The Q&A Archives: poison ivy

Question: I have poison ivy growing in the middle of my shrubbery. Do I need to remove the whole brush or is there a way I can kill the ivy without harming the shrubbery

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 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. Since you have other plants you'd like to save, your best approach is probably cutting the vines down to ground level and carefully painting the stubs with glyphosate. this way you'll target the poison ivy but not the other plants. While cutting and dabbing with brush killer will help, 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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