Poison Ivy, Can’t Touch It?

Start Looking Now In The Early Stages, Easy Kill

Over the past several days it seems, I have been asked what to kill this vine with. Yes, it’s beautiful Fall foliage is striking, in the tops of trees, but does it belong in the Gardeners Landscape? Is there a reason it survives? Recently, I have been in on some conversations about how to kill it. Bad thing is, it will grow anywhere, any soil, high or low Ph in most cases. So how do we control or kill it?

First good way, is to watch Lilacs, as the blooms emerge, so does Poison Ivy. That’s when to really try to eliminate it, as it starts to leaf out. If are persistent in removal of the “Tru Leaves”, you can starve it out, just by removal of them, but takes a while, that root is a mile long, right? Those first leaves aren’t pulling from the ground yet, they are needing Sunlight to perform Photosynthesis to feed the root. So removal, will starve the root…. UGH!!

So many folks are highly allergic these days, can’t even look at it. So how can it be eradicated without harm to them? Some garden beds, it just shows up, from nowhere, from seed from your Avian friends. So Mathilda, here’s your removal remedies.

First way to try, would be with a chemical. But the vile vine is in your Rose Garden. Can’t actually spray, and most likely, don’t want to. Never use Round-Up, that chem has Diquat and Glyphosate. Diquat is a defoliant, and this vine, IF the chem works, alerts it that something is attacking it from topside, and it will detach from the root, before the Glyphosate can reach the root bed to do the actual kill, to save itself. Glyphosate takes 7 days to kill grass, imagine how long to kill a vast root system. See? Get it? But most likely, most won’t be affected, because of the oily leaf coating, it won’t stick to it to make a dent….. No Surfactant.

Second, Organically. Yes there are thoughts of Vinegar, Bleach, FIRE!!! And other Kitchen things. But breaking down to what ratio, and how the plant actually lives, and protects itself, is the key. There are 3 ways, with any concoction, or chem to kill. A couple, you do have to “disturb” it, not actually handle it.  So pick your poison (pun intended} on how safe you feel.

Wicking, the application of a chemical to each leaf, using a cotton swab, rag on a stick, whatever, carefully not getting on wanted plant life.

Spraying, but only if the plant is not within the combined area of desired plantings. (Same concoction as below, but remember as a foliar spray, “if its green, it’s dead”)

Siphoning, (Systemic Induction) this may be you Mathilda, which only requires you to cut it, and put in a can with a chemical, and allow it to suck it down to the root bed. Actually, if you use one of those long pick up grabber things, you can work about it in a safe distance.

Your Non $$ chem can be as simple as one gallon White Vinegar, one cup Epsom Salt, and two TBS of Dawn Dish Detergent. Got your Bean Cans and rocks? OK, lets go. Mix your grog, and pour in can to about 2/3 full, not 1/3 empty, but 2/3 full make sure, 2/3 full, and under no circumstances, should it be 1/3 empty (MP Royal Hand-grenade?) Next, using your mile long grabber, pull a piece of the new tender growth vine until it rips off, and put the end of the still rooted intact vine in the can, put in a rock to hold it in, but don’t wedge it in, you will pinch the “straw”, and it usually will siphon it out within a day or two this time of year. Don’t forget to bag the piece you ripped off and toss in garbage. There, ya did it, but try to do several places around the base of the plant. If it’s winding around a desirable plant, won’t hurt it, it’s IN the vine. Soak your grabber thing in same solution or straight Dawn and rinse to sterilize.

Takes a bit of doing, but keep following up for a month or so after you see it dying off. As you see new leafs shooting up from time to time, simply snip, yank, shoot, whatever, them off. The plant is trying to do the last ditch effort, send out leafs to get Photosynthesis to occur to save itself. The more it loses those leaves, it dies a bit more each day.

Vinegar, lowers the Ph below it’s feeding capabilities, does burn anything, the Epsom Salts, Magnesium, supercharges plants to intake all that’s available (vinegar). Dawn Dish Detergent, animal fat, your surfactant, either in a foliar spray, adheres to slick leaves, or keeps the inner woody stems open to induce the vinegar.

Diquat, a defoliant, most vines and tuber/rhizome plants will disconnect when trouble above is occurring. Glyphosate is an axcellerant in cellular growth in a plant (and as Humans, we are plant like make up) and makes the plant grow so fast the cells rupture, making it look burned, in other words, gives the plant cancer. Takes 7 days to get to the root, so if the plant detaches in a day or two, no kill. So in actual fact, straight Glyphosate is better than Round Up.