How to Control Poison Ivy

Things You Should Know About Gardening

by: Marilyn Pokorney

  • Poison ivy is found throughout southern Canada and most of
    the United States except Alaska and Hawaii. It is readily
    found along road sides, fences, railroads, and streams.
    But it can also be found in your own back yard. It is
    planted there in bird droppings from the birds who eat the
    berries of the plant.

    So how does one get rid of the rash producing plant? Here
    are some tips:

    * Poison Ivy control is most effective May through July
    while the plants are flowering.

    * Pulling out the plant with rubber gloves is temporarily
    effective but the plants roots will regrow.

    * Never burn it as the smoke from the burning plant can
    cause very serious respiratory and eye problems.

    * Mowing the plant will eventually kill it but be sure to
    use a mower with a collection bag and don't touch the
    remains when emptying it. This method will take several
    years to completely eradicate the plant from your yard.

    * Don't use a weed-eater as that will only spread the
    broken pieces of the plant everywhere. Dried poison ivy is
    just as poisonous as fresh. It is said that even 100 year
    old leaves can still cause a reaction.

    * Suffocation with black plastic has been known to work.
    This too takes time.

    * An organic method consists of spraying the plant with
    salt water. A ratio of one cup salt to a gallon of water
    with a few drops of liquid soap added to help the mixture
    adhere to the plant.

    * Broadleaf herbicides work but will kill any neighboring
    plants. Usually poison ivy is intertwined among plants that
    you want to keep, including trees. Using selective
    herbicides like Roundup can be applied to the plant stems as
    they are cut off to prevent resprouting.

    No matter what control method you use, be careful to avoid
    exposing your skin to the plant. Wear gloves, long pants,
    socks and shoes, and a long-sleeved shirt.

    For more information about ridding your yard and garden of
    this pesky plant:
    About the author:

    Author: Marilyn Pokorney
    Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the
    Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.

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