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POISON IVY  RSS feed

 
Jeff Roan
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Hi Permies,

Hav'nt been on here since winter. Started a garden this year (it was prepped last year, plowed, tilled, an let set over winter) Then we plowed again tilled an rototilled to plant.

I had a little poison ivy in an area that was just plowed (added on to the garden) this year. I been using grass clipping that I collect from people to smoother the poison ivy an burn it out. But I'm not sure this will solve the problem permanently. I dug some up tonight an it was kinda like a pencil root with a poison ivy plant coming out the middle of the pencil. So im guessing I cut up a bunch of roots an spread them down a line being there a new line of poison coming up worse then what I first encountered at the new section of garden.


So will the grass clippings work by just covering the plant coming out of the ground? An what other organic methods will take out this or work best.



Thanks Permies!
 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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Poison ivy in the garden? Ouch, what a pain. We've got plenty of it here, but I've been blessed not to find any in our garden.

Here's what I would do here if we had that problem:
1. First, we collect all of our grass clippings to use as a mulch. With a two acre property, we can cover stuff pretty thickly with this mulch. It seems to work fine on many weeds, but it does seem to specifically encourage wire grass growth within the grass mulch. (Wire grass grows in wood chip mulches too ...)
2. We also eat a lot of cereal in our house. Those cereal boxes are biodegradable, and you can place them on your soil before the grass clippings. I've used pizza boxes and newspaper as well, with good effect. The weed barrier plastic cloths are a total waste--I used one once and ever regretted it afterwards. In one garden, we used cardboard followed by grass clippings and another we used newspaper and grass clippings. By the end of the season, you could see that the cardboard was definitely superior, and had kept the weeds down better. (That was our pepper bed.)
3. If the weed barrier plus thick mulch doesn't work, then you are going to have to do it the hard way: pull up the poison ivy by hand. (Yuck!!!) I've actually done this. Usually, I only do it once a season or so, and regret it immediately. If I had to do this, I would wear long sleeves, pants, and fabric gloves. Don't wear leather gloves. Everything you wear will need to be sent to the washing machine and you will need to wash up with soap and (cold?) water thoroughly as soon as you are done.
4.We have also discussed using cinder blocks as weed blocks. I don't know if it would work for poison ivy.

There's also Solomon's method of using a sharp hoe, and just getting out there and weeding with the hoe a lot.

Please let us know what you choose to do, and how it works out for you.

Dan
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1363
Location: northern California
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Better than cereal boxes...go out and find the hugest cardboard boxes you can find. Try mattress and furniture store dumpsters. Lay that stuff out, overlapping, two layers deep if possible, right over the ivy patches. Cover with a top-mulch, like your grass clippings, to keep it from blowing away and looking nice. If you can spare the space, leave it like that for a whole year. Two if you see sprouts coming through....which you will patch with additional cardboard. This works for any aggressive weed. Old carpets and such like can also be used to good effect, being taken up after a year or two and proceeding with planting, whereas the cardboard simply composts in place....
 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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Alder Burns wrote:Better than cereal boxes...go out and find the hugest cardboard boxes you can find. Try mattress and furniture store dumpsters.


You're right, mattress boxes would cover more ground. I was assuming that the garden was already in existence and growing. Huge cardboard boxes would kill what's already there. Smaller boxes might allow you to work around small and existing plants.

I'll admit, the first time we tried the cardboard, we used only a light coating of straw. When the Virginia winds came along, the cardboard flew away and into the garden fence. We needed to redo that cardboard many times before we were finally successful. Hence, I strongly recommend a thick layer of mulch on top of the cardboard to keep it in place. That has actually worked for us.

Of course, if you didn't have the garden (yet), you could use animals to clear the ground. I am told that goats prefer poison ivy to other plants they might eat and seek it out to eat it first. Where we live, nearer suburbia, we can't keep goats and our full chicken and turkey flock.

Dan
 
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