Getting RID of Poison Ivy

catherineOHMay 30, 2002

How do you KILL the stuff?! At the rear of our property we have woods. It is full of poison ivy. So, every time I mow the lawn, I am coming in contact with the stuff. Several weeks ago I became very ill--lost my voice and ended up with a very nasty deep chest cough--and the only thing I can figure is that I inhaled pioson ivy when I mowed. I am just wanting to kill the poison ivy at the edge of the woods. What works? I don't plan on doing anything once it is dead, since I won't have to mow it. What is safe to use around song birds?

By the way, thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!! to the person who suggested using hot water on the poison ivy rash. It works!!! My second and third rashes were not nearly as bad and cleared up much sooner than the first. Don't ask me how I keep getting it. I do that part of the yard last, then strip, shower, put the clothes in the washer, then rewash my arms very well.

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I am batteling the same thing our County extention agent suggested "Round-Up, Round-Up, and more Round-Up! I have it in several spots, some grouing in wild Blackberrie Bushes.
I have had success killing the Poison Ivy by spraying about once a week. It takes a while but it is killing it.
I'd be interested to see if anyone else has different idea!
Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 6:51AM
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Deb_NJ(z7 NJ)

Hey Catherine, I have had poison ivy off and on all summer, because I am so determined to get rid of the stuff. What's here has been growing for years, with long, hairy roots, so I keep going to battle against it.

Right now my arms from wrist to elbow are covered with poison ivy. Don't know if I was the one who told you about the hot water treatment, because I read it myself in another post, but I know I passed it along to someone, because it really does help. Try Fels Naptha soap, which is an old laundry soap that you can buy at the supermarket (not the drug store, at least not here).

This time, though, I went to battle against the poison ivy for three days straight, knowing at the end I would need to have steroids prescribed. I know what you mean about your throat. I didn't lost my voice but could feel my throat swell up.

From now on I will spray religiously with Round-Up as a means of control. I do not recommend what I have been doing to anyone. I'd just heard some devastating news about one of my closest relatives, so I think I put some of my rage against fate into my battle against the woodlands. Still the strip of woods at the back of our house is now much more inviting. I cleared out the scrubbiest old trees and "heightened the canopy" considerably. A lot more sun is getting through, and the birds and squirrels that frequent our birdfeeder are fun to watch as they fly through the woods.

So good luck with your battle against poison ivy. There was one little strip I did not have time to get to, so I am planning to use Round Up on that. Time will tell if all-out battle was really necessary. I felt like a pioneer! Deb

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 6:58AM
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riotofcolor(5b/6a IL)

Yes, round-up though be careful how you use it (it can kill everything in sight if you're not careful). Pull up the little baby plants (use gloves, maybe double gloves!) as soon as you see them. You'll probably never eradicate it but you can control it. If you have major vines, as I have, cut them in several places (and then clean your pruner with pure rubbing alcohol or something else like it) and keep at it. Your reaction in fact does sound like you inhaled mature p.i. I cut it all the time myself while mowing, but they're baby plants so I haven't had your reaction. Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 11:11PM
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I heard that there is a new product like round up except it is specifically formulated to kill PI. I am not a big fan of round up...but I would consider using this stuff. I would check with a co-op or extension agent about this product. Personally, I don't get a reaction from it, but I won't be rubbing it all over either. I can pull up mature plants and no reaction (yet!)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 11:43PM
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I don't believe Roundup is strong enough. I have used Ortho Brush-B-Gone aerosol, which is for woody plants, with good success. A couple of applications to leaves will kill the plant systemically. I do not handle poison ivy. (Tecnu soap does work to remove urushiol from contact areas.) To Deb in NJ: Sorry about the news. For ivy rash on your body, I recommend heating the affected area with a hair dryer until it is uncomfortable; the itching should stop long enough for a good night's sleep, and I believe the heat helps dry the rash. Best wishes.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2002 at 5:41PM
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pauln(z7B Arkansas)

For poison ivy I use Round-Up in full concentration. I cut the plant at the base and apply round up with a medicine dropper at the cut. This will get it, although you may need a second application in a month. Use gloves that you can dispose of and clean the blade of your pruner with rubbing alcohol after you have finished. This method also works great on wysteria, privet, and honeysuckle.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2002 at 4:46PM
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TamJP(z7 PA)

If you don't have a reaction to poison ivy, be careful anyway. In my family we seem to be immune to it til we hit our mid 30's. Then the immunity suddenly goes away. My sister used to pull it up with her bare hands every year. Just got her first reaction 2 years ago with a vengeance. It sure is nasty stuff. I'm fighting the battle in my yard as well. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2002 at 10:54AM
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I agree with pauln, the Ortho Brush B Gone seems to be stronger, I have used round up and it just doesn't seem to do the trick. We also have been battleing PI for years. It grows up some of our trees,three inch thick hairy vines. Even though the Ortho works, it is still a loosing battle, the next year it pops up in another part of the area we have cleared.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2002 at 7:48PM
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Ortho Brush-B-Gon here, too.

We moved to my wife's family home in Ohio last July, and there was poison ivy everywhere. My wife's uncle chopped some of the large hairy vines which were climbing into the trees, but, of course, the ivy just grew back.

Brush-B-Gon was recommended by the local garden shop, and it has done a great job. There was a bit here and there this spring, but after spraying, it is dying. So now I am clearing deeper into the woods, and spraying as I go. I buy the full strength liquid, dilute it as directed, and spray it with a hand pumped, pressurized, 2 gallon sprayer.

Being systemic, it kills the roots.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2002 at 10:28PM
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A few tips from a veteran of the PI wars...
I wear a disposible Tyvek suit and disposible nitrile gloves. I wear long pants and long sleeves underneath. I wear old shoes. I never touch the shoes til I have my gloves on. When I am finished for the day I through the suit and gloves in the trash before I ever come in the house. The shoes stay in the garage. As soon as I wash my forearms with Fels Naptha & alcohol. Then, a well-earned shower.
ÂOnly bother to pull or dig-out plants when soil is wet.
ÂOnly spray when no rain is predicted for at least 3 days.
ÂI make a spraying shovel-shaped barrier out of an old disposible pie plate or tin foil so I can avoid spraying where I don't want it to spray (such as the rest of the planet). AND I get the satisfaction of poking the plant into the spray run-off that collects in the bottom of the barrier plate (I make a little lip on the bottom) so that I'm sure the back of the leaves have also gotton saturated.
ÂThis all works fabulously. Have made much progress, rash-free.
ÂPS, I don't wear the disposible suit for non-poison ivy gardening...but follow the washing regimen

Good Luck!
Avenging Annie

    Bookmark   June 20, 2002 at 2:00PM
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Brightwood(z7 NC)

Another PI war vet here. I've been battling it for 3 years with good progress. We have 27 acres of woods with a sea of knee to waist high poison ivy over most of it. We aren't trying to get rid of all of it, just about 7 or 8 acres that we will be using a lot. This year I'm just doing touch up spraying.

First I went over the whole property and cut all the vines that were climbing trees too high to spray. If you don't do this those vines will drop berries and renew the crop as fast as you get rid of it.

I buy the 2 1/2 gallon Roundup superconcentrate and mix it in brushkiller strength. I'm not super sensitive to PI so I wade right in with a backpack sprayer and go after it. It has worked pretty well for me, though some PI does manage to survive either due to being missed or not sprayed well enough. A respray later in the season or the next season usually takes care of it. I will not re-treat any area in less than two weeks because it takes almost that long to die. Roundup causes the plant not to be able to manufacture its food so it literally starves to death.

When through I strip right beside the washer and everything (except the shoes) goes in. Go straight to the shower and wash with dish detergent. I use Dawn but it doesn't matter as long as it is detergent, not soap. Soap isn't able to dissolve the urushiol that causes the rash. It is an oily resin and is very persistent. I use a washcloth and scrub from areas of least exposure to areas of most exposure, folding the cloth in quarters, one side for each limb.

Throw the washcloth into the washer and start the cycle. DON"T leave that washcloth in the bathroom because if it does have urushiol on it someone will surely get the rash from handling it. Just ask my wife if you don't believe me.

Shoes are left in the shed. I always handle them with rubber gloves ever since I discovered that the breakouts that kept mysteriously appearing on my fingers came from handling the shoelaces.

I discovered a great product for when you inevitably do get the rash. It is called Zanfel. ( It kills the itch almost immediately. They claim one use does it, but for me it usually took two to three. Still, it beats the heck out of that burning itch. A caveat; if the rash is weeping, forget the Zanfel. It is gritty and impossible to use in that case, so use it at the first notice of the itch. Don't wait!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2002 at 11:52AM
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I do love this site.

Good luck with your many acres. How nice to have SO much land...but so much work, I know.

A very effective way to handle a large area is to simply grow a lawn over it. We cut all the PI down, pulled what we could, brought in three inches of topsoil and grass seed. Once you start mowing it, the grass will win! The occaisional PI shoots will come up...and mow them down (gleefully of course)

Avenging Annie

    Bookmark   June 21, 2002 at 2:45PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

Annie - where do you get disposible Tyvek suits?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2002 at 10:13PM
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claysoil(z6 PA)

One point that no one made is that once you spray the plants you leave them there. I use Brush be Gone and it is important to leave the dying leaves so that the poison is pulled down into the root system. If you are pulling poison, odds are that you will not get the entire root and it will come back. I hate leaving it there after i spray because it is still contagious and it is unsightly but I am looking at long term eradication, not just this week / month.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2002 at 8:00AM
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I agree, it is critical not to pull the sprayed plants (at least not until they are withered and dry. I usually spray them twice. I cut vines, paint the cut w Brush-be-gone, wait a few days, make a fresh cut and paint it again.I try very hard not to spray anything else. I use a small paint brush on small areas to really target.

I can't remember the name of the industrial safety company that I order suits & gloves from. I will look it uo and post.

Home Depot stores has nitrile gloves and they have resonably priced tyvek suits but the suits don't have the attached booties. I think that makes then useless unless you have tall bbots to pull on. The one piece suit with attached booties has the big advantage of greatly lessening you chances of tick or other insect bites.

Avenging Annie

    Bookmark   June 24, 2002 at 10:50AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

So that's what's been happening to my fingers!

You can also order Tyvek suits from

    Bookmark   June 24, 2002 at 4:27PM
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I get Tyvek suits through the mail from Direct Safety (1-800-528-7415)

Avenging Annie

    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 5:58AM
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I never get the rash! And I am not bragging. I do the "get rid of the clothes as soon as I walk in the door" thing, but I also take a shower and slather up the soap and rinse three times. That's right no less than three times. Then I use rubbing alcohol on all exposed parts.

This also works if I do it as soon as I feel an itch while outside. I run inside and do the three times washing thing with rubbing alcohol. I'd heard bathing in rubbing alcohol three times, but soap and water work great when FOLLOWED by alcohol.

Hope this helps with future outbreaks for anyone. And what do you have to lose? I think this probably works because it is the oil that gets you.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2002 at 11:44AM
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Another PI story to share with all fellow battlers. Five days ago, I headed out to "just plant one rose bush". Because I hadn't intended to do extensive work, I didn't even put on long pants or a long sleeved shirt. Two hours later, I had planted, weeded a bit, etc., and a ferocious itchy redness was surrounding my wrists just above my gloves. I IMMEDIATELY called it quits, washed my arms several times w Fels Naptha (thinking "Oh s----. I'm a goner!") then washed with alcohol. Then I took a shower. No problems at all.

Avenging Annie

    Bookmark   June 28, 2002 at 8:25AM
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i have come accross a way of permanently killing poison ivy unfortunatly nothing will ever grow there again thats to spread calcium cloride flakes on and around the plants or if you wish the entire area put it down so it looks like it snowed then wet with a hose till it disolves into the ground atleast partly in a few hours to a day youll see it starting to blacken and die not even round up or total vegetation killer will work half as good

    Bookmark   June 30, 2002 at 2:53AM
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hscott(z7 maryland)

Replacing woods with lawn seems like a pretty drastic way of getting rid of PI.
Another remedy is smearing the affected area with the juice from jewel weed (a.k.a. touch me not)which is a really common weed that grows around streams and is a relative of impatiens. It has a watery stem and juices up well. It is surprisingly effective. Good luck. I"ve seen people get pi from dry stems in the winter.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2002 at 11:52AM
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magickiwi(Zone 5 Michigan)

Hello - I just read this thread for the first time. 20 years or so ago I read an article in PREVENTION Magazine. For people who have gotten into poison ivy and have the itchies this is what they recommended: Take every part (except the roots) of IMPATIENS plant, break it up into pieces and pop those in a blender with a couple of cups of water and whiz it all up on puree. This releases all the juices in the leaves, flowers and stems. Bring that mixture to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes; cool down and store in refrigerator. You can strain it if you want to but we just leave it as is! For some reason this takes the itch out and blisters do not come up. It also works for poison oak. All we do is grab the jar and put the liquid on with a cotton ball or just with fingers if in a hurry! We also use it for mosquito bites and the itching stops immediately! It is wonderful. If you get a mosquito bite just pick a leaf of the impatiens, "smush" it and scratch it on the bite. We have friends who work construction and they always keep a mason jar in a cooler on the sites "just in case" and everyone is surprised how well it works!

We have had two people in the past 25+ years that this had NOT worked for - one was from England and one was from Downunder. Give it a try - what do you have to lose?

