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Clearing poison ivy

 
                      
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Okay gang.  I have poison ivy clumps-- several along a chain link fence and one huge clump alongside my driveway at the corner with the street.

I googled and found the National Institutes of Health recommends STRONGLY against burning poison ivy (hm...something about creating a cloud of poison ivy juices traveling downwind...), so my weed burner is out.

Short of tossing around gallons of poison (bleh!), any suggestions?

Thanks!
 
                        
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I'm very sensitive to this stuff.  I have elbow length welders gauntlets and dedicated tools just for the bit I have in the yard.  I cut it low to the ground, then haul it to a corner of the yard where I banish it (somewhere I don't visit unless I'm hauling more of it). 

The urushiol oil from the plant can linger for years on even dried leaves/stems, so it doesn't go into my compost piles.  Burning would be very bad, I can't imagine what it would do to the lungs.  I had to do a course of steroids to clear up a very severe case I had on my arms/legs a few years ago.  The chemical like burn would leak fluids...  gives me shivers remembering it. 

If you cut it early enough in the year, it doesn't seem to grow back very strong.

 
                        
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Oh, I seem to recall goats can eat it.  Can you borrow a goat?  Though the downside is they may eat everything else too. 
 
paul wheaton
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Argh!  You beat me to the tidbit about goats!

Just don't pet goats that have been eating it.

I've never dealt with it.  My first thought would be to toss some seed out there of something that would outcompete it. 



 
                      
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I have planted competing stuff.  It just grows on the negligent neighbor's side of the fence and wends its way over.

I'd love to borrow a goat; how does one accomplish such a thing?  I wonder if Craigs List has goat borrowing?  But owning one is pretty much out of the question, zoning-wise.

And, Paul, how would I milk the goat without touching it, I ask you?    (I know, I know, borrow a male goat....but I LIKE goat's milk and even have practice milking one!)

Okay, so goats, seeds, a haz mat suit...possibly intercessory prayer?  Boy, I just hate poison ivy. 

I once even threw rock salt where the horrid stuff grows at the end of the growing season, hoping it wouldn't regrow.  It did.

I'm stumped.
 
paul wheaton
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Geof Day
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I'd start with a known defoliant.

http://www.dirtworks.net/Poison-Ivy-Defoliant.html - try this - they may have it locally too.

we used some horrid defoliant in a spray can and we made plenty of headway with it.  we sprayed and cut the vines and I think we knew someone in the neighborhood who wasn't affected by the poisons and we used him to pull and remove the vines.  I think he took them to the local dump but I don't really know, this was 40 years ago.

voila, no poison ivy - except where the birds poop out fresh seeds!

I still like the goat idea - can somebody weigh in on what's up with goats and PI - does the PI eating goat pass the toxins into milk or hair or whatever?

what a great idea - rent a goat!
 
                      
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Hey!  clove oil defoliant!  I like it!

Well, here's the thing about goats-- their...um..."pellets" don't degrade very readily.  (Yeah, I've spent some quality time with goats.) 

So, if you're weighing in on the PI making the goat "untouchable," could you weigh in on getting the pellets to degrade better/faster, too? THANKS!

Oh, and thus far I've salted the PI and, in a death-defying act, wilted them by standing a huge distance away with with weed dragon "flame thrower" and letting the heat make the leaves wilt.

Ordinarily I wouldn't mind scorching the leaves a bit more, but I was afraid, of course, to cause a noxious cloud and inhale the stuff or "gas" my neighbors with PI.

Happily, the salt and wilting have worked...a little.  A bit more goat info wouldn't hurt though.  Or other solutions?

Thanks, all!

 
paul wheaton
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While there are all sorts of critters you could take on to take care of the pellets, I think the best thing to do is to use the shovel to move them where they will fertilize something. 

Or you can just toss a little sawdust on them.

 
                                
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I;m not one who likes chemicals but wearing gloves if you cut it down to the ground and then applied roundup directly on the cut area nothing else. Then it will defiantely kill the poison ivy and it should not come back.
i would apply several times allowing it dry in between applications and especially if it rains put another coating of roundup on it.
That is tuff stuff and I'm afraid even with goats you still have the root system underground it will only be a matter of time before your problem reappears.
 
paul wheaton
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please don't use or buy roundup.

