Poison oak on beach

Asked July 9, 2019, 12:53 PM EDT

Poison oak is growing along the beach where my family gathers and plays. I am an organic gardener & don't use chemicals. How would you suggest getting rid of poison oak from this beach area: least toxic to most toxic? Thank you!

Mason County Washington

1 Response

Okay, here's how to do it...roll up your sleeves and let's get to work!

On second thought--roll your sleeves down! If you are not willing to use an herbicide, you will have to get rid of it the old-fashioned way. Have you ever had a serious reaction to poison oak or poison ivy? If so, employ someone else to do this.

First, make sure you have every bit of skin covered. You may even want to use rubber bands or duct tape to make sure there is no gap at your ankles and wrists. Don't use latex gloves--they absorb the oils. Disposable cotton garden gloves may be a good way to go. use protective eyeware --the ones you use in the workshop will do fine. Do not touch your face once you get started. First use clippers to cut the plant down near the roots. If possible, place a plastic garbage bag over the top of the branches you're clipping so they'll already be bagged up when you clip them off. The next step is to dig out the roots--go about 10-12 inches from the base of the plant and the same depth. In sand it probably won't be too difficult. when you've loosened the soil around the roots, try to GENTLY pull out the roots, and bag them up. Don't fling the soil around!

Gather all of your plant debris in a large plastic bag, tie it off, and take it to the dump. Don't put it in your trashcan!

Wash all your clothes in very hot water and detergent. You may want to wash them twice to make sure all the oil is off the clothes and shoes. Wash your tools in soapy water and finish them with a mineral spirit wipe. Keep an eye on the area where you removed the plant to keep an eye on stragglers.

That's it! Good luck!