Answer: This is very tough. There's a landscape firm in California that successfully uses a combination of techniques (cutting, burning, spot-herbicide applications and grazing goats!) to vanquish poison ivy. If there isn't someone in your area that can provide this service, probably the only way you are going to get rid of the poison ivy is to use a systemic herbicide (such as "Weed-Be-Gone"). Call your Solid Waste District to find a safe place to discard the dead plant material. You'll need to stay on patrol to keep any stray escapees from returning to the site (it may be worth your while to invest in a flame weeder for this purpose). Once you've conquered the poison ivy then put down a thick layer of compost, and plant away.
You may also consider contacting your County Extension Service for ideas on how to eradicate poison ivy in your area. It really is a tough, ongoing job.
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