What is Poison Ivy Weed?
Poison Ivy weed or PI (Toxicodendron radicans) is a poisonous plant that grows in all regions of the United States and Canada, including woodlands, wetlands, and residential landscapes. It can cause skin irritation, blistering, and intense itching. The resinous compound called urushiol is found in all parts of the plant and is responsible for the inflammatory reaction when it comes in contact with the skin.
This plant is commonly characterized by clusters of leaves, each containing three leaflets; hence the old rhyme “leaves of three, let it be” may be the easiest way to tell if it might be poison ivy.
If contact occurs, washing off with soap and water as soon as possible can help reduce symptoms. Persons should always wear protective gear such as gloves or pants while working near these plants because they can cause significant discomfort if handled without proper protection.
How to Identify Poison Ivy Weed?
Below here I am summarizing the points, which will help you to easily identify poison ivy weed:
- Compound leaves with three leaflets
- The middle leaflet’s stalk is significantly longer than the stalks of the two side leaflets.
- Surfaces might be shiny or dull
- The edges may be serrated or smooth.
- Climbing vine (poison ivy), or
- Sprawling shrub (western poison ivy)
- Inconspicuous, five-petaled, greenish flowers with a diameter of around 3 mm.
- Flowers emerge from the leaf axil in loose branching clusters
- Fruits in loose sagging bunches
- Fruits have only one seed (drupes) and are hard and whitish
How to get rid of poison ivy Weed?
You know this plant is not your friend and you definitely don’t want it hiding in your yard if you’ve ever experienced a poison ivy rash. Yet attempting to get rid of it without taking the necessary measures might result in the rash you’re seeking to avoid, or much worse. Here are eight professional suggestions for removing poison ivy weed without getting a case of it in the process:
1. Recognize your enemy
Poison Ivy is a perennial shrub or climbing vine, whose leaves are typically divided into three leaflets. The leaflets are usually oval-shaped with pointed tips, 2 – 4 inches in length, and have notched or smooth edges. The middle leaflet has a longer stem than the two side leaflets, and the middle leaflet is slightly longer than the other two. The leaves may be either toothed or smooth-edged and either shiny or dull. During the early stages of spring, leaves begin to sprout in a reddish hue that eventually transitions into a verdant green as the season progresses.
The resinous compound called urushiol is found in all parts of the plant (i.e. roots, leaves, flowers, stems, and berries) and is responsible for the inflammatory reaction when it comes in contact with the skin. Urushiol may provide a slight gloss or shiny hue to assist differentiate it from nonpoisonous plants.
In other words, it is not safe to touch any part of the plant.
2. Aim for ideal removal circumstances
Managing poison ivy weed is quite easier in the winter season, when it’s leafless, even though irritants are still present in the stems and branches. Poison ivy removal without touching it might be more challenging on windy days.
Also, if you’re applying a herbicide, the wind may blow it into you or your other plants.
3. Assemble your instruments
The roots of poison ivy weed should be easily removed with a sharp trowel or shovel. To get rid of the vines or branches initially, you may also use shears or pruners.
4. Dress properly
This is essential and the only method to prevent your skin from touching the plant. Put on a pair of sturdy rubber gloves, work boots, long sleeves, and long pants. Seal the gap between your boots and jeans using duct tape to be extra safe.
5. Attack thoroughly but cautiously
Poison ivy has a complicated root structure, so if you cut off the plants above ground but leave the roots in place, it will continue to develop.
To cut the stems off, use pruners or shears. (Avoid tearing or ripping the vines because doing so might release urushiol into the air.) Then, dig out the roots around eight inches below the plant.
To ensure that the extracted roots are dead, you can drench them with boiling water, or spray them with an appropriate herbicide.
6. Choose the Proper Herbicide
Use a glyphosate-containing herbicide, if you feel comfortable doing so.
Poison ivy weed will be killed from the inside out by glyphosate and for this, you have to use a higher concentration than normal.
Herbicides are often sprayed on the leaves, killing the plants from the top down. It is an easier way than pulling the plants out by hand, but there’s a chance that your poison ivy will come back since it can leave healthy roots in the soil.
You should not attempt to remove the poison ivy by hand, after using a herbicide, because then you may have the risk of skin contact with both the herbicide’s chemicals and the poison ivy itself.
Additionally, it is not suggested to manually remove poison ivy and then use herbicides on top of that to ensure that you got the roots because this introduces chemicals into healthy soil and may have an adverse effect on nearby plants.
Remember to handle these herbicides with utmost caution as the spray will harm any other garden plants it comes in contact with. For the safest usage, always follow the instructions on the label.
7. Bag it
To dispose of the poison ivy, place all of its branches and leaves in heavy disposable plastic bags. Avoid burning it, since doing so may cause urushiol to be released into the air, which may cause severe eye and lung irritation. Poison ivy should not be placed in your compost bin since you could subsequently throw it back into your garden.
8. Thoroughly wash everything
When the job is finished and the poison ivy has been bagged up and disposed of, then use rubbing alcohol or vinegar to wash your gardening equipment.
While wearing the rubber gloves turn your clothes inside out, and wash them in the washing machine separately from another laundry. Boots can be wetted with soapy water and hosed off. After that, throw away the gloves, and thoroughly wash your hands with cool water.
Hot water will open your pores and let any urushiol that may have gotten onto your skin in. Thus, it is advised that you should wash your skin with cool water.
What happens if there is plenty of poison ivy weed to remove?
Digging it out by hand may not be practicable for persons who need to remove poison ivy weed from a sizable area, such as a school campus, public park, or entire field, and applying a herbicide may not be desirable. Thankfully, there is another choice.
In this circumstance, more and more people are turning to goats since they, like other farm animals, can consume poison ivy without developing a rash or any other health issues. But, don’t touch the animals, which are grazing on poison ivy since they can transfer the poison from their hair to your skin.
For many years, goats have been employed to clear the land of invasive plant species like kudzu and briars. An increasing number of goat rental businesses are coming to the aid of land managers, who need to remove large swathes of poison ivy.
Usually, the rental business will fence off the land to be cleaned and let the goats freely eat poison ivy weed until it is completely gone. Since the goats can’t reach the plant roots; they may have to make return visits.
Some goat rental businesses need a minimum area of land to rent goats, but as the goat-grazing services is expanding, even homeowners with small yards may be able to find goats for hire in some places.
1) How to remove poison oak plants and treat a rash – Oregon State University
2) Tips to Identify Poison Ivy – American Museum of Natural History
3) Poison Ivy – University of Minnesota