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Clearing poison ivy

 
Posts: 79
Location: Humboldt County, California [9b]
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Not to get to far off topic....

I use goats and trimming back trees to combat poison oak, which prefers to grow in partial shade. In some places I use Round Up. The wife, son and myself have had to be of steroids due to poison oak. It's no joke around here.
 
Posts: 192
Location: Missoula, MT
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Clearing poison ivy is actually something I know about; a first in my permaculture adventure!

Since I was highly allergic and prone to playing carelessly in the woods, my father developed a multi-pronged approach to keeping it at bay. Most of which other permies have suggested, here.

1) Prune nearby limbs if possible to fry it in the sunlight.
2) Whack the main vine with a machete, then clean the machete. (He stuck it in the burn pile for a few minutes.)
3) Smother the root top with Borax. (This is suggested in Weeds and What They Tell. He made a pile around the area. [I know Paul has issue with Borax and I am not sure the toxicity level. Personally, I would prefer a bit of toxicity over this highly toxic plant, but Paul is more evolved than I.]
4) Spray the dangling PI leaves with a solution of vinegar, dissolved Borax, and hydrogen peroxide (the strength my mom used for dyeing her hair) The entire solution had to be used once mixed, else the bottle might explode. Perhaps, my father just told me that so I would finish the task. Only an experiment will tell for sure. If the bottle starts getting warm or begins to swell, burp it. Obviously, this would only work for small patches.

He also made a point to dump his used oil on certain patches, but I do NOT recommend that treatment.

It does not like sand! My experiment will be to whack it, spray it with the 'explosive' solution, and dump a few wheelbarrows of sand over the the entire area and all around the host tree.
 
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I belong to a Tree Orchard cooperative that is attempting to eradicate Poison Ivy. I want to do this without Round Up, Gasoline or any other material that is harmful to soil/water ecosystems. Let the experiments begin!

I've heard for years that clove oil works best but no one has much to say about their personal experiences with this defoliant especially in this forum.

I found a product called St. Gabriel Laboratories Poison Ivy Defoliant which is currently unavailable. It contains 12% clove oil, 8% sodium laurel sulfate (a surfactant), vinegar (for cutting the oil?), Lecithin (another surfactant), water, citric acid (emulsifier??, keeping oil/water from separating), and Mineral Oil. Mineral oil has many uses; Wikipedia has this to say, "Horticultural oil is often made of a combination of mineral oil and detergent. It is sprayed on plants to control scale, aphid and other pest populations by suffocating the pest". With approval from my group, I would like to make my own version of this product. (I will keep you posted.)

I am highly allergic to poison ivy and the oak and sumac versions. Had the Oak over 3/4 of my body while staying on a farm in California and despite several hot water washings of my clothing and sleep bag, I continued to contract it when I returned to Michigan. I had it for a total of 14 weeks and the ONLY things that helped me were ice/cold water baths and one application of a prescription topical steroid (repeated applications did not work). I wish I had had the forethought to go to the Pacific Ocean (salt destabilizes the oil, cold water soothes/washes oils away).

When the multitude of purchased products failed (see Oatmeal based creams, Oatmeal itself, hydro cortisone applications, calamine lotion, tumeric powder, etc.), I tried the scalding hot water idea and I think this is pure non sense. Why? I believe the Poison ivy rash is a heat reaction under the skin. Even if the oil is removed from the skin, the mechanical action of scratching creates friction (hence heat) and spreads the rash. Doctors say this is not possible--that only the oil can spread the rash--but I think they are wrong.

At week 11, I was visiting friends in Indiana. We decided to make a fire in the fireplace. Oooh. Bad news for me. Simply sitting on the couch 3 feet away caused me such anguish! The rash flared up again after that and the only thing that brought me relief on the ride home, was to buy a bag of ice. I divided the bag, putting half of the ice on one thigh and half on the other. I was real careful after that to avoid heat.

I talked to forest fire rangers in California. They said it can be deadly to inhale burned plant material and you can really screw up your eyes if you get the smoke in them. Doctors said it's absolutely horrible to get the rash on your genitalia which is something that happens more frequently with men. They also said not much is known about PI/PO reactions despite the fact that people have been getting them for a long, long time. Looks like we need more 'scientists' within the community.

Lastly, I want to talk about Jewelweed. It was mentioned by at least one person in this post. Folks say that counteractive plants often grown near their toxic cousins. Jewelweed is one of these plants. I believe Native American Indians used it. If I ever contract the rash again, I would certainly like to give it a try. Literature suggests making a poultice from the leaves and juice of the stems.
 
