poison Ivy reduction

Asked June 20, 2016, 5:25 PM EDT

My neighbor and I have a bunch of poison ivy growing on our shared property line and would like to know a good way to get rid of it, with little damage to the environment. We have young children so that is also a concern. We have been pulling it for years, and wearing long sleeves and pants but we always get bad rashes. Any ideas for getting rid of it once and for all? thanks!!!

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

This is doable, but it requires vigilance and persistence.

The trick is to beat it back (pull roots if you can), and afterward not let it get going again. This requires persistence to kill the original growth, and may require weekly or biweekly checks for new growth. Pull new growth immediately or spray with a systemic herbicide (which goes down and kills roots) containing the labeled ingredients glyphosate or triclopyr. Poison ivy should be one the plants listed on the herbicide's label. By not allowing the leaves to grow for long, they cannot carry on photosynthesis, produce carbohydrates, and thus energize the root system. You want to starve the root system to death. This can be done in one growing season.

Poison ivy is a native vine and produces berries that are part of bird's diet. So, poison ivy seeds will always be dropped on your property now and then. Poison ivy is very easy to pull up when it is a new seedling.

Children can learn to identify plants at a young age. "Leaves of three, let it be" is a helpful way for kids to remember to look out for poison ivy.

Here is the poison ivy info from our website. Be sure to look at the Publication link, which should help with preventing rashes: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/poison-ivy