It’s summer here in Oklahoma and that means poison ivy. This three-leaf plant grows as both a low shrub and a climbing vine in my yard. Last year I spotted it climbing up the telephone pole in the far corner of my backyard. This year I’ve already spotted it making its home next to a large butterfly bush. Unfortunately for the poison ivy, I don’t intend to make it feel welcome. I’ve found the safest way to deal with poison ivy is to kill it with Ortho’s poison ivy and brush killer. Once the plant is dead I can remove it from high traffic areas or just keep it killed off in less used areas of the yard.
Although in every other area of the garden I avoid any type of chemical, poison ivy is the one pest for which I’ll make an exception. You can try to pull it or cut it out, but it’s nearly impossible to remove all the roots – and that means the plant will simply start growing again. The Ortho poison ivy killer goes all they way down and kills the roots of the plant, preventing it from coming back in the near future.
These are the steps I follow to rid my yard of poison ivy. Typically, if I start early in the season, I won’t have to deal with it again until the following year.
1. Spray the leaves and stems thoroughly with the poison ivy killer. You should wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves, eye protection and a mask when working with this herbicide. Keep pets and children away from the area that has been treated. It usually dries within a couple of hours. Do not get the product on any plants you want to keep because the herbicide is not selective and will kill anything it comes into contact with. Try to spray the poison ivy on a dry, calm day. However, Ortho says after 2 hours rain will not reduce the effectiveness of the application.
2. Spray again one week to 10 days later. According to the product label, the plants will start to die in two to six weeks. However, I’ve had the best luck by reapplying a second time. One application does not seem to kill the poison ivy completely in the two to six week time frame. I don’t like poison ivy, so I always do a second application.
3. Once the plants have pretty much dried up, I remove the above ground portions if I want to clear the area. Wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves and a face mask. The Urushoil oil that causes the poison ivy rash is still present even once the plant has died. In addition, the dried foliage may product dust with the oil that can irritate nasal passages and lungs. Dispose of the debris in your trash. Do not burn the plants. Burning releases the oils and can cause serious respiratory problems in persons sensitive to the Urushoil oil. Wash the clothes you wore while removing the plants, including your work gloves, in order to remove any trace of the oil.
4. Monitor the spot throughout the summer. Re-spray any new growth as soon as it appears.
Poison ivy and summer seem to go hand in hand. However, your yard can be poison ivy free with just a little bit of effort.
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