What needs to be done to keep my woodlands free of Poison Ivy?

Mr. Brian,


If a person is extremely susceptible to poison ivy, then removing the plant from around a house/cabin, patio, or often-used trails can be accomplished with most any foliar-active herbicide.


On the remaining areas, why not let it grow? The fruits are eaten by many species of songbirds, especially during winter. Woodpeckers seem to like them also. And in the Southeast, poison ivy is a moderate to high preference Deer forage and an important food plant for the Swamp Rabbit.


To the best of my knowledge there is no way to prevent poison ivy from entering a woodlot, and only 2 ways to get rid of it once it is established. Poison ivy is a native plant to all of North America so at some point every woodlot owner may have to deal with it.

1) Hand removal - wear heavy rubber gloves and physically pull out all the vine and roots. It may come back so keep pulling, eventually you will wear it out. Dispose of the plants and the gloves in plastic garbage bags. DO NOT BURN POISON IVY! The oils in the plant will become airborne and may cause breathing problems. Thoroughly wash all clothes and exposed skin to remove the plant oil that causes the reaction.

2) Chemical treatment - a) commonly available herbicides are approved for use on poison ivy. Be sure to follow all label directions and, if applicable, obtain any necessary permits for use. It may take several applications to fully eradicate the plants. b) although I have not used this method myself, I understand that scalding the plants with boiling water is an effective and organic method to get rid of them.

For more information go to http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/weed-identification-control/poison-ivy-c... or contact your local Cooperative Extension agent.