The Q&A Archives: Poison ivy control without harming other plants or veges

Question: We have poison ivy growing. What can we do to control it without harming the lillies and other plants in our garden?

Answer: Poison ivy can be difficult to control. You may need to attack it several times before the plant is truly dead. You can try to dig it out, taking as much root as possible, it will most likely grow back, but if repeated often the process will eventually exhaust the root. Sometimes it can be cut down and then the root smothered beneath a piece of cardboard topped with a thick layer of organic mulch. You can also treat it with an herbicide containing glyphosate. This can be painted on the cut ends, or applied to the foliage. A wipe-on application method is easier to control than a spray. Be sure to carefully read and follow all of the label directions. Keep in mind that this is a nonselective herbicide and will kill non target plants as well as the weed, so do not allow it to contact your flowers. Also, late summer is the best time to apply it to the foliage as this is when the plant is building its root reserves prior to going dormant for the winter. Good luck!

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