Good luck - Rita

    Bookmark   July 13, 2002 at 12:31AM
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If I'm not mistaken, the Impatients plant is in the same family as JewelWeed. Jewelweed can also be simmered in water on the stove to release its juice and used that way. Pour any leftovers into ice cube trays and refreeze in zip lock baggies(better yet , store in the food saver tubs as baggies sometimes leak. Great for those times of the year when the plant isn't available. Makes an orange colored sometimes greenish colored liquid. CHAR

    Bookmark   July 15, 2002 at 5:59PM
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The previous owners of our house used some kind of brush killer to get rid of the poison ivy. When we bought the house I noticed a couple areas on the two acre, heavily wooded lot that were weeds, no saplings, no nothing. It took five years for things to start popping up, including the return of the lovely poison ivy. Since I witnessed the devastation that products like Round-Up cause, I have battled the poison ivy by pulling it out. We have far too many to individually treat each leaf in order to protect mingling vegetation. Every spring I spent three or four weeks yanking it out, while the ground was wet. It is fruitless to try pulling it in summer, when our clay soil is so compacted and dry. There is no ivy left in areas that I have turned into gardens and I patrol those areas all summer long. We still have poison ivy in outlying areas where I pull enough to keep it under poison ivy growing up our trees! (We use to have vines growing up a beautiful oak tree that were about thirty feet tall and six inches in diameter...the ivy is gone and the tree is fine after my axe attack.) It doesn't make sense to use products that will kill everything, make the soil unusable for quite a while and most likely be harmful to your health. Besides, the birds do love it, it stays green through the hot, dry summer and it is an intruder deterrent.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 11:59AM
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Use of Roundup would not have caused such effects as you describe. Roundup is not active as an herbicide in the soil. It is possible that the previous owners used a soil sterilant chemical.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 12:23AM
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I did use Round-up at the edge of the woods so I am able to mow the lawn (what there is of it now since it hasn't rained all month!) without coming into contact with it. I was very careful to get only the PI as there is a blackberry bush, wild rose and other innocent plants growing there. There is still plenty growing in the woods. And, there are still seedlings popping up in my gardens and other places in the yards... I have no desire to 'nuke' the area, as what happened with pegjw. Simple PI rash is annoying. However, when I got inhaled PI, that got pretty scary and I was concerned about other health problems I might encounter in the future. And then there who is my 7yo son who disobeyed me and went into the churches woods next door. He currently has PI over about 75% of his body. God only knows HOW he got it where he did... I TOLD him to stay out of the woods!!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 7:35AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

Catherine, if those wild roses are rosa multiflora, they're not exactly innocent, so you could Round them Up guilt-free. They are an introduced rose that has run wild in lots of woods and fields in the northeast and maybe in Ohio, too. They are currently acting as a superhighway for the spread of a fatal disease (for garden roses, that is!) called rose rosette because they act as hosts fot the mite that carries the disease.

Rosa multiflora blooms once in about mid-June with clusters of small white or pale pink flowers that are intensely, deliciously fragrant. The leaves are generally small and grouped in fives.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 9:48AM
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Hmm... Those pretty wild roses are probably Rosa multiflora... I assumed that "wild" meant "natural" meant "innocent". So prehaps when I get 'round to planting more native plants, the rose will go, also. All I need is a few extra hours in the day. Anyone have a few extra to share?!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 11:09AM
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profsuzy(z6 PA)

Does anyone know if there is an optimum season for eradicating poison ivy? My husband and I are the proud new owners of 21 acres, about 15 of them wooded. I would like to begin the process of spraying for poison ivy this fall (there's tons of it), but I don't know if it's best to do it then or wait until spring. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2002 at 10:17AM
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We have poison ivy growing over the entire side of my husband's "shop" in the back of our property. It's an old log structure which he relocated. We've tried everything to rid ourselves of this critter. The roundup never worked for us. Special chemical spray for poison helped a little but it's still there. I find tiny new shoots all through the property. Usually take one day and go round pulling up all that I can find. Never had the rash myself until last year. Was able to pull it out with my bare hands, although I never tried to "Taunt" the poison. Got the rash on my hands and between my fingers. It was on my shoes and laces. When I tied up the laces, I got the poison! That is how the devil weed will get you! A great product is Tecnu. Read about it in a garden magazine a few years ago. It is a liquid soap. Think they have a lotion also. It really helps to take the oils from your skin. You can use it to launder clothes too, although am not sure how much of it would be required. It is sold in a small bottle, 6oz or so. Have found it at Wal-Mart. Also, as I only had the rash on my hands, I found that the tiny bit of bleach I often put in my dishwater to clean the stains from coffee cups, etc., helped to dry up the blisters. May sound drastic to some but it works! As for your reaction with losing your voice and sickness, I'm not surprised. My husband has severe reactions to poison. We burn wood in 2 woodstoves. Even wood which has had contact with poison can emit particles of the poison which can make people sick. I can't imagine what those of you will do who wrote about acres of woodland with poison covered trees. I'd call the local extension office.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2002 at 10:56AM
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Hi everyone, I'm new to this website. I can sympathize with all of your poison ivy horror stories! Right now I've just about overcome my current battle with poison ivy -- the terrible itching, which is the worst part, is over. The scabs just need to clear up. I don't have any advice to offer as far as getting rid of it from your property, but one of the things that helped relieve the itching was Gold Bond Medicated Powder -- you can also find generic versions at various stores. I found it worked better than any ointments I've tried, including prescription ones. It seems to dry out the weeping from the blisters & the menthol is nice & tingly, yet it doesn't dry out the rest of your skin because it contains moisturizers. Cold showers help. I'd sometimes wake up just feeling so itchy that the first thing I'd do was hop in the shower. Sometimes I'd be out somewhere & just couldn't wait to get home so I could go shower. I got poison ivy last summer & 3 summers ago. I got it this time 2 wks ago. I didn't even see it -- there was a bunch of English ivy that was growing wild on the one side of my driveway that needed something done with. I thought I was being really careful, but it was probably mixed in with what I was pulling. Since I'd gotten it last summer I made sure I knew what it looked like & never saw it this time. I had it while I was on vacation in NYC Labor Day weekend. The weather was rainy & damp part of the time so I had to wear pants which ended up aggravating it even more. I was so itchy that I was scratching my legs through my pants & scratched so hard (I also have short nails) that my thighs were all bruised. These were big, black/blue & purple ones! I looked like I'd been in a terrible accident or I'd just had some sort of surgery done on my legs! When I got home from my trip I couldn't even go to the doctor for a cortisone shot because right now we are a one-car family (temporary situation, thankfully!) & I had no way of getting to a doctor. I didn't even bother washing the clothing I wore when I got poison ivy -- I threw it in the garbage. I feel really stupid! The next time I will make sure to cover up my hands, arms & legs even if I don't think there's any poison ivy in sight. And I certainly won't do this type of yard work right before going on vacation. Good luck to all of you in your battles against the vicious poision ivy!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2002 at 12:59PM
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you all are making me itch! I began the PI eradication program in February 2 yrs ago by going in the woods and sawing off all the vining stems on the trees. Then in the spring when leaves were just popping, I went in with a 2 gallon sprayer of Round-Up and carefully hit only the PI. Repeated a few months later in early summer, then fall. Worked pretty well, and I did it again this year. I've at least pushed it back away from the house so we can enjoy the edge of the woods. Unfortunately PI is one of those things that you can't let go - it loves the high shade of the edge of the woods and I fear I'll be battling it forever!

Years ago when I lived in GA and had to knock out red ant nests I used chlorine gas - it will kill everything on that location for about 1 yr and you can control where you put it. Easy to make - look in your cupboard. Pour bleach on the spot first, then follow with ammonia - roughly equal parts. Instantaneous death will ensue, and I did not feel even remotely bad about killing red ants so don't start on me! Especially after the baby next door fell into a nest and almost died at the hospital from the bites.
BTW - whoever commented about the multiflora rose carrying rose rosette virus is RIGHT. If you want to learn more, do a search on Google. You can kill all the domestic roses in your neighborhood from 1 multiflora - the pathogen is windborn. And if you think PI is hard to kill -try a big multiflora! I'm still working on it!
Lest you think I spend my days looking for plants to kill, - not so! I'm still trying to save trees in my yard that were damaged by construction equipment. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 6:23AM
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missSue(z8 Louisiana)

Grandpa is 85 years young. We had a discussion about poison ivy. He claims that when he was a child his grandfather fed him poison ivy berries - and that is why he has never had a problem with the plant. He wanted our son to eat berries so he would never have the reaction to poison ivy. I had to threaten him with death to make him promise not to coax his grandson into eating berries. I imagine that this might work but feel the risks are entirely too great.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 3:17PM
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farmersam(z5 NE)

Beware of some of these folk remedies. He may have been immune anyway, about 25% of us are. I am one.

Most of the oldtime remedies are relatively harmless but this one worries me a bit. Just my gut feeling.

If this were true, then the medical profession would have had a vaccine long before now. JMO.

Best regards,


    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 3:29PM
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Dagget(5/6 Central OH)

nope, don't eat those berries. I have heard variations of this plan over the years. If it really worked, don't you think some company would have produced some sort of packaged dose that we could take? Don't you think your family doctor would tell you to do this? -- some folks think that medical people "hide" simple remedies so they can make lots of money, but I can't see how anyone makes a lot of money treating poison ivy rashes.
The rash is really your body thinking this is a foreign invader and trying to "reject" it just as your body might reject a transplanted part. Eating some poison ivy wouldn't change your body's immune system, I don't think.
Anyway, don't let gramps talk anyone into eating those berries.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2002 at 8:01PM
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LeJane(6b Southern KY)

I have been told that the best time to use Round Up on PO/PI is in the fall "when the sap is going down." The plants are supposed to absorb more into their roots that way. Personally, I hate stuff like Round Up, because it is bad for the enviroment. However, PO/PI frequently causes me to compromise my principles! Death to all PO/PI!!!!
Le Jane

    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 2:29AM
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farmersam(z5 NE)

The best time to treat is in the fall because the sap is going down is a misnomer. The best time to treat is when the plant is actively growing.

Roundup is the safest product for the environment to come along. The portion not absorbed by the plant is quickly turned into nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The bad for the environment thing was unfairly started by the organic gurus and is not based on sound science. Some chemicals are not good but this is not one of them. Their is a whole family of these ammonium salt compounds available that are concentrated forms of naturally occuring plant growth hormones. All are very safe when used according to label.

Most organic folks are well meaning but are being misinformed by a few gurus at the top. Their misinformation seems to persist longer than the facts. Question the validity of all reports and make up your own mind.

Best regards,


    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 7:46AM
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LeJane(6b Southern KY)


I have and I did. I am not "misinformed." I am environmentally aware. Any chemical that wipes out most every plant it touches is bad for the environment, if only because some people WILL misuse it. If you have never run into some moron who spews Round up around as if it were water, you are probably the only one who hasn't. :-) I am not a strictly organic gardener (see previous post) but I think that we should all walk lightly on the land, when feasible. Still, I am not going to lock myself inside all summer because poison oak and Ivy have my house surrounded!

Having said that, I still believe we should all think twice before we use herbicides on things that we could just pull or dig up. Better safe than sorry, as the old saying goes.
Le Jane

    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 11:58PM
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Many compounds, natural and synthetic will "wipe out" plants; that ability alone does not qualify them as necessarily bad or good for the environment. Each must be evaluated on their individual characteristics. Exhaustive studies of the characteristics of Roundup in the environment demonstrate that it can be used responsibly without environmental damage. In this regard it does not have a high propensity for misuse unless it is applied to aquatic situations. That being said, this favorable profile is not the case with every herbicide, nor is it license to use this particular product indiscriminately. It does have its place. So do other techniques and practices where they are the best choice, such as pulling or digging up weeds where feasible.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2002 at 12:33AM
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LeJane(6b Southern KY)

As you say, it has its place. I use it on occasion myself, as previously stated. I am also sure there are much worse things one can put into the environment. But, for myself, I try to avoid chemical warfare whenever possible. It is a personal philosophy I guess. Happy gardening. Le Jane

    Bookmark   October 1, 2002 at 10:04AM
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aartwmich(Z5 west mich)

ok who and how did someone attach that owl sound bite to this thread??? Got the dogs in an awful uproar!! lol

    Bookmark   October 6, 2002 at 10:50AM
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This seems like an old thread, but i just found it. I used Round-Up to get rid of poison ivy and it worked very well. Because I am so allergic, I did not get close enough to cut it. I sprayed every single leaf, then waited a couple of weeks. Then I checked the whole area daily and sprayed every single leaf I saw every day. This took several weeks of work, but in the last two years I have only seen it reappear once and that was a very small plant. I followed the same program with honeysuckle and with blackberry suckers. The honeysuckle and blackberry still make occasional appearances, but the poison ivy is gone. Good luck and DON'T TOUCH IT even with gloves. If you do get a rash, use Rhuli Gel - it's called something else now, but your druggist will know the new name.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2002 at 7:00PM
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I'm popping in to the Garden Web after a long while.

I can't escape poison ivy. I wasn't allergic to it, before, then I kept getting it. I sprayed bleach (with hose and sprayer) on it, but, it almost seemed to whisper, "Hey, thanks for the nice bath" at me...hehehe...

