Poison Ivy: After brush hogging

Asked September 13, 2013, 4:49 PM EDT

How do I keep poison ivy and staghorn sumac at bay after brush hogging? Also what should I do with the downed debris after brush hogging? How long is it before it's safe to walk on that ground if grass is laid down? Should I put some sort of pesticide down to kill the poison ivy below ground before I try to replant on it after brush hogging?

Ingham County Michigan weed issues poison ivy

1 Response

Urushiol oil, the active indgredient in Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac, can last on your cutting equipment for up to 5 years if you don't clean it immediately after use with rubbing Alcohol or soap and plenty of water. With that said I'm assuming that the oil will also stay active on clothing and shoes and/or boots and gloves without immediate cleaning. Use rubber gloves while disrobing because the oils collected on them will cause problems for you as well.

As far as control of these plants goes this may take a few cuttings of the plants as well as with an application of Glyphosate (Roundup) to the freshly cut ends of the plants where the stem comes out of the ground. Triclopyr will also work on these vexing plants but again the chemical needs to be applied while the wounds are freshly cut.

I'm going to give you a few reading sites that should help you both with control issues and understanding the plants you are dealing with in the field.

Control: poisonivy.aesir.com/view/control.html
Understanding: www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/plants/
Same: www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/videoresource/fspoisonivyoaks.pd

There is a wealth of information in these three articles that you can use. Remember that Urushiol can stay on your cutting tools for up to five years without cleaning them. Glyphosate will dissipate in the environment after 48 hours but it doesn't necessarily dissolve the oils themselves. Until the plants are completely dead and there have been a few rain episodes I wouldn't consider the area safe to walk barefooted in or some such. The articles quoted above will caution about wearing proper clothing protection as well while cutting the plants. Please be safe when dealing with these plants and with your brush hog as well. ALSO DO NOT BURN THESE PLANTS AS THE OILS CAN BE CARRIED BY THE SMOKE TO SENSITIVE INDIVIDUALS.

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