The Q&A Archives: Poison Ivy

Question: We have had an ongoing problem (years)with poison ivy in our front yard that has taken over our shrubs and other plantings and is killing off everything. We tried a product that killed the shrubs, but did not stop the poison ivy from spreading, not to mention infection when trying to do plant trimming. Please can you suggest a solution! 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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