Poisoning Poison Ivy

mrs.wiggley(8 Hill Country)May 1, 2014

Hello all. I live in a semi-rural area of the hill country and have some beautiful old live oaks in my yard that are such a godsend, especially in the heat of the summer. Unfortunately I also have a patch of poison ivy underneath them - about 10 x 20 feet. I'm wondering if anyone knows a good safe way to eliminate the poison ivy without endangering the trees? I'm terrified of using chemicals because if anything happened to those grand old trees I don't know what I'd do....besides cry and go into mourning for months. I read the label on one product sold at Home Depot for killing poison ivy and there were all kinds of warnings about getting it on surrounding plants, or it getting into ground water, etc. How difficult and effective would it be to dig it up? Or maybe I could find someone nearby who would lend me a goat to eat it...but I don't know if that would actually kill the roots. Is there something I haven't thought of? Perhaps a more benign product or method? Thanks.

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whitecap

Sounds like a good way to kill a goat.

Poison ivy is notoriously difficult to eradicate. Roundup won't kill the roots. Ortho makes a herbicide tailored to poison ivy. You shouldn't have any problem with spraying the ivy while avoiding any contact with the trees. It's not going to migrate on its own from the ivy to the trees. I would expect repeated applications will be required.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 3:06PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

I've used the Ortho BRUSH-B-GONE poison ivy herbicide spray pretty regularly, to stop new plants from spreading. You just give a quick spray to the leaves. The leaves absorb it, and it kills the plant. It works well. The active ingredient is Triclopyr, which has a lifetime in the environment of a month or so. Nontoxic to bees and fish. It is soluble in water, so you'll want to reapply if it rains.

I wouldn't spray large areas with it, but just target individual plants. In a 10x20 foot area, you should be pretty much rid of it in a year. If you see a new sprout, just give it a spray.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 4:01PM
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mrs.wiggley(8 Hill Country)

Thanks for this advice. I had really hoped someone might know of a chem-free solution to this problem Sounds like it is a gradual process even with chemical sprays....a YEAR! Wow.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:33PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

Well, I should say that it will take a month or two or three for the plants to die completely. You'll see browning leaves in a few days, but it takes a lot longer for the whole plant Including roots) to die. I really meant that it will take most of the summer season. Of course, you could just mow it down and plow it up, but the roots will still be there. Same with goats.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 9:27PM
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weldontx(z 8a TX)

This from Howard Garrett. the organic guru.

"The organiphobes recommend spraying 2,4-D and other toxic herbicides, but that's a very bad idea. Toxic products contaminate the soil, the water, the air, wildlife, pets, you and me. Plus, they don't work very well. Besides being very dangerous toxic chemicals for the soil, water, air and you, it will kill your trees. The Scotts company says to spray Roundup. Roundup is dangerous and doesn't work well on poison ivy.

Poison ivy must be physically removed. Goats will eat it into oblivion for you or you can hire someone to dig it out. As it starts to grow back, the young returning growth can be sprayed with the vinegar-based herbicide. Add one ounce of d-limonene and one teaspoon liquid soap to one gallon of 10% vinegar made from grain alcohol.

The skin rash from poison ivy can be treated with the juice of comfrey. When applied early on, it is quite effective. Poison oak has a more oak-like leaf but has the same properties as poison ivy."

I have used 2-4 D successfully. Would NEVER try digging out the roots.....I don't like to itch!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 9:35PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

Well, sure, 2,4-D is asking for trouble. I've used the Triclopyr, and it works, albeit slowly. Where I spray it, the poison oak goes away and never comes back. It's gone. I never dig. The MSDS suggests that it really isn't anything to worry about.