Posts: 27
Location: Kent County, MI
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Any luck with these efforts? I am considering the effectiveness of growing allelopathic plants in a perimeter around the worst area. Then Possibly using an extract from them to spray the vines directly? Thoughts?
 
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I see someone mentions smothering it, so what about cutting it down and applying a nice thick sheet mulching?
 
Posts: 62
Location: Northeast Arkansas
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My experience with mature patches of poison ivy is it can be tamed, but it is not something that I was able to accomplish in one application. However it is something that can be dealt with. Smothering probably works very well, but in the cases I was dealing with application was impractical (crawling up chainlink fece, growing too near plants I wanted to keep, etc.) and other impracticalities kept me from renting goats.

Spraying with vinegar (peroxide works too, I just usually had larger quantities of vinegar on hand) can help wither the leaves (hot days make it scorch that much better, add a little soap so it stays on the leaves longer if you wish.) Boiling water will kill the roots (but is not practical in most places, using an electric kettle and extension cord allows a little more range. Decreasing shade didn't seem to knock it back any, but the ivy was less likely to re-enter an area that was made to be sunnier. Chopping the plant with a shovel or machete is good (or any mechanical means). This is especially effective for where it climbs. I usually chop it twice on the tree and knock the cut section away (I swear the two ends can mend themselves back together if close enough.) When cut on the ground I try to flip the vine away so the cut portions aren't still buried, allowing them to re-root before the wound dries out. If I had the vinegar with me while I chopped the vines I would squirt some on the wound; probably helped, but I couldn't tell enough of a difference to make it worth walking back to the house to get the vinegar if not already on hand.

I mainly used the vinegar and machete as my tools for getting rid of the ivy, the boiling water was too much of a hassle in most cases and I always worried about scorching some desired plants roots that happened to be in the same area.

Anytime you know you will be going near an area of poison ivy you want gone, carry something to cut vines with (machete, shovel, snips, hoe, anything really) and/or a bottle of vinegar (or peroxide if you have it) with you. Don't have anything with you, mulch over any poison ivy leaves you see (being an "edge" plant, there is usually some natural mulch around you can re-position). The main thing is to just stay on top of it, it's remarkable what an extra two minutes of effort each trip by can do for not allowing it to gain any ground (walking by and drop a shovel on the vine and flip the wound up as you remove the shovel from the ground, or squirting the leaves on your way to and from the garden/woods/ swimming hole). This allows you to slowly work it back and keep any ground you gain, it is especially frustrating to work on a patch for a whole afternoon eradicating it and come back later and it look more vigorous than before because you didn't get every last bit of it. out of the ground.

So, increase sunlight if possible to deter plants, knock it back mechanically and/or with vinegar/peroxide (soap allows it to stick on plant longer). Then keep it back and starve it out by killing new growth before it can provide significant food to the root system.




 
Posts: 16
Location: New England
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I've seen various suggestions on what type of protective equipment to use when clearing the stuff by hand.

For those of us not extremely sensitive, I've found rose pruning gloves to be really effective:
http://www.leevalley.com/us/garden/page.aspx?p=62005&cat=2,42407,33246

They're thorn-resistant (around here, poison ivy and wild roses like to play together), they cover up to the shoulder, and the palms are textured to improve grip when pulling up roots.

When I'm done with a session, I wash them while wearing them in our utility sink, and hang them up to dry.
 
Posts: 3
Location: London Ontario
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Heritage Farm wrote: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.



This is very interesting. I've never seen this information anywhere else. Can you tell me more about this book?
I"m wondering if the Ca, P, Mo, Si or Se deficiencies in the soil were dealt with if it would go away or not be as vigorous...

There was poison ivy at my parent's cottage a decade ago that escaped English Ivy smothered out. I haven't seen a leaf of it in years. I'm not happy about the English Ivy now blanketing the forest floor but at least the poison ivy is gone. Now how do I get rid of the English Ivy??

I saw someone posted that Sweet Autumn Clematis had outcompeted theirs. This is not desirable to have everywhere either. I wonder if the native Virgin's Bower clematis would work in it's stead?
 
gardener
Posts: 1394
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Wow -- this is an oldie-goldie thread, resurrected from the long ago past.  I smiled a little bit when I saw some of the names of the people who originally posted 12 years ago.  

Yes, goats eat poison ivy, Also cows and pigs.  A lot of animals in the wild eat poison ivy, which is how the seeds tend to spread.  A goat/pig combination is best suited to eradicate poison ivy because the goats nibble it down  short to the ground or the vine, and then the pigs root out the young poison ivy plants.  Starved of nutrition, poison ivy plants will eventually die.  Just keep grazing them, grazing them, grazing them . . . and the plant finally gives up.

The problem (PI) is the solution (animal fodder).
 
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