How to Eradicate Poison Ivy Plants

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When you see leaves of three growing in your garden or creeping along your patio walkway, you may not want to let them be. Identified by its three divided leaves that alternate on a woody stem or vine, poison ivy also has white berries, which offer a sweet treat for area wildlife -- good for the wildlife, bad for humans. If you are allergic to the urushiol that poison ivy exudes, any contact with the plant may bring about an itchy reaction. So, cover up and eradicate those Toxicodendron radicans.

Things You'll Need

  • Long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes
  • Leather work gloves
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Water the soil that contains the poison ivy plants. Really saturate it with water from a garden hose. The wetter the soil, the easier it will be to remove the ivy at its roots.

  • Dress in long sleeves, long pants and a pair of long socks with shoes. Then, slip on a pair of thick leather work gloves. Keeping your skin covered can mean the difference between clear skin and a weeping, red rash.

  • Push a sharp spade into the ground and loosen the roots of the poison ivy. When the roots are loose, give the poison ivy a tug and pull it out of the ground. Continue the process until you remove all the poison ivy plants.

  • Discard of the poison ivy and its roots in a strong, plastic garbage bag. Throw the garbage bag in the trash. Don't just throw the poison ivy plants in the compost or burn barrel. Composting poison ivy exposes your composted material to poison ivy seeds. Burning releases the urushiol and you don't want to breathe that in.

  • Toss your clothes in the wash and take a shower immediately after eradicating the poison ivy. This will remove any traces of urushiol on your skin and the clothing that may give you a nasty rash when you come in contact with it later.

Tips & Warnings

  • Several herbicides are on the market, such as amino triazole, that will destroy weeds. But the use of herbicides is a trade-off. While a herbicide may take care of your poison ivy problem, there is a good possibility that it may kill off all other plant life in the vicinity.
  • When you are removing the poison ivy from the ground make sure that you get all of the root. Leaving behind even the slightest amount of root will make it possible for a new shoot to emerge.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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