The Q&A Archives: poison ivy

Question: We purchased a 30 yr old home that had left the back of the property grow with poison ivy. I had never seen poison ivy grow like trees! It covered every tree and the ground in an area 20'x150'. I hired some one to cut down the poison ivy and I have sprayed veg killer at least three x each season so far. I have tried many different brands of weed killer. I have gotten rid of most of the poison ivy but not all. I still get a few seedlings among my gardens and also from the roots. Any advice on how to rid ourselves of this nasty vine!!!!????? I would like to plant some shade tolerant plants under the trees one day. thanks

Answer: Poison ivy can be difficult to control, but if you keep at it, you'll eventually win the battle. Timing is important when trying to eradicate such an extensive and well established stand of poison ivy. An herbicide containing glyphosate formulated for brush and applied (and possibly reapplied) according to the label instructions should do the job. Note that a late summer, early fall application (while the roots are rebuilding reserves) can be more effective than a spring applications. Spraying will help but there are probably seeds buried in the soil, as well. You might try laying weed barrier or even thick layers of newspaper or cardboard over the area to keep seeds from germinating. If you use weed barrier you can cover the entire area and then cut holes in it to plant your shrubs and perennials. And, whenever you see a new shoot of poison ivy emerge, cut it down to ground level. As long as you persist in cutting it down, the roots will eventually run out of stored energy and they will die off.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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