Poison Ivy x posted

Battalina(6b)June 1, 2012

Hello, I just identified the viney plant that grows behind and around my son's playhouse as poison ivy. The spot we chose for the playhouse before we put it together was an extremely overgrown with shrubs, trees and vines area that I cleaned up in the winter and early spring before the trees, shrubs and vines leafed out.The ivy had wrapped around most trees in that area and almost all branches and I patiently pulled the dormant stems one by one. Some of them had dried up bluberry looking black fruit on them. Then we put the playhouse together and put it under a tree in that area because it was the perfect spot for it and I thought it would keep it shady and cool in the summer.Now that I've identified the vine as poison ivy i won't let my son play there until i kill it. Here comes my question. Since I would rather pull it out than spray with chemicals do you think it's safe to assume that since I had prolonged contact with it while dormant in the winter without protecting myself with nothing more than regular gardening gloves, does that mean I'm immune to it? Or do you think since there were no leaves and it was cold i just got lucky? I did not wear long sleeves as even though it was cold I was working hard and was hot. I am very tempted to just pull it out the same way I did in the winter. Thank you in advance for any advice!

I also posted this in tips and techniques

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

You probably are much less sensitive to it than most (or you would have gotten a rash), but there is a much better chance of being effected when the plant has leafed out. Also, immunity to poison ivy is not necessarily long-term.

My brother used to be able to play in PI when he was young with no problem. I've always been highly allergic to it. He came over to my house one day to help me remove a large tree that was covered in the stuff. He only worked around it for a short time until we fell the tree. After that, I tried to get him to wash off before he left. He just laughed and said he didn't have time to play in the water. He thought he was completely safe. He ended up at the hospital a few days later. Now he stays far clear of PI. I hear similar stories all the time.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:27PM
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esh_ga

You said: Some of them had dried up bluberry looking black fruit on them.

That would seem to indicate Virginia creeper, not Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy has WHITE berries.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:05PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

GOOD call, esh! Of course, both plants might be growing in the same location, as they seem to fond of doing.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:44AM
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Battalina(6b)

Thank you everyone! If it's virginia creeper that would explain why I didn't get a rash. I don't see any fruit now, just leaves. Is there a way to tell for sure?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:58PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Absolutely!

Poison ivy has 3 leaflets, hairy vines, and aerial roots. The leaves also tend to have a glossy sheen to them.

Virginia creeper has 5 leaflets, smooth vines, and the aerial roots have suction-cup like discs on them instead of rootlets.

Hope that helps enough!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Battalina(6b)

Thank you jimbobfeeny. Unfortunately, based on your description, it is poison ivy and like rhizo said virginia creeper might have been growing with it. I'll post some pictures in a bit.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:56PM
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Battalina(6b)

This is pretty much what the area looked like before I cleaned it up From Drop Box

And this From Drop Box

This is what it looked like in the Spring after I cleaned it up and we put the playhouse together From Drop Box

These are some of the huge stems/roots I chopped off From Drop Box And this is what sprouted all around just recently From Drop Box From Drop Box From Drop Box

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:17PM
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merlcat(7a)

That sure looks like poison ivy to me. I would not hand pull it. I always thought I was immune as I never had it till I was about 35, then suddenly found out I am very sensitive to it.. And, boy, was it terrible. I was not even working around it or anything, basically picked up the oils when I brought in the cat!
Who knew you could get such a terrible case of poison ivy from a cat???

Never again. Stay away, even if you think you are one of those not sensitive people. Apparently, that can change really quick!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:14PM
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Battalina(6b)

Thank you merlcat! Staying away from it is not an option as I need to get rid of it so my son can play in and around his playhouse. So it needs to go and I really don't want to use chemicals for many reasons (child will be playing there, planning to grow grass, organic veggie garden nearby, etc.). I think I'll just wrap myself up head to toe and go into battle. Hopefully I don't get it, but better me than my son. But looking at how densly overgrown the area was and remembering how I cleaned it out and how my arms were all scratched up and how many times I got tangled and all the "stuff" that fell into my hair and all that fun stuff, it just amazes me that I didn't get a rash even though it was dormant. So I can't help but be curious if I just got lucky or if I am immune. I really don't want to get the rash. I saw some pics online and I'm terrified, but the thought that my two year old sweet boy can get it makes me want to pull like a mad woman.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:54PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"I really don't want to use chemicals for many reasons (child will be playing there, planning to grow grass, organic veggie garden nearby, etc.)."