The stuff at dirtworks sounds about a hundred times safer to me.

 
                                
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paul i don't like roundup either but as a last resort i figured if nothing else worked at least he could try that.
If he does find something that works I would like to know as I have plenty of poison ivy that could use killing LOL
 
                  
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Hi!  I just joined.  I found you guys a few days ago (through the "organic lawn care" article) and have learned so much already!

I got all pumped about improving our yard, so this morning I went out and started working on stuff while my mother-in-law watched the kids.  Well, I guess I found poison ivy.  My MIL pointed it out, insisted on going to the store to buy me some tecnu, then recommended I use round-up to get rid of the ivy.  Well, of course, my whole intention on cleaning up the yard is so that the kids could actually play in it.  So I don't really want to douse the yard in round-up toxins for the kids to roll around in. 

SO, I've been doing some googling...  I think I might try to pull them by the roots as described here: http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=562

But I'm also curious: you mention planting something that would compete with it.  What would you suggest to do so?  Remember, I am a complete novice at all this stuff.  I have no experience with gardening or lawn care or anything.  So give me easy ideas.

(oh - and I emailed my MIL the link to the Poison Ivy Defoliator.  We had a little argument about the PI before she left, and I want to show her that there ARE other, more natural, options!!)
 
paul wheaton
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I like the article link!

I've never dealt with PI, so I'm afraid I cannot comment on what might outcompete it.  I would need to know its growing season, habits and that sort of thing. 

I wonder if buckwheat would work.  It works on most stuff. 

How tall is PI?




 
                                
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PI can grow as tall as any tree. Theres no limit as far as I can see. We have some that is up in a 60 foot tree so i know it can get at least that tall.
Its not so easy to get rid of its pretty invasive once its there.
Getting all the roots in my neck of the woods would be near to impossible since it lives so closely with other trees. We usually find it climbing up other trees and the roots system would be entangled with so many other plants it would be hard to separate one from another without killing all the trees.
If your PI is in a not so wodded area it may be easier for you. I wish you luck.


 
                                
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I will throw this out there.
Vinegar is used to kill weeds I cant say as I have every tried it on PI you may give it a try sprayin it on the leaves and vine to see if it works like the clove oil stuff.
It basically burns up the grass weeds so it may do the same to the PI.
worth a shot.
 
                  
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Well, yesterday, while it was raining, my hubby & I went out back and pulled out the poison ivy.  I definitely didn't get all the roots, but at least the main plants are gone, and SOME of the roots.

I hope to just check on them  maybe once a week or so (I don't know how fast to expect things to grow...), and if I see them peeking up again, I'll either try to pull out more roots, or at least snip it off at the base so that the roots will eventually die off.  And yes, MIL, I'll be careful!
 
                  
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Just a quick funny update: My husband & I are doing great, but somehow, my MIL got a poison ivy rash this week!! HAHA!  How's that for ironic.  She didn't do a single thing out there.  If any of you are familiar with the Secret/ the Law of Attraction, I think she brought it upon herself with all her worry for us.
 
paul wheaton
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...  and men everywhere suddenly get the urge to pull PI.

 
John Meshna
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Poison IVY is treacherous stuff.  If you burn it, it can get in your lungs and it can wrap around plants you really like so you hesitate to do anything until it's too late.

There's no great solution i know of for getting rid of it. We sell poison invy defoliant made from clove oil and vinegar or more to the point, acedic acid. 

It kills off the foliage really well but, you do still have to pull up the roots to finalize the job.  It does make it easier to pull it out when the leaves are gone though.  It's all that tickling on the back of your hand from the leaves that gets ya.
  If you wear a rain coat and gloves and duct tape the opening between the gloves and rain coat you can be pretty effective.  You might want to leave the rain coat outside hanging off a tree for a couple of years when your done so, make it a cheap rain coat!
 
