How do I remove poison ivy?

I knew we had poison ivy at our new house. There was just no way that we didn’t. I had a suspicious looking rash last week, so I figured I’d finally learn how to identify it. It took a while. Poison ivy really has many different forms.

Two days ago i was walking my cat when I had an epiphany. That little three leafed plant with the tiny little red leaves just emerging is poison ivy. Of course the older leaves aren’t red, but once I identified that I could connect it to the other leaves. At first I was just finding it here and there at the edges of our property, but as I got better at identifying it I realized we had some pretty large poison ivy plants.

This isn’t totally unexpected. A large portion of our property is quite wild. I will not be able to come close to eliminating it, but there are a few problem areas. I was looking at a tree we have out front yesterday when I noticed that it had a funny shape to it’s trunk. I followed it up and realized it was actually a tree and a vine that had grown together. Then I recognized the leaves and realized we have a queen mother of poison ivy growing right in our front yard. This thing is huge! It needs to go.

My mom says I need to cut it at it’s base, then poison it. What poison should I use though? Is the trunk of this vine as toxic as the leaves? Does anybody have advice for getting rid of the smaller patches that are encroaching on our lawn? Removing poison ivy looks like it will be a continuing battle, what type of protection do I need? Do I need a dedicated set of tools? How deep are the roots?

I’m adding one thing of help to this thread. Go buy the soap in the pharmacy for neutralizing the oils now. Use it after you handle the plants.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, burn it. The oils will get into your lungs, and they cause the same reactions in your lungs that they do to your skin. The irritating ingredient remains active for years even after the stuff is picked, so don’t even think about throwing the old dead dried out stuff on your bonfire.

Roundup is good against poison ivy - you can spray it on the leaves and it will kill it. With a plant that size, I would expect it to need several treatments. Of course, Roundup will also kill any other plants, and even trees, that are growing around your poison ivy. So if there’s anything else around it, you’re stuck with less effective measures.

Ortho Poison Ivy Killer has a chemical which will kill poison ivy but not the trees it usually grows around. It will kill shrubs and herbaceous (non-barked) plants, though.

If you don’t want to engage in chemical warfare, you’ll have to dig it out manually. Manual removal can be a bitch. Wear long sleeves, long pants, tuck your pants into your socks and wear rubber boots (Wal-Mart sells “chore boots” for around $15) and pull and pull and pull. Dig out the roots with a stick, a trowel or a shovel. You can’t leave any leaves, stems, or roots behind, or more plant will grow from those parts. It’s usually a multi-day, multi-stage process. Check with your city for disposal advice. Again, it CANNOT be burned, even if you normally burn landscape waste.

Until you get rid of it, you should look around for jewelweed growing nearby. In one of nature’s coolest arrangements, jewelweed almost always grows near poison ivy (often so close that it might be more effective to teach people to recognize and avoid jewelweed instead of poison ivy, because it doesn’t look just like every other three-leaved plant out there), and it’s one of the most effective antidotes against it. Just pick the jewelweed and slice the stem and rub it on where you got exposed. This is one herbal remedy that’s even backed up with clinical research. :wink:

Huh ? Hey, I just gotta envy you. My cat doesn’t go for walks–she lives on the sofa. But now you owe us kitty pics… :slight_smile:
As for the p. ivy: I don’t know how to get rid of it , but I know what works for me when I’ve been in contact with it. I wash thoroughly with dishwashing liquid from the kitchen.
Apparently, the dish liquid cuts through the plant oils from the ivy. Regular soap does not. I’m very sensitive to poison ivy, but if I wash in dish liquid within 2-3 hours of contact , I don’t get the rash.

I have to disagree with this. Mature poison ivy leaves are basically immune to Roundup. The leaves get a waxy coating (which also gives them their characteristic appearance) when mature. Roundup basically just beads up and rolls off. The new leaves don’t have this coating. If you can time your Roundup spraying so you get them when the leaves are big enough to adsorb the Roundup but don’t yet have the waxy coating, Roundup will kill the plant. Large plants will take several treatments.

I’ve had good luck with Ortho Poison Ivy & Tough Brush. The safest way to get rid of poison ivy is the spray it until it is dead, avoid the dead stems for a year or two, and allow the stems and roots to decompose. However, it can dangerous to leave the stems around. In which case follow the advice above and dig the dead plants out. The stems and roots should not be composted, but put out in plastic bags with the trash.

