tune my handling, storage and usage. I don't see that discussed in the threads I read here, nor is the label a lot of help.

I did my previous spraying with Spectracide Brush Killer, which I no longer see at Home Depot. So I got the Ortho. It's too soon to see how this year's spraying went, but after about 5-7 days, I wasn't greatly impressed, which is why I'm thinking about trying RU.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 11:56AM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

1) yes, exactly. You are correct. The stems aren't woody yet.

2) so far, for me, nothing. However, if I end up overwintering some, I just add some fresh RU to the mix rather than wasting it.

3) I don't know if it breaks down if it's left in the sun, though. I keep min in the dark garage, just in case. So far, in the same season, I"m fine.

The thing is, don't give up. I swear by RU, simply because it's worked for me so well. I do know you need to keep it away from wet areas, because reptiles and amphibians die from it. You wouldn't want to kill off your turtles, snakes or frogs!

Good luck. Hang in there. It'll become so sparse that you will spot a new sprout immediately, become enraged, and murder it appropriately. Plantacide is approprite in these instances!!


    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 9:45AM
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