Poison Ivy is an unpleasant and unavoidable part of the New England landscape. In the woods, in your yard, climbing 30 feet up a tree and creeping through your perennials. Even its’ botanical name, Toxicodendron radicans, just sounds . . .awful.
Most people are inherently allergic to Poison Ivy. It is a deciduous vine that has resinous oils on all parts of the plant, all times of the year, whether it is dead or alive. This means that you can get Poison Ivy from touching the plant or the roots or the rake handle that was lying in it, petting your dog after he ran through the field of Poison Ivy and even inhaling it when it’s being burned. How’s that for your odds of getting the nasty, itchy rash associated with exposure to Poison Ivy?
What to do?
First, you must know how to identify it. We’ve all heard that wise warning “Leaves of three, leave it be”.
This is a common bramble – yes, three leaves, but it has thorns and young stems are blue.
Virginia Creeper – Yes, a vine, but it has five leaves, not three.
Here is the Poison ivy mingling with the Virginia Creeper – can you tell the difference?
How can you deal with Poison Ivy in your landscape? It is best to be pulled from the roots whenever possible. It goes without saying that this should be done while taking all precautions to prevent any contact with the skin. If you’re very sensitive or highly allergic to poison ivy, it’s a good idea to hire someone else to do it.
Alternatively you can treat the plant with a non-selective herbicide, such as commercially available RoundUp. However keep in mind that “non-selective” means that if you spray the Zinnia or Vinca next to the Poison Ivy that you will be saying goodbye to those desirable plants, as well.
My advice? Stay away from those three-leaved scoundrels. And if you can’t avoid it, and you’ve got to deal with it, call ArborTech and I will personally have the new guy do it for you.