Anway, here's my link for my peppermint plan. It really kills the rash and the itch!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2002 at 10:18AM
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A landscaper that I know told of a lotion that you put on before you get out in the p.i. Called Ivy Block, and when I went looking for it I found there are several others to chose from also. It is a barrier lotion and will keep the sap from entering the skin. Will get to test it myself this summer.Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2002 at 12:05AM
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I discovered PI in our yard summer before last. I read in a plant book that bleach would kill it, so that is what I used. It killed most of it the first time around. I just keep bleaching and mowing, and I think I'm gonna be the winner. I think that this summer I will actually be able to plant some things in that area. I have found that Washing with hot soapy water right after exposure several times and rinsing several times works pretty well. ALSO, if wearing jeans, DO NOT put your hands in your pockets after touching the plants. the resin can work through the pockets and get on your skin. Now think about where those pockets are, it can be pretty akward in polite company.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2002 at 8:12PM
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angie2(z6 AR)

You folks also need to remember that the oils from PI can & will get on your pets. If Fido is out there with you he can bring it in the house or rub it on you later after you have showered three times in bleach or whatever..just a thought.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2002 at 11:44PM
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I've had some up a pine tree for years. One spring I decided to pull it up, as it was speading its roots all over my back garden. I wound up in the emergency room on a Sunday morning because I had a PI rash on my face that was so bad, my eyes were swollen shut.

The poison ivy won. It's still there.

Now I just leave it, and pull any strays out with great caution and respect. We have reached a compromise.

Funny thing is, I was never sensitive to it before. This Southern version is brutal.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 7:39AM
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Brightwood(z7 NC)

Hi Profsuzy,

I know this is a very late response but here goes anyway. Probably with more info than you really wanted.

I have been spraying in our woods for two years now.
Due to the large area I'm working on (7-8 acres of our 27 acres)I have had to do wholesale rather than retail spraying.

I have found that you can spray from spring until the PI leaves start turning yellow in the fall. I use brushkiller strength that I mix myself from the 2 1/2 gal superconcentrate. It doesn't all die from one spraying anyway so if you are doing a large area it makes more sense to keep at it and accept that some times during the season more will actually be killed that other times. All in all most of it dies when sprayed the first time anyway.

If your woods are overrun with it like mine were, with vines the size of my arm and larger climbing 100 ft up poplar trees, then before you start spraying you should go out and cut all those vines you can find with an axe. Otherwise those vines will be dropping berries (seeds!) on your sprayed ground. If it is during the growing season you can paint full strength concentrate on the stump and it will help kill the roots.

The vines are easy to identify and tell from other types of vines. They are very hairy with red to gray hairs that become more like tendrils on larger plants. If it looks more ropy or veiny on the stem it is probably Virginia Creeper. I leave those.

I found it is easiest to cut them in winter when the undergrowth is dormant and you can see what you are doing and get to them. In that case don't waste your time applying Roundup because it won't have any effect. Yes, those vines will try to come back from the roots next spring but, with the area you are spraying, by the time you get back to them there will be enough growth to spray to kill the roots.

After trying several methods of spraying, including taking a 20 gal sprayer with a 30 ft hose into the woods on a DR Powerwagon, I found that a backpack sprayer is easiest because you don't have to fight dragging a hose around and you don't have to fill as often as a smaller hand sprayer. You can carry it to almost anywhere you can walk. I also like the fact that you can control the pressure by how much you pump the handle.

Since it takes almost two weeks for the sprayed plants to look like they are dying, I don't revisit any area with the sprayer in less than a month after a spraying. That way I can be sure I'm not spraying plants that are already dying.

In actual practice, I rarely sprayed any area more than twice in a season. I found that when to spray was less important than the strength of the mix. PI is difficult to kill. Max it out. I mix mine in a 15 gallon plastic barrel. When I used 45 oz of superconcentrate per barrel (3oz/gal)I had many plants that were left alive. I upped it to 60 oz (4oz/gal)the survivors were very few and touch up spraying was much easier.

Before anyone fries me for using such a strong mix, let me say that the forest floor over most of the area was a uniform glossy green covering of knee to waist high PI in the summer. Under that and climbing the smaller trees was another ground cover of Hall's Honeysuckle. I tried not to spray desirable plants over much of the area, but didn't obsess over it because I am planning a long term project of making a woodland garden of much of the sprayed area and will end up removing or replacing many of the remaining plants anyway. There were some small trees, etc that I did take great pains to preserve.

Let me also add that before I did anything at all I consulted with our local agricultural extension forestry agent. I asked them what I shoud do to manage it as forest. Actually two guys came out and they said "what you have is a mess. This was mostly agricultural land 30 to 40 years ago." They told me that if I ever wanted it to be more than an impenatrable thicket of woods I would have to spray, sacrificing most of the current undergrowth so that a normal understory could be established.

They also said that if I thought I could do it by occasional spraying, not to bother. The way they put it was that when most people were watching the game or race on TV, I should be spraying. When the neighbors went to the beach for the weekend, I should be spraying. When I took my vacation, I should be spraying. When I had a chance to prop my feet up in the evening, I should be spraying.

I originally planned to try to just take out the PI and otherwise leave the woods as untouched as possible, but I quickly discovered that battling PI on this scale is either total war or a waste of time. At least the Roundup has no effect on the mature trees. When I inevitably do get overspray on lower branches of small or low branched trees, I generally just break off the sprayed section to preserve the tree. If the Roundup is allowed to stay on even a small part of a tree like this, it will cause damage to the tree. Better to sacrifice the sprayed part now than damage the whole thing.

After 2 summers of spraying, I have very good control over most of the area that will be "improved" and pretty good control over the immediately surrounding area. I've actually stopped spending all my time spraying and started doing other types of projects.

But come this spring, I'm sure I'll be out there for several days going over the area to get those pesky stragglers. I'm also sure I'll still be spraying every year for a long, long time.

The woods do look much more inviting now and I'm finally ready to build that gazebo down by the creek. And I should actually have time to enjoy it, too!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2002 at 11:02AM
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Brush-B-Gone will do it - - repeated applications. Also you must forever be vigilant and ready to spray it first time you see it again - - seems to work best in hottest days of summer - - and do leave the plant to die with it on it. This will also get rid of honeysuckle - - what I do there is cut it back at ground, pull vines away and then when it starts putting out new growth, zap it with BBG - - DON'T DO THIS WITH THE PI!!! KEEP HANDS OFF PI.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2002 at 3:00PM
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phillip50(west ky)

catherine OH, i post very little (mostly read) but this subject commands response. i am a licensed commerical herbicide applicator and use what you know as roundup by the drums. it is completely humanly safe and so far i have found anything green under the sun (except roundup ready crops) that it wont kill when properly applied. absolutely! if you will use a 5% solution with a 1% activator it wil kill anything green you get it on. if you are using a 5% solution and appling to all green leaves of an entire plant, what you are seeing are other plants that are sprigging from other roots that have not been treated or new plants from seed. if there are leaves/vines running up a tree and you cant get herbicide on them then cut them into as the untreated leaves can keep the vines alive til other roots have formed. PI leaves have an oily surface that tend to resist herbicide penetration and an activator helps to open the stomas for adsorption. heavy infestations require 3 or 4 applications 2 to 3 weeks apart for near 100% eradication. then there will probably be some escapes next year and some new plants from new seed. PI is tough and wil take some time and money to eridacate. 1-1.25 gal/acre will be needed for heaviest infestations. stay after it with roundup w/ activator and you will WIN. stay away from the 2-4-d type brush killers for large area applications. their margin of safety is very small for nearly all animals. espically me. absolutely stay out of their drift. phillip50

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 12:06AM
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PurdueDavid(z5 IN)

Persistence is the only answer. We have lived on our wooded 2 acres for 15 years. When we moved in we had PI in all the trees and shoulder height along a ditch about 300' by 30'. I started with a brush cutter and have sprayed and pulled for years. Each year it's a little better. I just finished my complete inspection this year and only found 3 small plants, which I pulled; being sure to follow all the vine under the litter until I found the main root. The only chemical that I found to be completely reliable was 2-4-5T, which was legal when I started, but has been totally banned for many years now. 2-4-D and roundup work equally well for me. Depends on the surroundings, which I use. I pull it up and deposit it into a large spruce tree where I won't contact it in the future. Eventually it goes away. 'Bout to puke from the background sound so must leave now :o)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2003 at 11:50PM
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6 months ago we moved into a new house/acreage and I took my son out to build a fort with our chainsaw in this "thicket" near the house. After a whole day of male bonding bare chested, manly, power tools in hand, my son said, "Hey Dad don't these leaves look familiar?" ...well, you know the rest of the story . Ergo my moniker.

Battling through a good case of steroid induced psychosis, I hired out the work of cutting and pulling the vines letting sanity wash over me. But now I have 3 huge piles of PO branches. Since no one wants the job, it would cost about $1000 to get rid of it. Any ideas of how to accelerate the mulching process? Manure/soil/compost/covering with black plastic, etc. Any real experience?

I have recently had better luck with Brush-B-Gone but wonder if anyone knows of its effect on the environment compared to Roundup. After an hour or so of spraying with Roundup, I start to feel sick. Anyone else feel that way? I don't get that with Brush B Gone. A nice characteristic of Brush B Gone is that it doesn't kill everything but seems to kill PO very well. I inadvertantly spray the ferns along our stream bank that are always mixed with the PO and only the PO dies.

Thanks for the support. I had begun to think I was becoming 2 or 3 short of a dozen when I would strap on my backpack sprayer full of herbicide like a gunfighter and actually start to feel like Clint Eastwood ..., A steely glare at the PO mocking me ..., then I sneer, "Make my day" then spray the heck out of it.

My final conclusion is that the chainsaw has no place in PO control. Heed my words.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2003 at 3:36AM
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I have enjoyed this entire posting. Instead of landscaping our lot, I watched everything that grew last year and my only gardening was pulling PI roots, etc. I save old clothes and throw them out after a session of pulling roots. I don't have as much PI as some of you, but I had my fair share.

I often get a spot or two of rash. I put a washcloth in the microwave and heat it. Then I put the steamy cloth on my rash. It is easier that standing under the faucet or contorting my body to put my ankle in the sink under hot water. I let it burn, but it does take the itch.

I did alot of searching to find about 5 PI shoots around the yard this year. I consider my PI Campaign of 2002/3 a big victory. I will have to patrol the DMZ regularly so it never gets a hand up on me. . .


    Bookmark   June 23, 2003 at 8:15AM
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I have a few huge tree trunks that I'd like to use as woodland benches. however, the hairy remains of the ivy are still on the trunk. any idea on how to neutralize them so I can sit on the "bench" without fearing getting the rash on my legs, et al?

Poison Ivy is a huge problem for me. If I come in contact with it, I get infected and it stays with me for months unless I use a strong steroid or steroid cream.

What I do is use very long, rose gloves and pull the stuff out and send it through my chipper. You can also cut the hairy roots in several places, let the plant die and carefully remove. Even when dead, it can get you.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 11:39AM
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Has anyone tried covering localized area of pi with a tarp to block out all light?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2003 at 10:56AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

My poison ivy is growing in my neighbor's shrubs that border my driveway. Until this year it has stayed pretty much on his side of the shrubs but with all the rain I am seeing it creep to my side. Since it is in the shrubs (which I maintain and want to keep nice looking)I have to find something that will not harm the shrubs. There are also Lily of the Valley growing at the base of the shrubs. I have planted jewelweed (the impatiens family) in all of my flower beds in order to have a good supply of of "juice" should it become necessary. I am going to try pouring bleach on the pi. At least to keep it from spreading onto my property. If he wants it on his side that is his decision.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2003 at 10:56PM
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rikster(z6b NJ)

I just recently skimmed though this whole PI thread which was very interesting but the one thing that caught my eye was the chlorine gas solution; and the fact that no one advised against it. Alyrics is right "instantaneous death will ensue" and that may very well include the person mixing the chemicals.
Mixing chlorine and ammonia makes a crude form of mustard gas; very dangerous to say the least. This technique is probably best not used at home, as I'd hate for someone to unknowingly get hurt or worse.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 11:01PM
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Watch out for the roots is right.
I was digging PI roots, no visible leaves so I didn't know that's what it was. I got one of the worst cases of PI ever.

I have successfully used Round Up, but I use the concentrate at the strongest dilution. I spray an ever increasing perimeter around the house, and I must spray regularly or it creeps up. I agree, 2 gallon pump sprayer works best, and any overspray does kill innocent plants, but something grows right back in it's spot.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2003 at 11:01AM
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No one has mentioned disposal. Bag it and throw it out. Do not burn it. DO NOT EVER BURN IT. Same applies for wild parsnip too.

I did a little research on poisonous vines and found that most of the vines I had here needed to be dug up after Brush B Gone was applied liberally and allowed to "soak in" several times. I had been dealing with a lot of poison oak and didn't think I had any poison ivy. There was one vine that I thought for sure wasn't poison ivy- well it was poison ivy. I guess there are telltale white berries that go along with it and hairy stems and the reason why I didn't have an outbreak when I handled it last year was because I had been wearing regular gloves, a long sleeved shirt, and had been handling the woody stem which has less oils present in it. Long and short of this is that both my father and my husband burned the poison ivy vine along with the other vines (porcelain berry) that we dug up. Burning non poisoness vines is perfectly fine BUT- burning poisoness vines is a big no no. First of all- the oil sort of vaporizes and can and will be carried in the smoke. My husband had horrible rashes that needed to be treated for a very long time. The doctor claimed it could have been worse as it could have gotten into his lungs and he could have ended up dead or in the hospital for a very long time. Fortunately, they were burning in a recessed burn pile rather than an upright burn barrel and the smoke was low to the ground and only got his calves, knees, and lower thighs. PLEASE DO NOT BURN ANY VINE YOU THINK IS POISONESS whether it be poison ivy, poison sumac, or posion oak. BAG IT AND TOSS IT IN YOUR GARBAGE. Evidently this is allegedly common knowledge however I did not know not to burn them and neither did my Dad or my husband.