                                
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My old nemesis: poison ivy. I do NOT know how to get rid of it other than to be more persistent than it is, but here are a couple of things I know:
A friend once burned it & got the smoke on him. He had the rash in his eyes, mouth, & throat, which nearly swelled shut.  He spent several days in the hospital.
If you get a rash, which I am lucky enough to do EVERY summer, I have a simple way to stop the itch. **Warning** this is probably not approved by your dermatologist** BUT it works:
When the rash starts to itch, run the affected body part under hot water-not scalding, just hotter than you would normally use for a nice hot shower.
While under the hot water, the affected body part will begin itching so badly you can hardly stand it-for about 6 seconds, then miraculously the itching will stop & not return for several hours.  Then you just repeat the process.
*Note: this has never damaged my skin, whereas itching the rash most certainly has!!

One last thing that I've heard but don't know if it's true:  after your female goat has ingested poison ivy, the milk will contain properties to help you build an immunity to your poison ivy allergy.
Being a city girl I've never had the opportunity to try this, but I would if I could!
 
                  
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cavenan wrote:One last thing that I've heard but don't know if it's true:  after your female goat has ingested poison ivy, the milk will contain properties to help you build an immunity to your poison ivy allergy.
I don't know anything about goats... but I know a lot about breastfeeding, and it would make sense that this would be true.
 
                        
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There is another thread about poison ivy here:

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=4018.0
 
Emerson White
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PI is an allergy, so you do not want an immune response to it!
 
Leif Kravis
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i'd  probably let some nails rust in vinegar and try spraying that there is a new iron oxide weed killer on the market here, worth a try i think and cheap
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Emerson White wrote:
PI is an allergy, so you do not want an immune response to it!


There are cases where allowing some in your GI tract will train your immune system to respond to it as a mild irritant, rather than an existential threat.

For example, the people who eat local honeycomb to prevent hayfever.

I believe this has a lot to do with the role of the immune system in managing gut flora: we seem wired to set up categories labeled "control" and "exterminate."
 
charles c. johnson
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my  friend told me cooking oil in the spray can works if sprayed on the leaves, also boiling water on the main root.
 
Brice Moss
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goats will eat it somewat selectivly (they lik it better than grass)
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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This is the time of year to cut tree of heaven fronds for use as an allelopathic mulch.

The ailanthone in October-cut foliage from this species of tree seems to restrict the growth of almost everything. Mulching with this, then adding some autumn leaves over top, would (I expect) work better than the same depth of ordinary mulch.

Tree of heaven grows wild on highway verges, in rail yards, and on neglected property all over the US. It should be easy to find some, and typically people are happy to see it cut back.
 
                              
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i can vouch for goats dealing with poison ivy.  but the problem with goats is that they browse.  mine LOVE poison ivy, but they wont just eat it exclusively.  you'd have to keep goats penned in the poison ivy area for awhile.  i used to have poison ivy and blackberry brambles in my back yard... two of my goats favorite things to eat. 
 
i've got a bunch of PI in the front yard too.  i'm sheet mulching over it.
 
Travis Philp
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pixelphoto wrote:
paul i don't like roundup either but as a last resort i figured if nothing else worked at least he could try that.



VINEGAR

Roundup is unneccessary IMO. I read a report on a study which found that Vinegar mixed with water worked just as well as roundup in erradicating foliage.

They used the type of vinegar that is stronger than the store-bought stuff, I think its 5%, and mixed that half and half with water. So if you're using the grocery store variety, I think its at 3%. Shift the ratios accordingly.

Of course this requires a yearly application but at least you won't be salting or poisoning the earth
 
Raven Sutherland
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poison Ivy cannot stand to be smothered so when the unusable oak leaves fall i wait until they are wet and heavy after a rain then i bag them and place the bag on top of the poison ivy spot.

i also go hunting for the trees that have poison ivy growing on them (that have the tiny grey/blue berries) and cut the huge hairy roots with a very sharp two bladed ax that i later carefully clean with a little gasoline.

I bought the blue "chemical resistant" one piece "disposable" suit at the local home depot to wear while i cut it with the brush cutter just to slow it down  and i'll keep doing that also wearing a full face shield also until i win the war.
 
                          
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Excerpt from Science in Agriculture Advanced methods for sustainable Farming, by Arden Anderson
Weed meaning: Ca, P, Mo, Si, Se deficiencies. Also negative polarity.
Enhancing materials (what makes it grow more): Diammonium phosphate, magnesium & magnesium compounds, stray voltage.
Correcting materials (what fixes it): RL-37, seaweed, sea leaf, phosphoric acid, monoammonium phosphate, calcium carbonate, cobalt, selenium, vit. C, vit. A, vit. E, biomin copper.
 