Sounds like you might should do some research. Glyphosate (the primary active ingredient in most RoundUp formulations) is probably as safe, or safer, for your kids as what you fed them for lunch!!! If you want to be extra careful, choose generic glyphosate or a RoundUp formulation with only glyphosate listed as the active ingredient. You can also safely add an additional surfactant/sticker for extra effectiveness. Be sure to mix the glyphosate heavy enough for use on brush (using the premixed stuff for easy-to-kill applications isn't likely to work).

Using glyphosate will also not negatively impact your ability to grow grass in the area. In fact, it will probably make your efforts vastly more effective by reducing the need to deal with resprout from missed PI roots.

I can't think of any rational reason not to use glyphosate to tackle your problem, and i can think of many benefits of doing so.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Battalina(6b)

Thank you Brandon7 for the suggestion and I will certainly look into this! This sentence confuses me a bit "Be sure to mix the glyphosate heavy enough for use on brush (using the premixed stuff for easy-to-kill applications isn't likely to work)." Isn't the Round-Up that they sell at home improvement stores premixed? Sorry, don't know much about it, but will definitely do some research on glyphosate.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:54AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

No, most stores do sell the spray bottles of the premixed stuff, but all the stores like Home Depot, Lowes, etc will also sell a variety of concentrated forms (18%, 50%, etc). The premixed stuff is only good for small jobs of easy-to-kill stuff, like grass between sidewalk pavers.

BTW, be careful about what you believe when researching glyphosate. There are people with strong opinions, but almost no knowledge, that try to give glyphosate a bad name for various reasons (political-they don't like Monsanto and think Monsanto is the only source for the chemical, fear-they think any "chemical" is dangerous, etc). You can find rock solid science, but you just have to evaluate your sources. Glyphosate has been studied for many years and is well proven to be relatively very safe (at least in smaller quantities like we are talking about here).

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Battalina(6b)

So yesterday I did a combination of methods. I pulled out the ivy immediately surrounding my son's playhouse. I wore two sets of rubber gloves, long sleeves, long pants, sneakers and a rain jacket (luckily it wasn't too hot). Also the second pair of rubber gloves was black so I could actually see the oil from the poison ivy. It creeped me out! I am also trying to smother it in one area with black heavy duty trash bags, but I haven't checked under the bags to see what's happening. I think I'll give it at least another week. And even though I really didn't want to I sprayed the area in the back near the shrubs that I haven't cleaned out with Glyphosate because after seeing the oil and how much there was I guess I just got too scared and I also got worried about unknowingly bringing it into the house. Then I threw out the gloves and threw all the clothes and my shoes into the wash. I washed them twice. And I washed my hands in cold water for a looooong time and then I took a shower. And then I cleaned the door handles and floor with clorox wipes. Just in case. So far so good, but please keep your fingers crossed that no one in my family gets it. Thank you all for the great advice!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:49AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I think the way you are going about this (with a multi-pronged approach) may mean that it's going to take you a little longer to get rid of the problem, BUT, it does sound like you are learning a lot AND will be better able to address future problems. I also LOVED the description of how careful you were. I've heard of PI being spread through washing contaminated clothes, but it sounds like you did take every reasonable precaution. Overall, it sounds to me like you did good!

Some products you might check into to help you deal with future PI issues are IvyBlock lotion (for prevention) and Technu scrub (for treatment).

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:57PM
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esh_ga

Keep in mind that even dead poison ivy can cause a rash - old vines, dead leaves. I am not sure that smothering it will be right for this situation as it will leave the old leaves there.

When it gets down to just a stray vine or two, you can clip it close to the ground, put the clipped part in a trash bag and then gently dab a bit of round up/brush killer on the stub you just clipped.

You sound wonderfully careful! I like to use Ivy Block on my arms (if I'm not wearing long sleeves). It's a good product.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:05PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

If there's any root left in the soil there's a good chance it will grow back from the root.

Deanna

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 2:50PM
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