Please please please do not burn anything that is poisonous.

Take Care, Laura

    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 3:03AM
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turbo_tpl(z7a Richland WA)

I don't quite understand the harping about burning poison ivy remains. True, it can cause some MAJOR health problems if you inhale the toxic smoke.

But I've burned it frequently in the past - you just have to be very, very careful about where the smoke goes. Take it out in a remote field and burn it.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 10:33PM
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Dont know how well this works, but I have heard people swear by it. They just cover the poison ivy with black plastic all summer. They say the heat with the combination of no light kills it. Im going to try it my self.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2004 at 4:17PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

The harping may be because inhaling the volatilized oils from burning poison ivy can KILL YOU. Lucky you if a neighbor decides to burn a bunch of poison ivy and a temperature inversion develops halfway through, remote field or not.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2004 at 5:33PM
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JnanaShien(7a Asheville NC)

I'm more that a little alarmed with this comment:

But I've burned it frequently in the past - you just have to be very, very careful about where the smoke goes. Take it out in a remote field and burn it.

The resin can carry a long ways in the wind and some little kid or infant could inhale it. Think about it.

Why risk harming others.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 7:34PM
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nachodaddy(quiet, I’m trying to meditate!)

I don't think this has been mentioned but sometimes too much roundup will kill the top portion of the plant and not get fully assimilated in the roots. More is not better. What I like to do is mix ammonium sulfate mixture/roundup 50/50. The plants take this food/poison mixture deeper into the roots and your kill rate goes up. You actually will use less roundup with better results.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2004 at 10:27PM
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littlekinder(z8 DFW Tx)

Please, HOW do you clean all the tools (shovel, clipper, etc.) that were used around PI? I don't have too much to kill, but I have the rash now and am paranoid about the sneaky oils being everywhere!

I washed the shoes(leather athletic tennies) and gloves (leather also) in the washing machine. Are they OK to use now? Or should I just pitch them?

I read some hideous online fact that the oils can remain on items for up to five years if left undisturbed. Boy, I am now the disturbed one. Please help! I want to garden again!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2004 at 5:15PM
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treebeard(z5 MA)


Gardening tools can be cleaned very simply with soap and water. But it should be running water, not a tub of standing water. The standing water may only spread the oil (urushiol - pronounced 'you ROO she all). I'd wear rubber or latex gloves to protect the hands.

The manufacturers of Tecnu, a popular and very effective cleaning agent for poison ivy, sumac, and oak, indicates that tools can also be cleaned with the product by washing them with a clean cloth and Tecnu, as you would use detergent, and then rinsing thoroughly with running water, not water in a tub.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 9:08AM
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jiggreen(zone 6b, carlisle PA) me crazy, but is anyone else hearing MONKEYS (?) when they read this thread?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 10:29PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

dwyerkg embedded a wav file of an owl. It would be nice if someone could remove it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 12:13AM
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shadysuz(z7 VA)

Ha! I join to find out why my hellebores are fading and instead my first post is about PI. Figures.

Family history with it -- sister used to get EXTREMELY bad cases of it. Landed in a hospital with it once. Dr. figured that case probably came from someone burning it -- which we already knew not to do.

I never got it as a kid, but got horrendous cases as a young adult -- worst ones came from dogs. One from a puppy that was clambering all over my lap -- and she'd just been trouncing through PI. And the other from my pooch who I was standing over while keeping her from attacking/being attacked by another dog (with owner). Did have to go through the dose pack of steroids for a couple of my run-ins w/PI. Last time I used them, though, had a not-so-comfortable mind-altering side effect and so gave that up. Also take benedryl to combat the itch. Was thrilled to read about the washcloth-microwave trick. I'll remember that one.

Have heard (what seems like) all the remedies -- heck, I collect 'em. Potato-based vodka (applied outside, not in, darn it!), Clorox, jewelweed, plantain, Tecnu, Rhula-Gel (I did like that cooling stuff), Ivy Block, Fels Naptha, etc. I also remember reading that scientists discovered that some of the propellants in aresols created a barrier on the skin to the oils. (Oh, and that if you're allergic to PI, you may also find yourself reacting to lacquered pieces since some lacquers have urisols in them.) And then my mom and g'mom decided that it was all in our heads and we should just get over it. Sister did find that swimming in well-clorinated pools helped dry out the rash.

And I know the precautions. Immediately wash clothes in the hottest water possible to rid them of the oils. Shower in cool water first so as to keep your pores as closed as possible and use an oil-cutting soap/deterg. Also change sheets and towels if you get a rash and you've showered or slept in the meantime.

Fortunately our 2 little acres here in Northern VA don't have much PI -- and husband is VERY wonderful and diligent about going around with his spray bottle of Round-Up and spraying the vines. He probably patrols every couple of weeks until frost and we've kept the invasion down to a manageable problem. He's been very happy with how Round-Up works. And we're also very careful, since we're on well and septic -- so anything we put in the ground could conceivably end up in the water we drink.

I've also noticed that my attacks aren't nearly as virulent as they once were. So I'm inclined to think we grow in and out of severity of reactions -- as well as stress playing a role.

OK, probably enough for a first post. And let's hope we all find successful ways of dealing with PI -- both the in-ground and topical aspects....


    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 5:48PM
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MayBATL(Atlanta, GA)

I was looking for something to use as a barrier for my English Ivy not to take over the new plantings on my "garden on a hillside" and wound up reading about poison ivy. I had a bad case about a month ago and have had a rash again just this week. I have made a list of all the remedies recommended in this amazing thread, music of owls singing and all, and I am heading to Walmart, grocery store, drugstore, Home Depot, and wherever else I need to go to get the roundup, begone, impatiens, jewelplant, and get serious about erradicating this danger from my yard. I have grandchildren and I do not want them getting what I have experienced.
One dumb question:
five leaves is poison oak, correct?
three leaves is poison ivy... please, please I need guidance. All I know that if they have three or five leaves they are either one of these poisonous plants. Still scratching, applying alcohol, taking cold showers, applying goldbond cream, and I want to continue gardening. I love being outside... it does wonders for my head, I am happy again, looking after my garden, close to God, who wants me to stay happy.
Take care all of you my gardening friends and thanks for all the advise and recommendations.
May in Atlanta, GA

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 12:48PM
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More than likely you have Poison Ivy in GA, whereas here in the PNW I have Poison Oak.

Always remember the saying "Leaves of three let it be". There are many more plants which have leaves in groups of three but it is good way to remember what to watch for.

When we first bought our property, I ended up with a very bad case of poison oak and had to take the steriods to get it cleared up. Tried a ton of other methods first.

Now I've marked the edges of the places where the poison oak is very heavy with red landscaper's flags. This is my clue to be very very careful and where to target spray. We will never be completely rid of the poison oak as it grows prolifically along the freeway right-of-way and on neighboring property. Birds eat the berries and drop well fertilized ready to sprout seeds everywhere. But I'll keep trying.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 12:28AM
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Put Round Up mixed with 2-4-d should do the trick.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 4:21PM
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Re: Burning -- please don't do this! A friend's dad tried to help them out when they had just bought a "new" Dutch-era house here in the Hudson Valley. He pulled down "that old vine" from the stone gable ends. Then he burned it, carefully tending to the burn pile for some time to make sure it was not a fire hazard. Long story short, this well-intentioned gentleman spent 4 months in an ICU and it was miraculous that he survived at all, having PI both internally and externally.

I myself am very allergic to urushiol (sp?) and years ago I dug a huge amount of it out of some woods behind my home with the intention of making nice woodland paths, etc. I did this in mid-July wearing shorts and a tank top, thinking, well I'll just wash it off real good later. Not! I ended up with both legs and arms hugely swollen with edema within a few hours. My DH promptly wrapped me in a sheet (I was nekkid)and took me to the local ER. I was admitted and put on IV drip of steroids for a few days. BTW, steroids give some people (me included) nasty psychotropic reaction - makes me a wee bit homicidal, nothing serious.

I now cover myself with garbage bags if I have to remove any PI. Even being super-careful, if I get a bit of it, I use Benedryl gel, has no weird side effects.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 11:19AM
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cindip(z7 NC)

I can tell you what to do to get rid of the poison ivy rash that you have. My son always get poison ivy several times a summer. He always has to go to the doctor and get steriods and creams to help get rid of it. It would take it a month to completely dry up. Well, a friend of mine told me to go and buy a bar of Octagon soap (it is a laundry soap) We did, and the last time he had the rash he washed the area with the soap. It started going away in a day or so. Now, we keep Octagon soap all the time.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 7:43PM
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Burt's Bees Poison Ivy Soap is really great for the itch! I also noticed Walmart has Round-up for Poison ivy/Poison Oak. I purchased a large bottle for around $17.00 and am heading out tomorrow to see how effective it is. I'll let you know.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 1:27AM
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leebaby(z6 OK)

The only way I know of to get of PI is get some goats. They'll eat it and it won't hurt them. Of course if you live where you can't have them, I don't know. I can't get rid of the stuff, just gotta find some goats. lol

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 3:17AM
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I don't like chemicals and so I haven't used them. My woods are full of posion ivy this year. My arms are covered with the stuff. I picked up the cat who had probably walked through it. If I use roundup on the posion ivy will it hurt the wildlife or the cats? I don't know how long it takes to dry and if I would need to stand in the woods and run everthing off?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2004 at 4:17PM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

I have had success using a 25% round up mixture in the fall. The ivy is storing nutrients from the leaves to the roots in the fall and it makes it far more effective.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 3:11PM
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plantiques(z7b Joshua TX)

Both PO and PI have "leaves of three." Vines with 'leaves of five' are often Virginia creeper.
Unfortunately, I have both PI and PO, I have tried numerous eradication methods. The best method I've found is to wait until winter as it is evergreen and easier to spot, then, as laborious as it may seem, dig it up. I feel so victorious when I unearth a 50' root.
In my experience, the adage 'what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger,' absolutely applies to PI and PO. The few limited successes I had with chemicals was when I first sprayed a system of plants thoroughly, then I went back out a week later and isolated heavy infestations by severing the roots creating a perimeter around the area and spraying again. Then, about 10 days later, I sprayed the isolated area for a third time. It hasn't returned to the isolated area (yet). Other than this limited success, I have never seen any herbicide that truly works. I'll think it's gone, then two weeks later, it is back, and double the size with lots of new runners. The method I described was using 30% horticultural vinegar as I find it works as well as the chemicals that my husband is so quick to turn to. I haven't tried the root isolation method with chemicals, so it might work too, but would certainly be expensive.
My husband is very allergic to it, so I am the one who digs it up. So far, I seem to be immune, but I still wear an arsenal of protective gear and never touch the stuff, I use tongs to pick up exposed roots, I toss em in a box and send 'em to the landfill. My husband can testify about burning the stuff.
When I tried the black tarp method, the root system just sent out roots to the edge of the tarp and new plants popped up all around the perimeter.
So, I will continue to hope that something more practical can be done about it, until then, I will continue my annual winter diversion of trying to rid my property of the tenacious scourge that is PO and PI.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 2:59AM
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The best way that iI know of to get rid of the rash is to make a thick paste of table salt and white vinegar in a small dish, get into the shower without the water on and cover the affected areas with the paste, let dry and shower it off. The best part is it feels good to rub it on the itchy parts and ussually doen'nt burn unless you have open cuts. It has worked eccelent for 2 of our children who are allergic to poisen ivy, especcially since we can't get them the poison ivy shots anymore.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 8:11AM
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Poison ivy is one of the first things to take over here in newly cleared and then abandoned fields. It eventually dies out when trees grow and make enough shade. It won't grow well in the shade - and eventually it will die out. Are you sure you have PI in your woods? Maybe it is at the edges? (Or maybe your PI in Ohio is much different?) Anyway, I cut off vine and compost it (well), and paint end of stump with concentrated round-up. It works.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 3:09PM
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phacops(central PA)

Our poison ivy does just fine in the shade. I have two approaches to removing it. In the winter, when the temps are a bit below freezing I just rip out the plants. For the most part they seem to be shallow rooted and are easy to pull out, at least until the ground is frozen rock hard. And even if I can't pull out the entire length of root, the disruption seems to be enough to prevent much of the plant from re-growing in the spring. In the summer, especially during a dry spell, I cover up well, make sure that I am up-wind of the patch and go after the plants with my brushwacker, using the plastic blades. I go through a lot of blades this way, but I can chop off the plants at ground level and really cut up the roots covering the ground. The plant doesn't seem to be able to survive this treatment in hot dry weather. Over the last 5 years I have cleaned up many large areas of poison this way.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 2:36PM
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Graystone(z6 TN)

I have had wonderful success with a product called Super Brush Killer. It is sold in our Farmer's Co-ops here in middle Tennessee. I have cleared all of my fence row of shrubby growth including: poison ivy & oak, briars, thistles, trumpet & honeysuckle vines and so on. The real beauty of Super Brush Killer is that it doesn't harm grasses or other thin bladed plants. You usually can see the effects beginning the next day.

