The Q&A Archives: Poison Ivy Eradication

Question: We recently purchased a home on 2 acres in the Texas Hill Country outside San Antonio. While most of the yard is in good shape, there were four large areas that the previous owner allowed to over grow. These areas are covered with Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper. While to Virginia Creeper is out of control, I feel I can get it back in order. The problem is the poison ivy. I have tried cutting it down, saturating the exposed leaves with Round-Up, and a few other things, but it keeps coming back.

Any ideas how to permanently rid it from our yard? My wife loves to work in the yard, but cannot because she is highly allergic to this stuff and breaks out just about everytime she goes out in the yard.

Answer: 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.

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