                          
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I LOVE Roundup!  Works great!  Buy it buy it buy it! Well, ok.  I'm a FORMER roundup user.  I have been working out of town since 2005, so the PI has regained its territory with a vengeance.  I have decided never to use chemicals like roundup again, but I also refuse to believe that there isn't something out there that will eradicate it (besides goats).  Spraying with bleach?  Ammonia?  Vinegar?  And what's the name of that herb that's a natural healer of it?  Jewel weed, isn't it?  Will jewel weed banish it, or does it just compete with it? And the truth is, roundup seemed to be just a temporary fix, even using it at the recommended strength.  Miss one plant, and back it comes.  Not worth it.
 
duane hennon
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to get rid of poison ivy, one must get rid of the roots

cut the vine and remove it. Immediately put a cotton ball soaked in chlorine bleach and fertilizer on the stub of a root you left above ground. you must resoak the cotton ball every day for 5 days to make sure the entire root system is dead. the root system will take in the bleach thinking its food. this will kill the roots before they have a chance to send up any new shoots. Round-up may be used instead of chlorine bleach.

a small amount of fish fertilizer mixed with the bleach.
you may want to do several cotton balls if the patch is extensive

washing with Fels Naptha soap after handling poison ivy will remove the oil and prevent the rash.
 
John Polk
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***
washing with Fels Naptha soap after handling poison ivy will remove the oil and prevent the rash.
***
That is a very useful tip.  Thanks
 
                                
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duane wrote:


washing with Fels Naptha soap after handling poison ivy will remove the oil and prevent the rash.


Once a rash develops, I have had the best results by scrubbing with standard hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore, full strength (3%). It fizzes and burns just a little, but the itching stops almost immediately and it is noticeably improved within even one day, and clears up in a few days.
 
Steven Baxter
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cover it from the sun. I did this to some california grass
http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110028/present/plantlife/california/california_grass.htm

This stuff is truly a pain, and it makes you itchy from the barbs on it. Anyways we would weed wack it, mulch it with green material, (leaves, sticks, whatever you have) then cardboard. The plant just dies from lack of sun.

What works even better is to up root it and flip it upside down, so the roots face the sky and greens are in the dirt then throw old carpet over it. The carpet works a bit better then the mulch and cardboard, because it lasts quite awhile.

I know it may be tricky to do this near the chain link fence, because it may be all tangled up in the fence, but will work on that spot near the drive very well. Let us know how it goes, whatever you decide to do.
 
Stonewall Greyfox
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I would have loved to have used goats to extract as much Poison Ivy as possible...but we're not a point yet, where we can manage goats (no fence).

A couple key notes on smoke toxicity (ALL SMOKE IS TOXIC), the addition of additional burning agents may cause those more sensitive to have a more severe reaction if inhaling the smoke, but ALL SMOKE IS TOXIC. 

Since we had mass amounts of Poison Ivy to dispose of (many of the vines 2-3 inches thick), we used our Winter Brush Pile.  Once the brush pile was good and hot (mostly coals) we loaded the Poison Ivy ontop...if you're fire is hot enough, smoke production will be minimized.  We had very little sooty smoke, most agents being burned up in the combustion process.

If you're using a weed scorcher to burn out weeds and perhaps Poison Ivy...I wouldn't be too concerned over burning it out, as long as you were attempting to rid a forest of it...the smoke production and concentration would probably be minimal.


Paul B.
 
Melba Corbett
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Has anyone tried putting lime on the poison ivy?  It will only grow in an acid soil, so changing the PH of the soil can possibly eradicate it.  Create conditions it doesn't like so it won't grow there.  It likes it wet, so make it drier if you can. 

We have goats and yes they do love it.  I don't get poison ivy, but I drink their milk, and may be getting some protective factors in that. 

If you do get exposed to PI, first wash well with warm soapy water.  If you do get the rash, wash that with baking soda (to neutralize the acids in the poison ivy), dry well and apply jewelweed crushed up and spread all over the rash.  Jewelweed works very well for any rash, including psoriasis. 
 
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