It may not be available in your area. I know I couldn't buy it in Florida and had to have a friend smuggle a can down to me.

Another wonderful attribute of this farmer's best friend, is that when a strong solution of 1/4 cup of Brush Killer to 1 cup of diesel fuel is painted on a freshly cut stump or thick poison ivy vine it goes right to the root and kills it for good. Every tree or shrub that I've cut down and liberally painted the fresh cut stump; they have never sprouted back! On the larger trees (over 18" in diameter) I usually try to paint them at least twice, letting the solution drip down over the edge.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 1:46AM
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How about just going out and tilling the you-know-what out of it with a Mantis tiller or something? I was going to do that this month. Seems no plant will survive having its roots torn apart to a depth of 8inches. Of course, I'd wear protective covering in case the unleafed roots were poisonous and then I'd wash the tiller. Any downsides to this? Would it work?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 12:36PM
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I found this mixture in a magazine and have been trying it this year. It takes a while before you start to see results but it seems to be working.

Mix in a garden sprayer 1 gallon of red cider vinegar,
1 box of table salt, and 4 tablespoons of dish detergent.

Spray the plants everyday for a week. I started to notice the leaves drying up and turning brown after about 3 days. I still continued to spray and I mixed up another batch and sprayed for another week. It works best on the small tender shoots but it will work on the bigger vines it just takes longer. Then this fall I'm going to get the vines out but I'm still going to wear gloves and long sleeves. I didn't like the thoughts of using a harsh chemical because we have pets. Hope this works for others.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 6:52PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

One additional comment with regards to burning ... in addition to the possibility of people being downwind of a burning pile pile of PO, don't forget the animals that might also be affected. While for all I know perhaps all animals are immune to PO, why take the chance? Don't burn it.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 2:36PM
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Good point Paul - I hadn't even thought of that! Not that I was going to burn any anyway...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2005 at 5:10PM
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When I first started making a garden here, it was poison ivy six feet high and totally covering the area. I used agent orange - well, that was the bad old days. And it worked too - 2-4-5-T. Once a week I would come up and water the poison ivy with a watering can of the mix. And the next week I'd advance a bit further into the jungle and continue spreading the brush killer around. It took me almost a year to clear the area but after that I just dug any that sprouted. I have never 'gotten it' but I always exercise caution, wear gloves, long sleeves, etc. Now I just go around with a squeeze bottle of Round-up and apply it to the new seedlings that the birds have planted. I try to keep the garden and woods free of the stuff but the birds do like the berries and constant vigilance is the price of freedom from poison ivy as well as other things. I've heard that vinegar will kill it as well but this seems to me a good way to poison the soil which is acidic enough as is. Sowing the ground with salt was a biblical way of poisoning it so your enemies couldn't raise food. Find it hard to believe this is an 'organic' method of control.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 8:21PM
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Tammy Kennedy

a couple posts by someone with english ivy, no pi in sight, but still ended up getting a rash. english ivy can cause a pi like rash in about 10% of the susceptible population! i always wear gloves when pulling it for that reason. there's a pi website with more info than one person can absorb out there. has all sorts of great info as well as weird factiods(like that one).

have had good luck with the heavy duty formula of roundup in killing ours off. technu is wonderful for washing up, and if that telltale tickle starts, wash with zanafel. it's expensive, but it works! i usually get the rash for 6 weeks, but zanafel cuts it down to a week. also, there are some steriod creams the drs can prescribe to help dry it out. they are cheap and work really well!

in humid areas, the oil is still able to cause a rash for 2 yrs. in dry areas, 5 yrs. so be very careful even with dead material. the roots carry more oil than anything and will cause a severe rash. even someone who has never had it can become sensitive. they think the sensitivity builds through the yrs, too. so even if you don't get it, take cautions. and remember- you probably live with someone who does, so don't be cavalier about spreading about oils by not washing well just because you don't get it. and never, ever, ever burn the stuff. can't be stated emphatically enough!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 11:52PM
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mainma(z5b MA)

A couple of more comments.

NEVER BURN PI! As a small child I became extremely ill-- requiring hospitilization from a neighbor's burn.

I am seriously allergic to the stuff and it carpets and overhangs in adjacent land. For 18 years I've been successfully keeping it at bay with Round-up carefully sprayed on a windless day (check the forecast for a dry spell) any time of year/day I have time for the job. A pair of P.I. dedicated loping sheers does the trick for keeping the climbing to a minimum. If you are vigilent and keep after it, in my case now only 1x per year, you can avoid mass over-spraying and having to get too deep into it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 9:24AM
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Another late post...Some things I've learned about PI:
a. Brush-B-Gone works better for me than R-Up. Sometimes takes 2-3 applications, esp later in the season. I have also seen some new products this year that say "Poison Ivy Killer", but I think it's either the same or beefed-up Brush-B-Gone (higher concentrate maybe). Not sure. I've not tried vinegar on PI but have on other weeds with limited success.
b. Get thee to a dermatologist and get some Clobetasol Propionate Gel (0.05%). Generic works ok. It's the best thing I've ever put on my PI rash, but sometimes takes more than a couple of days to totally disappear.
c. I've also used Octagon soap with limited success. The key is washing very soon after you think you've been exposed. I've also had pretty good luck washing up with anything that has pumice in it. Again, do it soon and often.
d. Some pharmacies are selling (for a mere $45 for a very small bottle) a de-sensitizer. My pharmacy is planning to track the progress of those using it this summer. It works sort of like an allergy shot. You put 15 drops in 6 oz of water and take once a week. I started in Feb (right after I had my first case of PI). Now I don't get really bad cases like my DH, but it seems to be helping. You might have to go to a compounding pharmacy and ask for this.
e. If you have a lot of woods, give up. You are NOT going to win this battle, so just learn to live with it. I have had some PI crop up in my foundation beds, etc even after 5 years. It just keeps coming. I stil keep trying though, especially in small areas at a time that I'm trying to keep naturalized. We gardener's just don't give up do we?
f. Hot water does help the itch for me too. Also, when you wash your clothes, use HOT water. Remember, the PI leaves an oil on your skin, and the hotter water helps some.

Thanks for all the advice, entertainment, etc I get with the Garden Forum.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 4:04PM
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Has anyone tried JEWEL WEED juice for PI rashes? I just eradicated mine in nearly a week with very minimal itching.
My last last poison ivy rash spread to my entire body and I was miserable for a month. This year I read about jewel weed
and my daughter had a big stand of it around the creek at her new house, so I tried it.
It is suggested to crush the stem, and rub it on the affected area, I did that and it was fine, but I also brewed a strong tea, boiled it for 20 minutes and steeped it for another twenty, then kept it in the fridge (it can also be frozen) that makes it easier to use. You re-apply it everytime you start itching (every 4 to 5 hours or so)and it leaves no unpleasant residu on the skin
The jewel weed is a mixed blessing since it is hugely invasive (though very easy to pull out) it seems to love every shady/damp spot here in georgia and reseeds like a demon, But I plan on keeping a small stand of it just to fight off our PI rashes

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 7:40AM
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JKS258(NC, Zone 7)

OK, short of being a horticulturist, I consider myself an expert on ATTEMPTS to get rid of poison ivy, oak & sumac. Note I said attempts. However, for the first year I think I've got some useful hints to contribute. First, I think getting rid of poison ivy isn't that tough if you're not trying to preserve the plants around it. I've used Roundup for years to kill everything short of a Sequoia. My challenge, and where the help sort of fades off in the outside world, is trying to kill POISON ivy (oak, sumac) while KEEPING the beautiful English Ivy that blankets 30% of my yard. First, a couple of humerous failures. We tried lovingly giving the PI leaves a sponge bath of Roundup, but too much loving and not enough time. We have bushels of leaves to bath. We dipped bandaids in Roundup and applied them to the leaves, hoping the soaked gauze would "feed" the leaf and kill it systemically. All that did was cause our neighbors to question our mental stability more than normal.

Next, two sure-fire ways to get rid of it... but the hard way. Before doing this, I treat Roundup like a live hand-grenade in a garden. If you aren't careful, you can kill off a civilization of greenery. The non-KomaKazi method of getting rid of PI is to put about 1" of Roundup in the bottom of a bucket (ideally low w/ a large diameter), place the bucket in the middle of a patch of PI and cousins PO & PS, then carefully collect the long flowing vines and curl them down into the bucket, making sure they go to the bottom, and making sure not to break the vines. If you have a LOT of vines per area, you might use the concentrate of Roundup and make it 2" or more deep. Again, the broader diameter bucket is best. I use a metal bucket we used to feed horses with. Once all vines are curled in, place a brick or something on top of the vines to hold them down for their "feeding." Make sure the bucket is VERY stable and won't turn over. Cover the bucket in plastic. Put 1x4s or something over the plastic to hold it down, then bricks or something to old the 1x4s down. All of the latter is to be sure wind & rain don't foil your poison day spa. Give this about 2-3 days of feeding all the way to the roots and that leg of the PI neighborhood will be gone. When done, CAREFULLY remove the weights and plastic, making sure no poison dew drips off of the plastic onto the rest of your garden. Take a pair of hedge trimmers, the big scissor type are best, and cut the vines that are down in the bucket all the way around the bucket, such that NO WET VINES COME OUT OF THE BUCKET. Carefully take the bucket with wet vines to a dirt, gravel or concrete area where you can take them out without worry that they will drip or run over to other plants. Once dried out, carefully (for you) put them wherever you put yard debris. Repeat this process for every area of vines you have. Yes, it's a pain, but it will get rid of it while saving your good vegetation.

KomaKazi Method
I'm highly allegic to all of the poison stuff, so I'm not taking this lightly. I'm also not a doctor, so I'm not advising you or telling you it's OK for you to do it. But it is what I've done many times, and it too works (it's faster for those that have no patience). Do the best you can covering up (boots, long socks, long pants, long sleeves, gloves, etc.), DO be sure to cover your eyes, since PI in the eyes is a different matter. Get a good sharp pair of hand trimmer/prunners, have a large trashcan and plenty of trashbags ready for debris, jump in and go after that stuff like Edward Scissor Hands. Trace each branch back to the root. As much as possible, dig up the root. If you cut the vine too close to the ends, you'll cover up the trail to the root. Dig down to that mother and dig it out of the ground like a beaver. The sense of victory you'll feel holding up a 1" diameter PI vine will stay with you the entire time you're in the hospital (kidding). I still have one hanging on my fence that I brag about to visitors. I don't fish, so it's like my 8-pound bass on the wall (but not as manly).

Now you might say, "I'm going to get infected like an alien with poison everything" Well, you may to some degree, but there's good news in three forms, and you should have them all on hand before you start.

1. Fels Naptha soap. Keep it outside and wash all exposed parts of your body (and later your tools) with it as frequently as you can, at least at every break. Keep it away from your eyes though, it's strong stuff. This will get a lot of the PI oils off before they can take effect while you're working. If you wait until the end of the day, you'll get infected for sure. When done for the day, use Fels again in the shower, washing any parts that might have been exposed (careful with Fels around the eyes). Do this at least twice, use a hand brush on your hands and arms. Then wash the Fels off with regular soap (Fels ain't Dove soap!).

Also, Fels is hard to find, so here's a link to where I get it:

2. If you DO have a PI outbreak, Zanfel will work for all topical infections, and it will knock it out in a day or two. It's over the counter at the drug store, but expensive, about $40 for a tube of cream.

3. If you're REALLY allergic as I am, then you'll likely get infected systemically. For that, there's only one solution in my book, Prednisone. Yes, it's a steriod, and of course prescription, but it's cheap and will start working by the next day if you're already infected, and will be gone in days! Knowing I'm going to be in the Ivy patch this time every year, I just take the Prednisone the day I start the work, then I can use my favorite of all methods, the KomaKazi Method.

Having said and used ALL of these or some combination, while working IN the Ivy yesterday, my neighbor of five years comes over, who I've only spoken two words to before then and says, "Do you mind if I kill some of the Poison Ivy over on the boundary between our properties?" I thought he was joking. I asked how he was going to do that without killing the English Ivy? Here is what appears to be the Holy Grail.

My neigbor says that if you use BRUSH-Be-Gone by Ortho, and carefully spot-spray the poison leaves with a slight spray (not stream, not mist), that it will kill the poison plant, and only damage a few leaves of the English Ivy around, which will recover. Part of this I suppose is the length of the English Ivy vines vs. those of the Poison, so the English is harder to wipe out with a single spray.

So, there you go, the good, the bad and the ugly of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac as I know it. If the Brush-Be-Gone works as well for me as it has for my neighbor, who now has no Poison Ivy, I'll be a happy gardener! Of course now I want to POISON my neighbor for not telling me this before NOW!! Good luck, Jay...

