The Q&A Archives: Controlling Poison Ivy

Question: I would like to turn an area of our timber into a wildflower garden. It is currently overgrown with poison ivy, grasses, and weeds. What is the best way to prepare the area? Can I get the seeds started this year? Jill Koch Cedar Rapids, IA

Answer: I think the only way you are going to get rid of the poison ivy is to use an herbicide. Poison ivy is difficult to get rid of if all you are going to do is hand weed since it has underground stems. You can try "Finale" (I think the Safer Corp. makes this) but you will probably need to use something a bit more strong like "Weed-Be-Gone". Once you've conquered the poison ivy (the herbicide will definitely take care of the weeks and grasses-it won't hurt the trees), then put down a thick layer of compost. This will allow the tree roots to breath and provide a layer in which to plant. And you don't have to do any digging (and thus avoiding disturbing tree roots!) Good Luck with the poison ivy!!!

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