Thoughts on poison ivy

blueridgemtngrl(6b)

I am wondering how aggressively I should be killing off the poison ivy in my yard. There is a steep area going down to our creek that has poison ivy growing. It isn't an area that I or the dogs will go, so I am wondering if I should leave it. The other issue is that it is already woody and I am not sure I could get away with getting rid of it without chemicals, which I don't want to use, especially near the creek.

I realize the flip side to this is that the birds will eat the berries and plant more, but I live in a rural area that is left pretty wild and there is likely a lot more very nearby. And the birds are kind of the point. It is a great wildlife plant.

Also, has anyone used white vinegar as a weed killer? I read about it on another site. My property was unoccupied for almost a year before I moved in and was allowed to get pretty weedy. I am slowly getting a couple of areas under control but hand pulling in some areas takes a really long time and if white vinegar would work, it would be a nice solution to not using chemicals, which I don't use as a rule.

Your thoughts would be appreciated!

Happy Memorial Day! Thanks to those who have or are serving!

Blue Ridge Mountain Girl

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Comments (11)
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

If it doesn't affect you I would leave it. The birds will, no doubt, bring it from smewhere even if you got rid of yours. An expensive and time-consuming process even *with* chems.

Just my humble opinion.

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I usually only focus on eradicating poison ivy in areas where I have the potential to come into contact with it. If its near a path or in the yard area, then I am on top of it. I am severely allergic and have gotten it from my dogs before...so if my dogs were getting into it... I'd probably already be full of boils...

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bob64(6)

PI is prolific and little bits you miss will eventually fill in the gaps. I would limit myself to killing the PI where I know I would likely to be in contact with it. Everything else is a lot of work for little reward in the long run. You could clip the vines that are climbing the trees to slow down the berry production but you will risk exposure that way. Never tried the vinegar idea. You could also put on a "Hazmat" suit (or the Tyvec suits I saw in a forestry catalog) and hit it with a line trimmer in places just to slow it down but I doubt it is worth it.

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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I would leave the Poison Ivy except in areas where you are going to go. You're right, it is a great wildlife plant, especially the berries for birds, and you're also right in thinking that there is probably a lot of it all around you and the berries from your vines aren't going to add much to the supply of seeds that birds bring in. Even if you eradicate it completely from your land, which would be a tough task, you'd still have birds planting new ones.

I'm not sure vinegar is any more environmentally friendly than Roundup. Both are chemicals, and at least Roundup is supposed to break down to relatively harmless chemicals upon contact with soil. I am not sure the same could be said of vinegar. ROundup is probably a lot more effective than vinegar at killing the plants you want to kill and not killing nearby plants. If i was trying to eliminate Poison Ivy (and, in fact, I am at my place) I would use ROundup. It will kill Poison Ivy, although it takes several applications before you stop seeing new shoots from the roots. Cutting or digging are likely to result in you getting a rash. For me, poison ivy has become a really serious rash anytime I toush it even a little, so I don't allow any to grow on my two acres, although I wish I could allow a nice berry-bearing vine or two to remain for the birds.

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ghoghunter

The homemade foliage killers I saw are made up of 20% vinegar. That must be ordered online. Here is a link.
Joann

Here is a link that might be useful: 20% vinegar to kill vegetation

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runsnwalken

Poison ivy is a beautiful plant, I love its flowers and big leaves- they look just like Jack in the pulpit. But it IS a danger so kill it wherever YOUR going to be but leave it elsewhere. However you may be dooming the natives by leaving it intact when you move or sell the house.

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blueridgemtngrl(6b)

Thanks for all the posts. I plan on leaving it on the steep bank as it would be hard to kill anyway without having to worry about overspray, getting it on me, etc. I certainly don't want to risk Roundup getting into the creek. It is really the only area where it is big. The rest should be easy to eradicate.

I have decided to go the Roundup route in trying to get rid of all the small plants. They seem to be popping up everywhere. The straight vinegar hasn't done much in the way of killing anything.

Blue Ridge Mountain Girl

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Iris GW

Make sure you use the "round up" formulated for woody plants (it might even say Poison Ivy killer on the front of the label).

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terryr(z5a IL)

Poison Ivy is a native plant. I'm confused on how it "dooms the natives by leaving it intact"?

I'm not allergic and neither is my husband. I would love to have some, but I know too many people are allergic, so I have none on our property. Big difference I see is that we're in town, not rural.

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Iris GW

Perhaps runsnwalken meant that the new owners would see the poison ivy and start spraying everything?

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stoloniferous(6)

I am slowly beating back the poison ivy incursion in the non-wild portions of my yard without chemicals, by suiting up in plastic and removing the plants by hand. I'll never be able to eliminate it all, but I'll eventually be able to garden where I want in reasonable safety. As for the wild portions of my yard - the poison ivy and poison sumac can stay there to feed the birds. Both are native.

I wrote up a long post on removal of poison ivy here:

Here is a link that might be useful: poison ivy removal tips

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