It would be interesting to hear more about vinegar-based herbicides. I suspect it might kill the greenery well, but the roots? I've seen a recipe for such a herbicide that uses 20% vinegar and lots of salt. That's strong acid! It'll kill anything. Household vinegar is 5% acetic acid. Putting salt on your soil is not too smart either.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 9:50PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

P.S. BTW, vinegar is a mild insecticide, and concentrated acetic acid really isn't nice stuff to get on you. Vinegar is a well known "natural" way to kill bees. Nice, eh? Trouble with "organic gurus" is that they think that anything that grows or is produced naturally by things that grow is somehow better than those evil "chemicals" that don't. They are convinced that things that are "natural" relieve you of the obligation to think about what you're doing.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:41PM
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whitecap

Do the organiphiles suppose that Obama and his regulatory appointees are in thrall to the Gnomes of Monsanto?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:32AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

Just as long as everyone is thinking about what they're doing. I'm not talking about political thinking. In fact, the trouble comes from those who think politically instead of thinking physically, chemically, and biologically. Those who don't do the latter should be doused in vinegar.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:25AM
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mrs.wiggley(8 Hill Country)

Thank you for this info. I'll have to do a little research on
2,4-D , a new one for me.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 8:15PM
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mrs.wiggley(8 Hill Country)

I just want to give an update on my poison ivy. After due deliberation and much consideration I decided I could carefully target just the poison ivy leaves with an Ortho poison ivy killer without it getting into the ground. I began with a small area first and waited to see what would happen. At first I thought perhaps it had no effect at all, but then a few weeks later I noticed that tiny patch I'd sprayed was brown and dead. So I sprayed the rest. It took a lot of patience and a couple of rounds to get it all and is a slow process just as daninthedirt said, but it looks as though it has finally succeeded! So my next step will be removing that patch of dirt and hopefully removing any roots with it and then bring in some fresh dirt. I figure that's the best way to assure I'm removing as much poison residue in the soil as possible. I'll wait awhile before doing this step to give the poison a chance to complete its job on that root system. I, of course did these courses of poison during long stretches of dry weather so it didn't wash off the leaves. Next time this problem arises I'm going to try the vinegar recipe method for comparison. Thanks for all the help and good advice!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:24PM
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lazy_gardens

So my next step will be removing that patch of dirt and hopefully removing any roots with it and then bring in some fresh dirt. I figure that's the best way to assure I'm removing as much poison residue in the soil as possible.

No need to do this ... the soil bacteria will degrade the poison ivy killer.

Carefully - because even dead poison ivy can cause the rash - remove the dead tops of the plants at ground level, bag them and send them out with the trash.

Water that area well and mulch it thickly with something (wood chips? straw? whatever you have that's abundant and cheap). For the next year or two, patrol the area and pull up any new sprouts or give them a squirt of glyophosate.

You are in an area where poison ivy is native and spread by birds. Keep an eye out for it and kill it QUICKLY.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:12PM
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mrs.wiggley(8 Hill Country)

lazygardens. Thanks for the warning. I had no idea 'dead' poison ivy was still dangerous. The place where the poison ivy came up was in between some flat stones I had laid in an attempt to slowly build an outdoor patio so I will need to pick them up anyway (have decided to do something else there). I just figured I go ahead and remove the soil while I was at it, but I like your heavy mulch idea.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 5:39PM
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seamommy(7bTX)

I also live in a rural area and have to battle poison ivy every year. As I weed my flower beds I find little ivy sprouts all the time. I use leather garden gloves and always wash them in hot water and strong detergent afterwards. Its an ongoing battle.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:58PM
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linda_tx8(8)

I don't have poison ivy within my yard, but it's outside the fence on the property. I've been carefully pulling up some that poison ivy lately, since I've had a few rash areas that I'm pretty sure happened after my kitties transferred the oil to my skin. Normally, I don't worry about poison ivy, since I know what areas outside the yard to avoid. It's rare for me to get that from kitties, but it can happen!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:32PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Linda, we built a house on an acre that had lots of poison ivy. Our dogs would run through it and then jump on me. I'd have long streaks of red breakouts down my legs, arms, neck! I wasted no time in getting rid of it. I fought it in my sleep!

What worked for me was to cut it near the ground and apply a drop or two of weed killer full strength to the stump. When the vine died my husband, who wasn't allergic to it, would pull it down and put it in the trash.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:16PM
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