Even the thought of this stuff makes me itch. And how to control it is no easy task.
Poison ivy clings to surfaces with hair-like rootlets growing out of the stem. It may be low-growing, climbing, or take on a bush form. It climbs toward the sun but thrives in shade as well. It is not a particular plant and enjoys areas with short, hot summers and cool to cold winters. It lives in a wide variety of soil conditions from poorly draining clay sites to sandy, well-drained sites. It’s a hardy beast.
The vine’s sap causes allergic dermatitis in humans. Animals seem to be unaffected by the sap. The best way to avoid coming into contact with PI is to get to know what it looks like. The leaves are 3 irregularly toothed, shiny green leaflets measuring 2 to 4 inches long, the total length of the leaves being 7 to 10 inches. They emerge red in spring, become green during the growing season, and turn bright red and orange in the fall.
There are two general methods used for controlling poison ivy – pulling it out or treating it with chemicals. If there are only a few plants, they can be pulled out when the soil is wet. Pieces of roots left behind in the soil will generate new plants so repeat treatments will be necessary. Protective clothing including gloves and long sleeves are required. Some people use duct tape on gloves and sleeves to seal the wrist area off from contact exposure.
Chemical controls include herbicides and stronger products. Make sure you read the product labels carefully so you’re certain that what you purchase is a product that works with poison ivy. Some products can also be harmful to ornamental plants in the yard, so it’s equally important to follow the directions for applying it.
Today we must give careful consideration to the products we use in our yards and their impact on the areas around us. Whenever possible, it’s best to use the method of control that’s the most effective without causing wider environmental damage. As luck would have it, goats make an excellent means of poison ivy control and becoming a goat farmer just might be the best solution to eradicating this noxious weed.
text and poison ivy photo by Ann D. Travers
photo #2 source