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 10:50AM
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I concur on the effectiveness of Ortho Brush-B-Gon against poison ivy (it's the herbicide I've used the most on poison ivy).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 4:03PM
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earthern(z3-4 swOH)

goodearth, jewelweed, or touch-me-nots work when you are first exposed and the rash firast developes, afterwards it only kills the itch (in my experiance, and ive had lots of poison ivy/oak). plantain it suposed to kill the rash, but i havent tried it. i had also noticed that poison ivy didnt grow where the jewelweed was, but i found this not to be true this year.
good luck, and happy pulling

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 5:11PM
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adirondackgardener(Western Maine)

For some reason, it doesn't seem to grow up here in the Northern Adirondacks. Not sure if it just hasn't spread into the High Peaks area, or the 40 below temps kill it or if our very shallow soil on top of sand won't support it.

Not complaining, mind you. Since moving here, this is the first time in my life that I can go out into the garden or into the woods and not have to closely examine every handfull of stuff I pick up to avoid the serious reaction I am prone to have.

Never heard of jewelweed as a remedy, but it is good to know just in case.

Wayne (rash-free) in the Adks.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 11:54AM
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aimerica(z5 OH)

I have been fairly successful in getting rid of the poison ivy that grows in the little wooded strip we have but I've discovered a new problem: poison ivy is now growing over and throughout the pile of our firewood. How do I rid the woodpile of the PI without risking a hazard when later burning the wood? Can I use Round-up or another product without having this risk? Help!!!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 7:16AM
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Interesting question. I don't believe that there would be any risk from combustion products from Roundup used in the way you described. The MSDS fire fighting information doesn't flag anything of high concern. It states decomposition products may include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen and phosphorus, but I imagine these would be in miniscule amounts in your scenario, and would be dwarfed by normal wood combustion output. Another toxicological summary stated: "Combustion of glyphosate and potential exposures to combustion products is discussed in the paper on exposure. Even with worst case assumptions neither glyphosate itself nor its products of combustion, all of which are chemicals commonly encountered in industry, will reach concentrations that are more than a small fraction of allowable workplace standards."!publish/Dost_Papers/6-Dost-Glyphosate.pdf

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 10:57PM
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Jewelweed is a native member of the impatiens family (Impatiens capensis).

I had to laugh when I read that someone is trying to kill poison ivy but not the "beautiful English ivy" in their yard. Boy, can THAT be a pest. I know the PNW has a real problem with it and we've got some older areas of Atlanta that are almost smothered in it. And some people are just as sensitive to the oils in English ivy as they are to the ones in poison ivy.

The best way I've found to kill it is to spray it with Brush Be Gone (with is the round up equivalent for woody plants) about 3 years in a row. The first application kills some of it, but it takes repeated sprayings to kill it off. Of course the birds will keep dropping seeds, so you won't be free of it entirely.

Of course, spray when it is dry and rain is not forecast for the next day or two. You can add a little dishsoap to the mixture to help it cling to the leaves.

If you accidentially spray something else, just nip off the foliage that you sprayed so it does not enter the plant's system.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 7:13AM
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I guess I'm 1 of the lucky ones......When I was about 13 yrs. old I got the hives from poison ivy (that's what the doctor told me ; it was pretty bad I had it on my stomach,and waist......He gave me a shot of something,and after that;till this day: I can grab poison ivy bare handed,pull it out,and only end up with a little on my hands and arm,

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 3:19PM
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Try this one I read about in an old timers gardening book. Use a medium size coffee can (or other container) with lid. Poke a hole in the lid and fill with round-up. Pull down the poison ivy vine (still attached by the roots and put the top into the can. It will slowly draw the round up into the vine, all the way to the roots. Having the lid on will keep it from spilling, as it has to be left there a while. But then no bother with spraying and killing other stuff.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 9:50AM
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this is more for preventing the effects of poison ivy/oak. I have always been VERY allergic to both until I was advised to take Benedryl before going outside...and it works! I won't say that I could get out and roll in it with no effects (who would do that, anyway?) but I can work in my yard, even around the dreaded PI and PO plants...with so far no ill effects. Of course, a hot bath with Dial soap after being outside probably helps also.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 4:10PM
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Hello there -
my wife and I just bought a new "old" house with beautiful oak trees all around. (We live in North Texas.) When we started the remodeling in Feb, I noticed a thick, woodsy, hairy vine (probably 2 in. diameter) going up on of the trees. Now, that the vegatation is exploding, the vine has little branches on it with three green, more or less jagged leaves... and I'm starting to panic. It looks a lot like poison ivy. If it is, I need to kill it. If not, I will let it live. But what's the ultimate test to tell whether it is or not??? I am not a botanist.

I've seen several pictures at
that look similar. But I've never seen PI on this scale. Half my oak tree looks swamped by it. The vines goes up 60 ft probably.

Can you help?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 3:12PM
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get out the Roundup, kraut. that's poison oak. got tons of it I'm battling down here

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 5:04PM
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rokoku(z6b PA)

I practice the manual removal method in my yard, followed by brush killer on plants that have their roots anchored in rocky areas or under my driveway. this method is feasible is you aren't supersensitive and have less than an acre or so. I asked the birds to quit bringing the stuff back, but they ignore me. A key part of my strategy is not harming the virginia creeper while getting rid of the poison ivy. Virginia creeper fills the same niche as PI, and will fill in areas where PI is removed if left unharmed. Other cultivation of the cleared area is also important. If you kill PI in an area that it thrives in without altering the growing conditions or planting competitors it will just come back.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 11:32AM
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I thought this was a woodland gardening site.If all you people cant leave your houses without being armed to the teeth with the latest herbicide,or toxic chemical du juor,maybe you should stay indoors.The enviroment can,t sustain the assault.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 2:40AM
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Hey y'all

I read this whole thing. Whoa. Popular subject! My wife and I recently moved to southwest Virginia. We moved in January and didn't realize the extent of the PI here until it recently showed leaves. We have 25 acres and LOTS of PI. The big hairy stuff growing high into black locust trees, sprouts all over. It's distressing. We both got a mild case about a month ago from who knows where. Probably some "dormant" stems from clearing and trimming around.

I was surprised that I didn't read much about building immunity to it here. I've learned a couple of things since moving here. Someone told us that if you eat LOCAL honey it acts homeopathically to help build immunity through the minute quanitites of pollen. Also, there is a homeopathic remedy called rhus tox, which is supposed to help buld immunity and also help cure an outbreak. There are different strengths and dosages for each situation which you can find on the web.

I had a friend who was very allergic to PO. He, being a nuturalist and believing in homeopathics, ate a small bit of a leaf, reacted with difficulty in breathing, but afterward has had zero sensitivity. It's kind of like a vaccine. I'm thinking the grandpa who ate the berries may have been not so off the mark.

I've been doing the honey thing and been lopping vines and hoeing small plants and haven't gotten it again yet. My wife even took a weed wacker to it! I thought that was asking for trouble. So far so good though. Stay tuned! If I do get it I'm going to try plantain which I've used on insect bites and stings with great success. It's a weed that grows everywhere. Just chew up a leaf and spit it out with your saliva and slather it on as a pultice.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 10:20PM
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In September 05, out of boredom, I decided to prune/ weed some overgown areas in my backyard. I made the stupid mistake of wearing peddle pushers and a short sleeve shirt. I know what PI looks like but thought that I wasn't allergic to it. I am 30 yrs old and never, ever had PI before, especially all of the camping, hiking and traipsing through the woods that I have done. Over the next couple of days I developed small (very very small, smaller then a mosquito bite) areas of red itchy skin. It took a full 3 weeks before my legs and arms exploded with a blistery oozy rash. I used almost every topical cream, (except the expensive ones) the creams didn't work , then I had to get a precription for an oral steroid. That worked, but all the areas where my skin was clear, I broke out in hives, I think this was due to the steriods.
Anyway, what I didn't know, until last week, was that those big hairy vines, crawling up a dozen or so trees were actually PI. How stupid was I, I hacked these with a machete, chain sawed them etc. These vines are, without exaggeration, 20 feet high, at least, and in some cases 3-4 inches in diameter.
I have read in previous posts about digging down and removing the root. Since my husband and I cut alot of the vines last year it seems that they have not flowered yet this year. I am assuming that even if the vine is dead, the oil may still be active. I would like to spray the vines on the trees, I am not a fan of harsh chemicals or herbicides ( I have well water) and I surely do not want to kill the tree. I would also like to remove the dead portions of the vines. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 9:57AM
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This will be a constant battle. Spray, spray, spray every little tiny peice you see in your area and the ten feet surrounding it.

Clothing even after 5 washes can still contain traces of plant oils. I've known someone that got the rashes every year when it would get cold. It was because he was using the same pullover in the fall that had been in great contact with poison ivy. Though the pull-over was washed several times he still got rashes from it. Scratching spreads it and can cause scars. Anti-itch creams like for chiggers and ivy work well for night time relief. The hot water helps the itch because it releases the histamines in the skin instantly, but the itching will come back when the histamines have time to build up again. Bathing/soaking areas in hot comfrey tea works wonders and helps to heal the rashes faster. Basically, never scratch or you could have rashes all over your body for a very, very long time. But, try telling that to a 7 year old. lol

Good tips on rash prevention (like not taking a bath to remove contact oils since the oils float all over your body on the surface of the water) and more reading here:

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 7:32PM
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I'm new to the list although it has been extremely educational to read the posts here.

I moved into our house last fall and have discovered that we have a bad case of PI along a wooded fence row that splits our property with a neighboring corn field.

We have found plants all through our horse pasture and riding ring and was wondering, can I control the immediate area by keeping the grass mowed down, while I attack the mother vines? I ask because I see no signs of PI in my yard, yet its in the unmowed pasture.

Also, I read about the use of an axe to cut the vines for poisoning, but what about a chain-saw? Is there a reason not to use, such as spreading the PI by the wood chips or spraying the oil by the chain spinning...or is a chain-saw OK. I'm kinda soft when I think of axing all those vines.

Thanks for all the great tips.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 8:47AM
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"what about a chain-saw?" - takman

NOOOO!!! What ever you do never ever use a power tool to cut poison ivy vines. You'll instantly splatter the juice and oils all over the surrounding area and you. There is also the possiblity of raising a mist of juice in the air. If you inhale it you'll more than likely end up in the hospital. Same goes for any smoke from the burning vines.

If you must cut it then use something low-tech and low-impact. Use long shears, tree limb shears, or other levering cutter. Cut slowly on any vine over 1/4th an inch.

You should really go to the link I posted just above your post:

It tells all about PI and has stories from other people. There are also picuters of different looking poison ivy plants and pictures of what happens when people allergic to it come into contact with it.

Remember, if you are not allergic to it and do not get the rash, your frineds and loved ones might. If you get the oils on you and then spread it around the house friend and family might not like that too well.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 5:59PM
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Believe me.. this is a true story,last Tuesday May 16th.2006,I had surgery on my hand
and all came out fine except, we (the doc's and I) thought I had a reaction to the meds because I broke out with a rash early the next morning on my and blistery...well, I got to the local doc's office and they changes my meds( we're still thinking surgery related) for 2 days then Thursday, I met with the surgeon..he thought it looked like poison ivy but we changed the meds again and he put a warm wet splint cast on my arm and away I went home ..well,let me tell you before I got home my hand and wrist area REALLY started itching and you know where the story is going????? yes.. I did indeed search my memory and remembered that Sunday (before the surgery) I went fiddleheading, and dug up wild flowers ..mowed a new patch of lawn..and yes, indeed today, Monday the 22,2006... I saw a doctor who said yep, you got a hellova dose of poison ivy on you.....(eight day later we figure it out!)Oh, the story of my life from my legs ALL THE WAY to my neck (let me tell you there's alot of me between the knee to neck area) ,mostly the sever part is my right wrist and arm, and yes it was my right hand that had the operation.... I'm such a pretty site!!!!(and no, there will be no pic's included!) Got to tell you after 25 years with husband, Jeff, he seems to be staying on his side of the bed quite well now! So the moral of this story is look out for Tuesday's for it take 12-48 hours for poison ivy to appear... All is OK and now, I find this last whole week just a humerous story ,got to tell you though,any new scratching that needs to be attended to, really makes me pay attention!
Cindy L. Jackson Maine

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 8:35PM
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I've just read almost every posting on the page and still have one question. I, like many of the posters, have a number of locust trees here in central VA with forearm-thick poison ivy vines growing 15-30 feet up them. I am planning on taking action against them using a low-impact method and taking all the necessary precautions. The question, however, is this: Once I deal with the vines by cutting them, can I use the above-mentioned products (like Round-Up or Brush-b-Gone) WITHOUT doing any damage to the trees? The point for me, of dealing with the PI is to help the trees, they seem to have taken a beating from the PI. So, do I just cut the vines and deal with them that way, or do I cut them and then also apply some herbicide that will be safe for the locust trees?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 9:45PM
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I, too, have been successful at controlling poison ivy plants using Roundup (also Ortho Brush-B-Gone.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 4:03PM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

Do not get allergy shots, or vaccinations if you have a poison ivy rash or your body can overreact to the shot.

Young box elder seedlings and shoots look a lot like poison ivy. The leaf form is almost identical. However box elder has 3-leaflet sets opposite each other on the stem unlike poison ivy. A lot of poison ivy has reddish stems.

regular, not ultra, Palmolive dish soap is very good to remove poison ivy, and it isn't as hard on the skin as Fels Naptha. I use Palmolive dishsoap diluted in water to clean my garden tools, followed by an oiling if needed.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 6:55PM
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We have been battling several acres of poison ivy here in New Hampshire
for the past 5 years. We discovered that mowing does not do much if you
only cut several times a year. Our goats help somewhat but they are
browsers and are anything but thorough. We don't believe in using
chemicals so that option is out of the question.

