A yard overtaken

Painesville, OH(Zone 5b)

I am helping my neighbor to convert her weed/invasive plant-infested yard into something pretty. The whole fence is covered in poison ivy, virginia creeper, and the like. Everything growing in her yard is a thug. I went buck wild with round up last year and all that happened was that I got one NASTY rash from the poison ivy. She is in poor health, so I will actually be doing the work. How do I get rid of all this junk in the quickest, most painless way (i.e. I have a tempermental back) possible? Tamara

Hawthorne, FL(Zone 8b)

I am told that goats consider poison ivy a treat. I do not know how practical it would be to put a couple of goats in that yard...

Mark., probably a useless suggestion, but they work great on kudzu near the FSU campus in Tallahassee

Painesville, OH(Zone 5b)

lol...umm, the only goats around here are at a petting zoo. Thanks for the suggestion....maybe I can convince my neighbor to "rent" one of them. ;-) Tamara

Peoria, IL

Poison ivy and Virginia creeper aren't invasive, but they can be aggressive.

I would probably use 2,4 D on the poison ivy. Its a typical ingredient in the chemicals labled as "brush killers". ie, Ortho Weed and Brush Killer or Ortho Poison Ivy Killer.

Round-up is not that effective on plants after they reach the woody stage, unless you keep reapplying it.

I have been trying to get Virginia Creeper to grow on my back fence line.

somewhere, PA

Be really careful about that 2, 4 D. Don't let it get on your skin. A family friend used it on his farm a few
too many times and ended up with serious nerve problems. He's a nuclear engineering professor and
could not work for almost a year. Couldn't think, couldn't work, couldn't do anything. Nasty stuff. I guess
its a neurotoxin that can build up in your system.

Mike McGrath (ex-Editor of Organic gardening) recommends wearing double layers of thick plastic bags
and using the outer layer to hold the poison ivy that you pull (pull it and then invert the bag on itself so that
the ivy is now on the inside of the bag). You'd need heavy bags so there are no rips. Two layers in case
you get rips. And gloves underneath just in case. Long sleaves. And you can use Tecnu after to wash up.

Even the dead plant material has the urisol oil on it and can cause the rash. I think trying to pull and bag
it is a good idea. If you can do this with your bad back.


Painesville, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks, Tammy! I would put on a biohazard suit if I had one, but plastic bags sound like a good alternative. ;-) My DH claims he is immune to PI and that he will help me. We shall see... Tamara

Central, AL(Zone 8a)

This is one area where I have a lot of experience!

You don't have to spray the whole plant. Cut the stem and put Brush B Gon on the cut part. It will kill the plant back to the roots. You can paint it on to avoid a lot of contamination to the surrounding plants. Do not burn any part of the dead vines or any logs that have come from poison ivy contaminated trees. The little rootlets of the poison ivy vine will still be on the logs and will burn causing poison ivy laden smoke to get into your eyes and lungs.

I had to clear 6 acres of the stuff and that is what worked for me although I was heavily infested and it took a couple of years. I had poison ivy vines probably 15-20 years old as big around as my arm climbing 50 feet up into pine trees.

East Alton, IL

I have a back yard separated from a woody lot when it started to green up and was mowed first I was astounded, we are overrun by poison ivy, which my husband is violently allergic and I have bad back problems. I have them everywhere at least 500 or more.. At 1-2 inches are they already producing toxins? Is it safe for me to manually pull them from wet soil? Our weather has been wet and raining for nearly a week with the same expected for next week. I am sorry to ask so many questions but I am out of ideas and need help desperately. We live in a goat free area I believe but I will look for some!

Is there any granular treatment that I can apply to affect only the PI? How can i begin to remove any of it if I can't spray because it needs 3 days of dry sunny weather. What spray do you recommend? Do you think manual removal is the best way to go? Thanks in advance

This message was edited Apr 24, 2011 1:37 AM

Saraland, AL(Zone 8b)

You could try cutting it at ground level to keep it under control until you get a few days of dry weather. If you are allergic but sure wear some vinyl or nitrile gloves when handling it and wash off your shears when you are finished.

Once you get some nice weather spray it with a chemical designed for woody vines. I have had success with this stuff before on briars, honeysuckle, Virginia creeper and poison Ivy


Instead of using a water hose I mixed into 2 gallons of water in a pump sprayer. This allowed me to go way back on my property where hose won't reach and also let me spray a small amount on each plant.

Regardless of what method you decide on, please do not burn poison ivy. The smoke will contain the same toxin as the plant but will now be an irritant to your eyes and lungs.

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

Joe, I have to take issue with your statement that PI and VC aren't invasive. I don't have either out of control in my landscape but they both seed ALL over the place. By the hundreds every year. I pulll more VC than anything else other than Hackberries.
That being said there may be areas where it doesn't invade like it does in mine. I haven't heard of any so far though.

This message was edited Jun 6, 2011 9:22 AM

East Alton, IL

Thank you so much for your tips front yard is clear back yard 75%. Rear lot hahahahahah.. :) I am working on it though. If i get it down a bit may pay that guy to come and rip it up by it's cruddy little roots, only cause family is so alergic to it.

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