Who hates poison ivy? Considering the harm it can cause, it is safe to assume that almost everybody does. Those who have no way of experiencing its painful effects would not want to encounter it at all.
Allergic reactions to poison ivy seem common enough. The question is why don’t people just steer clear of the plant? That’s because they generally do not know what it (and other genus Toxicodendron members poison oak and poison sumac) looks like and/or they do not know how to safely rid of it.
How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac
Get rid of the plant. It has to be done if the safety of the family is the first priority. How to do it, though, without getting infected? Just follow these tips:
- To rid of something, first, know what poison ivy looks like. Familiarize oneself with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Hit the books or do a research online. But to give you ideas,…
Watch Out for:
- Poison ivy plants have three leaves and hairy vines.
- The leaves…
- consist of one bigger leaf in the middle and a smaller one on each side
- ¼ of an inch to two inches long
- are attached to a thornless stem that connects to a hairy vine
- can be either shiny, smooth and hairless, or rough, hairy and velvety
- generally have smooth sides and pointy tips
- are reddish in the spring, green in the summer and yellow, orange or red in the fall
- may have yellow-green flowers, or green or off-white berries
- fall out in winter but there’s still the danger of the vine
2. Once you know what they look like, search for them. Survey problematic areas especially those where the kids and/or pets (that are immune to poison ivy but can carry the harmful substances) are likely to play. Growing season is from May to November. They grow abundantly in North America (primarily in the Midwest and the eastern US).
3. Poison ivy may appear as ground cover or as bushes/shrubs that may reach four feet. Be careful treading dark floor of wooded areas and sunny locations. They may be vines climbing trees as well, imitating branches, or found on or around dead tree stumps.
How to Go for the Kill:
- Finding them is the easier part. Killing them is harder. Make sure that whoever is going to do the job is well-equipped with preventive clothes and gear. First aid must be included. One can never be too careful around poison ivy.
- Wearing thick enough, preferable disposable gloves, pull the poison ivy. Make sure the wrists, legs and feet are covered as well. Cover the face, too.
- Bring handy tools for digging larger roots. To rid of poison ivy, rid of the main source or it will just grow back.
- Place a sheet of heavy cardboard, plastic or rubber over the area. Smothering plants usually does the trick. Watch out for runners that sprout beyond the edges.
- Apply natural spray. It can be a solution made up of a cup of salt, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a gallon of water. White vinegar spray will do, too. However, follow-up treatments using these are required. Also, avoid killing off non-poisonous plants in the area.
- Dousing boiling water is always an effective means. The downside is it can’t get to the roots.
- Herbicides with increased concentration are alternatives, but never use them without consulting manufacturer instructions. There are products that can kill poison ivy down to the root like Roundup Poison Ivy Killer. It is known to penetrate the waxy leaves and brush of hard-to-kill weeds including poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
- Cut thick poison ivy vines then do the spraying or dousing to get to them better.
- Cut invaded three stumps to the ground, drill holes in them, then pour any concentrations meant to kill poison ivy.
- Put the pulled off plants in sealed bags. DO NOT attempt to burn anything because it’s the active oily toxin in the plants that cause the allergic reactions. Inhaling the fumes could cause these reactions and could be fatal. The air can also spread the toxin for miles and so it is not safe to burn poison ivy.
- Consider Professional Plant Removal Services. If you are not comfortable in dealing with poison ivy plants by yourself, it’s better to ask for professional services. Plant removal service providers can destroy all the vegetation in and around the area, and strategically remove poison ivy or other noxious plants such as poison oak and poison sumac. Look for specialists that can assure you that the problem does not continue in the future.
How to Dispose of Poison Ivy Once and for All:
- Bury the sealed bags in an out-of-the-way location or a disposal site.
- Leave them there to decompose.
- Until nothing remains, it’s better to stay away from the disposal site.
- Again, NO BURNING. It’s not safe to burn poison ivy.
THAT’S how to kill poison ivy! Once done, DON’T FORGET to…
- Wash every piece of clothing with water and soap or with Tecnu Original. Saturate contaminated, unwetted clothing with Tecnu in a dishpan or bucket. Let it soak for several minutes then wash clothing by itself with hot water and detergent. Follow direction on the bottle to avoid ruining your clothes.
- Clean all the tools and gears thoroughly to remove the oily toxin from the poison plants that may cause an allergic reaction. Use Tecnu Original or IvyX cleanser towelettes to remove the sticky urushiol oils from your gardening tools and gears. The towelette has a non-greasy and non-sticky formula that dries quickly. Wipe the area down, wash off easily with soap and water, then pack the towelette away in a plastic bag for disposal.
- If you suspect that you came in contact with poison ivy, remove urushiol from your skin imeddiately to prevent poison ivy rash. There are special products like Tecnu and Zanfel for wiping off the oily toxin. Zanfel is known to remove urushiol, the oil compound responsible for the reaction, from your skin, instead of just treating poison ivy rash and other symptoms. Zanfel also relieves itching and pain in minutes. It’s safe for children and nursing or pregnant women.
- Take that long cool bath after taking care of the poison plants. It won’t only prevent any possible reactions, but it’s one well-deserved reward for such a hard day’s work!