What has worked is hand pulling and intensive grazing. Root systems in
certain areas seem to pull up easily and in no time we had mountains of
roots drying in the sun. What little that does grow back can be easily
pulled the next time round.

In our pasture areas, putting lots of animals on a small space and
allowing them to graze it down to putting green length has worked wonders.
We got a new horse last spring who seems to enjoy eating poison ivy and would
happily clean up whatever anyone else left behind. After just one summer,
huge areas of persistent PI have vanished and only grass has returned this year.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 10:46AM
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I recently began helping a friend's mother reclaim her ~1 acre yard in southeast MA after many years of neglect after her divorce. I've battled the dreaded PI for 2 summers, only about 4 times per summer and have had quite a bit of success.

The Ivy was coming in from the neighbor's yard which is home to dozens of 5-8" thick hairy monsters climbing 40' into unsuspecting trees and even up their garage. It was easy to track how it all spread, and the surrounding woods and stone walls are just smothered in the stuff. The first thing I did last year was suit up and saw through the neighbor's vines that were overhanging the yard, spreading thousands of berries annually. Some areas in the yard had vines growing up oak trees and through some arbor vitae, so I used some good loppers and cut every one of them. I didn't treat any of the stumps I cut, but none of them have shown any signs of regrowth. Areas where there are runners covering the ground I sprayed with good old roundup in a 2 gal sprayer. I used the super concentrate which is just 50.2% Glyphosate:

with good/great results, and have since switched to their poison ivy killer which has 2% Triclopyr (what's in brush b gone) and 18% Glyphosate (regular roundup):

which does a little better job on larger woodier runners. I would probably have used Brush B Gone, but I never happened upon it at stores, and the less potent products were working quite well. I used almost double the potency suggested for the super concentrate, and found it worked quite a bit better than regular dilution.

I should note that these both claim "rainproof in 30 minutes", and this seems to be nearly true. I had it rain pretty hard about 45 minutes after I finished spraying, and everything I sprayed that day still died in 2 weeks.

There is still work involved in collecting the dead branches off of trees and a shed, and we're throwing down a good 4" of loam over most of the areas previously covered by low runners to avoid bagging a half acre of dead PI, but I have not had one itch due to PI (although many due to mosquito bites while out in the yard). I'm confident I can teach my friend's mother to spray any new plants, and I can assure her she won't have to touch a bit of the stuff (oh, does she ever break out).

Anyway, the PI problem is under control now, but will never really disappear from that yard until new neighbors appear and all the surrounding woodland is transformed into suburbia. I'll take the PI any day.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 4:21PM
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What do I do after I spray PI with Round Up? When is it safe for people to walk through or play in the area? I don't know if I'm allergic or not but my husband and at least one of my five children are. I afraid to let my children (all under nine) go near the trees in our yard until I know it's safe. I've been spraying over the past month and most of the leaves are brown.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 5:09PM
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After a childhood of seemingly being ammune to PI -- we used to walk through patches of it at my grandparents cottage in Northern Ontario -- I have had repeated brushes with it the last couple of summers in Southern NH. There's about a 10-15 wide by 50-60 foot long patch of it immediately behind (which used to extend onto) my yard. Apparently, we must also have the vine and/or bush varieties around here too, as 2 of the cases I have gotten over the last couple of months have resulted from wanders in the woods, rather than work at the back of our property.

The Rhuli gel someone spoke about above -- rebranded by J&J as Oak & Ivy Calagel -- will work to dry your rash out. But it didn't seem to do much for the itch. Two things that have successfully kept the itch down are (1) an antihistamine every 6-8 hours & (2) Gold Bond Extra Strength lotion -- in the green bottle, about $7 at Wal-Mart for a 14 oz pump. A healty application of the lotion will soothe the itch for up to 6, even 8, hours. It lets you get through the night and helps tame the itch while at work...whether you're taking a steriod or not.

My experience seems to suggest that washing with dishsoap after you come in is also helpful. I always scrub my hands and forearms with dishsoap and a nail cleaning brush when I come in from doing anything in the garden. None of my PI rash has been below the elbows.

What I am wondering, though, is whether you can use "plant warfare" as a long-term solution? In effect, crowd out the plants by introducing something else (the same way purple loostrife takes over in marshes) ?? The area with the PI isn't on my property, so I'm not about to go plant and maintain grass there, or put a lot of time and money into spraying it to oblivion. So I'm interested in some other low/no-maintenance alternative...

For instnace, daylillies grow and multiply very well here. A couple of rhyzomes can grow into a dense ball of fibrous roots in just a couple of years. Based on the transplanting I've done (I've harvested all of my lily plants from the side of the road!), they seem tough as nails and will grow (though not flower, or flower as much) in full shade and a wide variety of soil & moiture conditions. But would they outcompete the PI ????

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 1:07PM
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Hello everyone!
This has been a goldmine of information. I've been taking notes on what to do to protect us and kill the poison ivy from our yard. My husband has had several cases of p.i. outbreak since his initial one several years ago and on the last one he had driven his riding lawnmower too close to our fig trees and scratched his arm pretty bad. To our surprise he developed a severe case of poison ivy from that! We found out that fig tree is in the same family or related somehow. We also visit the Virgin Islands on vacation and have discovered (second hand thank goodness!) that mango is also related in some way and that several people who were already suseptable to p.i. had had very bad cases from touching the skin and juice of the mango! I pass up the mangos in Walmart now and have cut down our small fig trees. Just thought I'd pass this information on in case it helped someone.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:00AM
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we have poison oak, which is similar. i'm from minnesota, though, and we had it there in abundance. i work outdoors, doing restoration of native habitat, and come into contact nearly daily with poison oak. here's my advice:

1) when exposed, use Technu (hardware stores usually sell it) to removal the oils, but this must be done within one hour of exposure because the oils soak into the dermal layer (below the outer surface of your skin) by then, and you'll get the rash regardless of how well you scrub. follow the directions (apply soap to skin before water, etc.). i usually do it twice. the forearms are very absorbent and you can get a case systemically because of all the vascular tissues there. i usually get it in the creases of my elbows, but have had it MUCH worse places. some people believe in gradually adjusting your body by using it to make tea. i think this is a bad idea, as thraot tissues can absorb the oils and become inflamed, as well.
2) foliar application of roundup to PO (poison oak) doesn't usually have 100% efficacy because it 'burns' the leaves without translocation into the root/stem tissue well enough to kill the plant. i recommend using a cut-stump application (cut the stem, then paint on the chemical immediately). MAKE SURE YOU WEAR NITRILE GLOVES. latex doesn't provide a sufficient barrier for herbicides. the label will tell you what "personal protective equipment" is necessary. there are other options aside from glyphosate (roundup), some are thick and applied to bark, some are oil-based, etc. be choosy and specific about what you use. herbicides are formulated according to physiology of specific plants, and vary in safety for people applying them.
*NOTE: the formulation available commercially is much stronger than roundup pro, so i recommend looking up the MSDS/label on the web and reading the entire thing. you should know what you're spreading in the environment, especially if you have wildlife or water nearby. a dilution may be necessary, and the label will give directions by species (or call the toll-free info number and ask them).*

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 9:22PM
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It has been mentioned a couple of times by others with no response so let me try it again. For small patches of poison Ivy, just cover it up with a large tarp. Even posion ivy can not live without light. Round up works as well as the often mentioned brush killer but, it must be made into a stronger concentration. If you buy the super concentrated formulation in the larger sizes, a gallon or more, it is much cheaper than the brush killer. Try putting full strength Round Up immediately on the large vines that climb trees where you have cut in the spring when the plants are actively growing. This sometimes kills the plants and prevents shoots from popping out from the roots. You can use a small hand held sprayer that was used for glass cleaner for example, one of the better hand held sprayers that has a lever used often by janitorial services or, use a paint brush. This also works well with trees that have a tendency to sprout from the trunk such as Sweet Gum or Maple. As a veteran of the PI wars, I have found some success with these methods.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 6:57PM
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The insidious poison ivy vine sneaks up a tree.Oh, the humanity!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 3:01PM
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Very informative thread -- I've learned a lot. My specific question concerns the aerial PI vines, thick and hairy, that have attached to our tallest pines and go way up. I have a healthy respect for this nasty stuff and plan to kill it with triclopyr, then dig the roots (although I am amazed at how the roots travel and branch out. This will be a long-term project), bag them, and take them to the dump. BUT HOW TO GET RID OF THE HAIRY THINGS GROWING UP THE TREES? Some of them actually jump to neighboring trees (we're in central NC). I know the urushiol stays active for a long time after the PI is dead, so want to handle them as little as possible. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Itchy_2007

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 3:48PM
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This is what I do and it works.

I buy generic Round-Up (glyphosate) in 41% concentrate (that is the common agricultural pre-blend strength). You can buy it most often in 2.5ga containers at Farm stores (TSC, Farm&Fleet, etc). With Monsanto's patent on glyphosate expired this chemical has dramatically come down in price. I would never buy "Round-Up" again at a Lowe's or Home Depot, WalMart, etc. Not when generic is so cheap. You may be able to find it this year in gallon containers at about $20 per.(again, for 41% concentrate).

I add water to the 41% glypho to achieve a 5% concentration (the booklet that comes with the container gives measures. I then spray all ground PI with this 5% mix. I have also added a couple table-spoons per gallon of Tide non-sudsing detergent as a surfactant additive to help the plants absorb the spray.

5% kills all ground cover PI within 10days to two weeks...quicker if done during real hot weather. A 4% mix will do it too but not as effectively.

For the long ropy vertical vines ----and I have plenty of them (or HAD plenty) ---I use a long machete to sever the vine close to the base. I then used a small hand held commercial-grade sprayer to apply the pure glyphosate (the 41% concentrate) to the cut stump.

I do most of my vine PI work in mid to late July after the flowers have set....and then right up to about October 1st. I then just leave the vines to rot off the tree. It takes about 3yrs. I have gotten a rash from these dead vines in the second year after the treatment....but it seems to be mild dose. Sometimes with this ropy vine treatment I'll go back the following summer and give the base of the tree a quick spray of 5% solution to kill the small vines than come off of the cut stump. But then it is dead for good. Seems to not come back again in that spot.

With the ground cover PI I spray whenever the new leaves are bright green and glossy. Again, I try to pick a hot it appears to aid in the plant's absorption of the chemical.

Your normal precautions when handling chemicals or PI apply: With the machete I button my collar & cuffs, wear good gloves, a bandana around my exposed neck, and keep a bottle of water in my back pocket for a quick wash in case a flying PI chip hits my face.

And then as far as the rash: Yes, hot water is cheap & quick relief. But nothing works (for me) like Zanfel.

PS....for those folks who grasp the roots and pull them out by hand.....well, good luck. I wouldn't try that on a bet...ever. The only contact I want with PI is at the end of the machete.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 10:51PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

Swimming in a commercial chlorine pool work great to dry it up fast. I used to work at a pool and saw this all the time, as well as experiencing it myself. It's not just a dab as you would do with bleach on a cloth, when you go swimming you are in there foar at least 1/2 hour.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 10:22AM
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A friend told me that you could kill poison ivy plants by spraying them with a mixture of ivory liquid soap and water. I have read most of the posts on this site and have not seen anything about such a remedy.

Is this an urban myth, or is there something to it.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 5:07PM
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bluebars(7 MD)

Ivory liquid soap and water ...hmmm... I doubt it. But hey, try it and let us know. If it doesn't work, at least the PI will be very clean.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 1:16PM
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I might have discovered the ultimate PI killer, as well as other weeds. I am in the draft beer service business, and I decided to try my draft line cleaner, along with some salt and dish soap. Just to see what would happen. Well, I was overjoyed with the results. I made the first application late in the afternoon, and the next morning the leaves were brown on the tips and starting to shrivel. So a few days later, I made another application in the early am. By 6 pm the leaves were back...and could be crushed in your hand...3 weeks later...and no new growth if anything. The chemical make up of beer line cleaner is sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. My solution was 16 oz of beer line cleaner, quarter cup salt and a small bit of dish soap to 2 gallons of Hot water. It will kill what ever it hits. So be careful. You can get beer line cleaner on the internet or at any place that sells draft beer equipment. A quart will cost about $13 or so. Now no long term trials have been I don't know if I have sterilized my soil. Hope this helps everyone.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:17PM
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if you go to you can buy an extract to take before the season starts, and it will elinate or greatley reduce the effects. there ia also a lotion over the counter thatis appproved by the us food and drug admin. call bentoquatam that you apply on exposed skin 15 minute before coming in contac with poision ivy. i am a slow typer sorry. have a great day and hopes this helps

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 4:47PM
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We have a few plants and some runners at our church. I sprayed it today with RoundUp, but I'm wondering what else I can do. I cannot tear it down because I'm so allergic to it. The runners have grown on an abandoned house's siding and are growing sideways on this house. I sprayed the stuff out of 'em with the Roundup, but wonder what more I need to do. The RoundUp I bought was in a large container, ran about $13 and has a nozzle attached to the bottle that you simply "snap" in place.

I *have* to get rid of this stuff. We will be tearing the abandoned house down this coming spring. Any advice? And also what do I do with the vines and such that we pulled from the house and had planned on burning? Thanks!