I’ve always hired professional landscapers to deal with poison ivy. Even they dread working near it and charge a high price for removal.

I did note that a large (mature) plant will need several treatments. Thanks to you, now I know why!

Roundup makes a poison ivy/brush killer that works very well.

From your description I would think sumac, as the I deal with is a very small stemmed weed.
I have to wash after mowing at the lake, and the clothes are washed there also. when I get a rash i have the best results using “Newskin”.
I have sprayed roundup several years now and I am starting to see results.

Wow, I feel really bad for you. I am hugely susceptible to poison oak. Recently, I had a huge outbreak, but the thing was, I had not had any known contact with poison oak at all. I assume that it was on some hiking boots that I tossed on the couch. I washed everything I came in contact with, and very seriously considered tossing out my couch. I actually didn’t go to the SoCal Dopefest because I didn’t want to freak out people with my horrible disfigurement. It’s better now, though.

We don’t have poison sumac here, and poison oak is extremely rare. I’m not against chemical warfare for the bad stuff that is starting to encroach on my lawn. I’ll look for that Ortho Poison Ivy and Tough brush stuff. Also I’ll go get that poison ivy soap somebody recommended. I’m still not sure what to do about that big one. It has really grown into the tree. there will be no way to poison the ivy without poisining the tree and that tree is rather important to keeping my driveway from washing away.

[intermission]may I take a moment to point out that the OP’s username nicely fits this thread? :slight_smile: [/intermission]

Chiming in to say that manual removal is a real bitch. Poison ivy, once established, has long lateral runner-roots and can re-sprout from ridiculously small pieces of any root left behind – like horizontal dandelions. It takes a lot of work over several years to get rid of it without poisons.

Some people don’t realize that it’s not just the growing leaves that contain urushiol (the active nasty ingredient). Stems, vines, and roots do too, and the urushiol doesn’t evaporate or go bad or anything when the plant is dead. If you get poison ivy poison on your garden gloves, then put the unwashed gloves in the closet for a year, and eventually take them out and handle them, you can still get a rash.

Gbro, BTW, regular poison ivy is capable of growing thick stems and even behaving like a bloody stand-alone bush, if growing conditions are right (i.e., with the right amount of water and sun; see here under “Western Poison Oak” for a cite). We used to see eight-foot-tall freestanding specimens along park pathways in Texas. :eek:

I have been told that goats are generally immune to urushiol and that some goats think poison ivy is tasty enough to prefer it over most other plants. I would love to know whether this is true. If it is, I will be earning my first billion with my Goats for Hire PI Eradication Service.

If your aim is to remove the danger the PI poses to you, you’ll have to pull it off your poor tree – because even if you kill it utterly dead by cutting its base and poisoning it (which you probably should do if only to stop it growing and taking over the known universe), the killed plant can give you a rash. Its dead leaves will eventually fall off, but the dead stems and all their creepy little reddish sucker-hairs won’t go away by themselves.

We had a tree-eating monster poison ivy plant and got rid of it only when a friend with no urushiol sensitivity (up until then, anyway*) went nuclear on it for us one weekend. He enjoyed the challenge.

Good luck!

** “Around 15% to 30% of people have no allergic response, but most if not all will become sensitized over time with repeated or more concentrated exposure to urushiol.”*

I didn’t have any sensitivity to it when I was younger, but I definitely have had suspicious rashes in recent years. I’ve never definitively known where the rashes came from, but they have been characteristic of opison ivy rashes. Fortunately, it seems as if my wife may not have any sensitivity to it right now either. She didn’t believe all of the things I was finding were poison ivy so she took it upon herself to test it. She’s eight and a half months pregnant.

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Um, is your wife, you know, in her right mind? Eight and a half months pregnant isn’t uncomfortable enough?

I guess if she’s never had a real poison ivy rash she wouldn’t know how incredibly foolish that was. My first fall in Texas, I had to go to the emergency room twice for a bad case.

No cite available, but yes, I have seen this with a goat on a 12 acre property.

Have you tried peeing on it yet? Or is that just jellyfish stings? Damn…I always get my burning sensations confused.

Nuke it from …

…nah, nevermind.

Dude, if you get a burning sensation when peeing, poision ivy is not your #1 clinical issue.

Adding some washingup liquid to the roundup before you spray helps it “stick” better. It’s what we do for anything hard to kill.