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fear and loathing in the ivy
Thank you for the many emails on dealing with the ivy. This is apparently
one of those topics (like SUVs) that get us really riled up- everyone just
HATES poison ivy. And what's not to hate?
Here is a compilation of responses; please let me know if you have any
My favorite, and the best P2 idea, was to get a goat! (the Nigerian pygmy
goats are small and cute and work well- thanks Melissa!). The ivy will not
hurt the goat. A number of people thought of this idea. More practical
answers for suburbanites are:
1. Pull the stuff out by hand, being completely clothed in level A PPE if
possible. Plastic bags from newspapers or groceries can be used to protect
arms and legs. I would like to add that Technu is a wonderfully effective
soap to use after an ivy exposure.
2. Cover it with black visqueen for a couple of years until it dies.
3. Pour boiling water on the plant.
4. Everyone agreed that it is a phenomenally BAD idea to burn the stuff.
5. If you do need to resort to chemical warfare, Roundup appears to be the
herbicide of choice for environmentally conscious landscapers. In the
midwest it's the one recommended when doing prairie restoration. It should
be used as follows for P2 application (thanks Liz):
I did hear of a nice clean way to apply RoundUp, one of the herbicides that
breaks down quickly. To spot apply you can make or adapt a set of barbecue
tongs by apply small sponges to ends on the inside, Then dip in Roundup and
walk around squeeze onto one or two leaves per plant. The beauty of this
method is that you don't hit all the other plants around it and you get both
the front and back sides of the leaf.
A variations is to put on rubber gloves that are rated for handling
pesticides and then put a set of cotton gloves over the rubber set and dip
your hands in the pesticide and then go around touching the plants. I'm a
little leery of the second method but got that from a landscape architect
who use that method. You get very precise application by these two methods
versus spraying. You may need several applications with poison ivy.
6. Finally some web suggestions from RTI:
gardening news groups discuss stuff like weed control constantly.
Triangle.gardens especially is populated with relatively "green" folks. Try
doing a power search on deja news (www.deja.com), specifying
triangle.gardens and rec.gardens as the groups you want to search in.
Thanks to all- and have an ivy free summer. no scratching.
Lin K Hill