BTW, we are *not* going to burn it now, due to the wonderful advice y'all gave. It's hard to believe how deadly this stuff can be!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 12:21AM
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Hi..i am new here and have read all the wonderful things and ways to kill the poison ivy. I know it is so hard to kill and i sure do wish some company would come out with something that would only kill the PI. The house next door to me has a lot of PI and this summer with the strong storm we had it knocked down the tree that had at least a 2-3 inch vines on it. I was glad to see that part of the PI gone but he has so much that it has been growing up so badly by the side of my garage.
I am like most of you here highly allergic to PI and i do get severe cases like tis yr i got it and then i got the hives with it also and it took about a month to get over it. That sure was no fun at all and expensive too going back and forth to the Dr.
I wil have to say that i have used the BRUSH BE GONE FOR PI AND ROUND UP HERE and i can tell you that if you use it a couple of yrs in a row the PI gets use to it. I have been fighting this PI for a lot of yrs now...i use not to be allergic to it but had gotten my first case about 10 yrs ago or so and the dr told me that what happens is that our imune system changes when we get older and i have found that to be so true...
I am going to try some of the things i have read here to try and get rid of the PI on my property.....BUT I SURE DO HOPE THAT SOMEONE CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT WE COULD BUY TO GET RID OF IT PERMANENTLY AFTER ONE SEASON. LET ME KNOW IF ANY FINDS ANYTHING OUT..

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 6:51PM
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Ok, I'm going to try this again...

to Brightwood and anyone else with a PI rash,

Thank you so much!!!! I have been up all night in tears with the severe itch of poison ivy that I got in the woods chasing a runaway kid (I work at a residential treatment facility). Nothing had worked including the Ivy Dry my avid gardner father swears by and the doc's scripts. I went to an all night CVS and picked up ZANFEL.

YOU ARE MY HERO. Honest to goodness.

I have no more itch. I can actually sleep. I really cannot thank you enough! It's expensive, but totally worth it! Thank you thank you thank you!

Bless you, and have a wonderful and PI free day

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 3:27AM
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Hi I am new to this site and have found it to be very helpful. I personally ahve never had a reaction to PI and I am 41 But my husband gets it 4-5 times a year. He has a very bad case right now . He has gone to the doctors and got a shot and 2 meds. After he got the shot the rash has gotten so much worse. Anyone know why? He just put the medicated powder on it and he says that works better than the cream he got from the doc. Thanks for all the info.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 1:41PM
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I have never had a rash b/c I have only seen the plant about 3 times until recently.I learned what it looked like in scouts,and have heard horror stories from my parents,so I have always stayed way clear of it, until recently while doing some long overdue yard work for my great aunt.
My great Aunt has about 15 HUGE rose bushes in back of her house,growing up about 2/3 of the 3 story house,extending about 20 ft into the yard,about 8ft tall at the edge,and severely infested with Poisen Ivy.
I don't wish to kill the rose bushes but I will if I have to...A group of kids decided to pick flowers for their moms for the 4th of July,and ALL got bad rashes.
If anybody has ANY advice to save the bushes but out the IVY,please let me know....and thankyou all for your time

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 11:10PM
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Now that I am working on getting rid of my poison ivy, any suggestions on how to prevent my neighbor's PI from encroaching? He's trying, too, but it doesn't seem to be a committed effort.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 1:41AM
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Poison Ivy is covering my fence line at my new home and I have three dogs who love to roll in it and rub against it and then against me. I do not want to have to be washing them down each and every time they come in from outside.

But I am highly sensitive to all the poison plants so right now I am battling a rash that will not go away went to doctor and am now on the steroid pills and tropical cream treatment. My immune system has no defense over them any more, each outbreak last longer and is more severe and I do not want to be on steroids for the rest of my life.

I read in the earlier posting where pureeing the Impatients plants except for the roots and boiling them and using it as a suave to help with get rid of the rash

But has anyone tried this concoction as a way of eliminating the plants themselves? What about pouring the concoction directly on the existing poison ivy plants to kill the bushes and vines has anyone tried this?? Do you think it would help eliminate the bushes and keep them from coming back?

I was also thinking about planting the Impatients next to my fence line where the poison Ivy is so that the Impatients take over that area, do you think it would coke out the ivy prevent them from coming back??
Has anyone tried this? I am thinking of sacrificing some Impatients tonight if I can find some, my friend also suggested just pouring boiling water on the plants to kill them might try that too. Thinking outside the box here and need some old time remedies and solutions, I dont do the chemicals around my animals if I can help it.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 4:37PM
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Use the new Round Up Poison Ivy spray..It works.I have ivy all around my house and have used the Round up.It killed the plant and killed the other ivy plants that are connected..This spray has been a god send.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 12:16PM
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I think that anyone who pulls poison ivy with their bare hands or even gloved hands and advises others to do the same thing is not very sensitive to poison ivy. I have a poison ivy root growing in my favorite lettuce bed and will have to find another place to plant lettuce or kill the root because I have now gotten a rash twice from planting lettuce there both times. Someone has asked what to do with the hairy vines that grow up the trees. Others have described elaborate and expensive plans to rid many acres of the vines assuming that everyone who reads this thread has the same endless supply of time, resources and wealth. I lost my job as a hotel maid, and now I am growing watermelons on my mother's property to sell them at roadside markets. While I wait for the watermelon vines to grow, I have to cut limbs from a nearby tree to get sunlight to the watermelon bed. That tree has hairy poison ivy vines growing up it, and I need to find the most inexpensive plan to rid the tree of that vine because I may have to climb the tree to cut a branch. So what did I do today while I surveyed how I would get the branch cut? I used my pruning shears and cut the vine at the base. Bleach is cheap, and after reading this thread I will use the bleach that I already have on hand to soak that vine's stump to see what it does to it. I will cut all the vines that look like they can be removed with the same cutting shears and throw the vines over a fence. I have no magic formula for removing the vine and I am afraid of the plastic bag idea because it sounds like too much handling, and some of the stuff might rub against me in spite of my best efforts to avoid it. Benedryl taken before the venture sounds like a cool idea, and now that I know this, I might get brave and try more stuff. I already have some of that on hand. Fred's Dollar Store has an imitation Zanfel in a white box with blue and green and black letters that only cost $5. However, I do not have that much cash in my pocket at this time. Furthermore, Freds Dollar Store is located in I think about fifteen states, but I am sure there is some inexpensive imitation Zanfel in a store like it near you. I don't know what I will do with that cut vine either, but I know it did not cost me anything to cut it. The cheapest way that I have tried to get urushiol off my pruning shears was to stand them up in the dirt beneath my feet because I figured that it rubs off into the dirt. I do not know if it worked because I have not touched the blade since I did that, but you can't beat it for a cheap idea.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 4:31PM
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I have personally found Round Up to be of no big help. The poision ivy just keeps coming back. The BEST course of action I have taken that has worked wonders is using a garden rake-with about 4 metal tines? I take it and rake near the poision ivy in all directions around it. This inevitably pulls up the vine that is connected and running on the surface of the ground but is hidden from my sight by grass/weeds. I keep pulling! This usually takes me to another poision ivy center popping up above the grass.

The stuff on my property has all grown in this manner, and if yours is similar you should have luck with this technique. Only AFTER pulling up the roots (I wrap them around the rake while pulling), I spray them with round up and bag them in a garbage bag. DON'T burn them! It spread the oil in the air and is dangerous. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 2:03PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I've had excellent results getting rid of poison ivy with RoundUp. The generic glyphosate is much less expensive if you have to tackle a large area. If RoundUp didn't work for you, I'd guess that either your mixture was too weak (never use the premixed, ready-to-spray stuff recommended for easy-to-kill grass) or your RoundUp was bad (old, contaminated by dirty mixing water, etc). Also, time of year can make some difference. My success rate getting rid of massive amounts of this plant with RoundUp is way too good for me to doubt its effectiveness.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 7:26PM
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For those of you who don't know, poison ivy can be transmitted to the skin via air, (wind) smoke, and probably in other ways. You do not have to touch it to get a good dose of it. I have it in my woods too, and found that Round-up will work to kill it out, but you have to give it about three good doses. I also found out that when I have touched the plant, or otherwise come in contact with it, that a good sit in the hot tub with highly chlorinated water will keep an outbreak from happening. It seems the chlorine kills it on the skin before it has time to create the rash. Maybe using Chlorine granules such as is used in hot tubs would be a good wash for arms and legs even if you don't have a hot tub. Just fill a bucket with hot water, add the granules until they dissolve, and wash thoroughly rubbing the skin gently with this solution. Hope this works for you, let me know.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 10:11PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I'd suggest at least taking a good shower before getting into the hottub. I've hard of people spreading the urushiol in the tub. I can just imagine introducing it into a hottub and then having a family member jump in and get it on them. I have no idea if/how chlorine would break up the urushiol, but it wouldn't "kill" it. Urushiol is an oil and isn't alive. Maybe the chlorine could provide some "degreasing" effect; I don't know about that.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:59PM
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has anyone had success in choking poison ivy out with plants like horseradish?


    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:08PM
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years ago we were told to use water softener salt on an area that had poison ivy, we figured why not because we had tried every thing else. We poured a whole bag of salt around a lilic tree stump and it killed the PI and it never came back.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 11:57PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Put a whole bag of salt on any plant and it will kill it but you won't be able to grow anything else in that area.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Hi Everyone, what a great thread!
Here are my questions I am hoping someone(s) will help to answer:
* We have a few vines of PI in a few different areas of the yard. Once I spray with Round Up Concentrate and all is dreid up - what is the best way to remove?
* If the dogs happen to run against it - how long does it stay "alive" on their coat?
* Our yard is mostly weeds - once the vines/plants are dried and removed, is it smart to plant some grass seed in attempt to not allow the PI return?
* We have vines of Virginia Creeper growing through the yard which I heard is most likely to contain PI as well. Open to suggestions on controling this so we can enjoy our new space!
* With the vines on the trees - if not removed and allowed to rot, does the oil die? Or is it more dangerous to being disturbed and spread?

Look forward to your replies - thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 11:56PM
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Way late to post, but I have heard that the oil in poison ivy can take a couple of years to break down.

Virginia creeper is a different plant, and not poisonous. It just likes the same growing conditions as PI so people confuse the two, to my knowledge.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:34AM
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I have had excellent results getting rid of poison ivy by using Triclopyr. Its sold under several brand names and is available in bigbox stores. I don't spray it. Spraying risks killing the neighbor plants or the trees near the poison ivy. Instead, I pour a bit into a glass and paint a bit onto a few leaves. The plant absorbs it and circulates it through the whole plant including the roots. A week or two later and its dead. Its tedious but effective and beats trying to uproot poison ivy. For really big thick vines, cut some gashes through the bark into the vine and paint the wounds. This method sometimes requires several reapplications because the vine is so big but it works. Triclopyr is also deadly on honeysuckle but I will spray it onto honeysuckle. Now, if it would also work on english ivy...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 2:48PM
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We are closing on a new house in mid-August. Being a gardening newbie, I did not realize until recently that the backyard is completely overgrown with poison ivy.

Our backyard is about 0.6 acres of land (so very small compared to others on this site). But I have 2 curious preschool-aged children who love exploring in the woods and picking random leaves. I'm terrified of letting them loose in the new yard.

What am I realistically looking at? I know I will have missed the window to treat during the spring growing season.

How does one permanently remove poison ivy? My husband suggested that we cut the trees near the property, kill the PIT with round up, and then roll grass sod over the area. For the rest of the yard, he suggested putting down landscape fabric and mulch. Will this work?

I'm kind of bummed at this solution, since I had envisioned growing a woodland garden filled with fun native plants. But the safety of my young ones come first!

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:06AM
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Monica Seybold


I live along a creek in No.Cal. that runs into the county reservoir. We are in severe drought conditions. The creek dries as soon as rain stops. I have a long narrow 4 acres that completely parallel the creek 1 side & road the other. I have huge thickets of wild blackberry & massive amts. of poison oak & stinging nettle. 10 yrs. ago I had goats; otherwise I have left it all alone so wildlife has refuse. Now medically unemployable & have become more interested in hurgenkulture. I want to cut the dead oaks, over grown 50'Xmas trees and place them along the creek bed. I will being cutting the willow trees & bringing up to dry. If I spray brush be gone numerous times, when poison oak is dried & dead I lay the logs in piles over where p.o. was, cover with dried willow sticks & other dead sticks, compost, leaves, manure, dirt a few inches of top soil; will the poison oak grow through into my hugelkultur gardens. Ultimately my goal is to plant almost 1/10 mile of creekbed with these beds. They are drought resistant gardens for as the trees stumps hold water & release it they eliminate almost all watering. I plan to plant gardens most distant from the house with blueberry, currants, gooseberry and grapes. Then potatoes, onion, garlic, melons, squash and finally nearest gardens with tomato, peas,beans, and other daily veggies. Would it be best to use product that sterilizes creek bank soil killing poison oak, nettle & blackberry first? My husband is a firefighter & on the big wildland fires has gotten systemic poison oak. I always pray he doesn't get it in his lungs. Many of the firefighters have become highly sensitized. Thank you, Moni

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 2:26PM
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Moni, I just yesterday read about "hurgenkulture". I must say, an interesting set of ideas and one near and dear to things I've done in the past-not knowing they had such a name and backlog of info!

Best of luck with your venture.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2015 at 5:37AM
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