I recently had the good fortune to travel to Washington, DC, with some of our 4-H youth on a bus. The ride was as good as a bus trip can be except for my small case of poison ivy. Apparently I came in contact with the poison ivy while mowing in preparation for the trip.
Poison ivy grows in our area, and I saw a lot of it growing all the way to and in DC. On the plus side, the three leaflet leaves turn a beautiful red in the fall. As long as you don’t come in contact with any open poison ivy plant wounds, you shouldn’t have a reaction.
Several methods can be used to remove poison ivy and other weeds. All plants can be killed by continually removing the leaves and starving the plant. This will require persistence. Prune as low on the plant as possible and keep removing any new growth.
Protective clothing is particularly necessary for poison ivy since cutting it will expose the oily sap that causes the skin rash. Use lots and lots of cold water and soap to clean any exposed skin, clothing and tools.
Putting black plastic or a bucket over the plant is another way to get rid of it. This method will take a while, but once in place, it won’t need additional attention like the pruning method. It may take all summer to kill it.
The use of an herbicide is the quickest method of control. It can either be foliar-applied or on some labels, stump-applied. Two commonly selected herbicides are triclopyr and glyphosate.
Always read and carefully follow all directions on the container label. You will then be using the product in its most safest and effective manner. If you have leftover pesticides, you may take them to the local household hazardous waste facility. The Riley County site is at 6245 Tuttle Creek Boulevard.
People bring plant samples in to the Extension office for identification. For some samples like poison ivy, a picture brought in or sent by email are preferred by me. When a sample or picture doesn’t work, the Extension agent can drop by and take a look.
If you have a problem or question on gardening, I hope to hear from you.
If you would like additional information on a horticulture topic, please contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension.