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Poison Ivy / Oak


September 24, 2016


We have a small walk thru the woods to our shop. The ground cover is solid poison oak. After two concentrated doses of Roundup the poison oak is dying. I would like to replace the ground cover with something that would choke out the poison oak. Also want to add some liriope , rocks and existing iris along the pathway. Can I do this in the fall or need to hit any returning poison oak in spring and then plant.  Thanks for your help and suggestions.    


I would be very surprised if you killed your poison oak/ivy completely, especially if you had a dense covering.  From your photo, you have a large area to cover.  You may want to start small and work on a section of a time.  It is a shady spot, so consider smothering out some of the areas by laying black plastic now to keep any weeds from growing back this winter into early spring.  I would try to lay a nice pathway with an underlayment of landscape cloth, then incorporate some rocks and mulch.  I would go pretty slowly on adding a bunch of plants until you know the poison ivy is truly gone since it is difficult to kill poison ivy growing amongst broadleaf plants.  Once you are ready to plant I would try to stick with more woodland type plants—crested iris, cranesbill geranium, toad lilies, trillium, mayapples, etc.    

   March 5, 2016


We have poison oak growing under a 20 foot berry bearing, holly tree.  How can I rid the poison oak without damaging or killing our beautiful tree?



Wear protective clothing and pull out as much of it as you can. Then you can paint or spray a Round-up solution on the foliage that remains this spring when new growth begins, directing the product just to the poison oak or ivy, making sure you don’t get any on the foliage of the holly.  One application will not control it, but if you keep after it this season, and put one last application out in September, you can get a handle.  Round-up will not move in the soil so as long as you don’t get it on the holly foliage, you should be ok. 

 October 2007

QuestionWhat is the best way to eradicate poison ivy? I have lots of it. I have a woodland area right next to a spring-fed pond. It’s 20 feet up in the trees and all over the wooded areas. I don't want to poison my pond with any herbicide. Short of clear cutting is there anything I can do?

 AnswerPoison ivy is a tough weed to kill. If you have heard the latest statistics, they say that with global warming the plants have actually become more toxic! If you can get to the poison ivy before fall color kicks in, you can spot spray with either a glyphosate product (Round-up) or a brush killer. Follow label directions and direct the spray as much as possible to the poison ivy, avoiding spraying to the point of runoff.

October 2008

QuestionWe have so many vines in our backyard including poison ivy, honeysuckle and briars and I don’t know where to start in getting rid of them. Is there a commercially available product on the market that helps to kill pesky vines? Or can you recommend any other options?

 AnswerPerennial woody vines are not easy to kill, and it will take time and diligence to completely eradicate them from your yard. Fall is actually a good time to do the work, because they will store more of the chemical in their root system as they prepare for winter. Cut back as much of the top growth as possible and dispose of it. Then treat what is left with either a glyphosate product (Round-up) or a brush killer containing Triclopyr. Make sure you direct the spray on the vines, and try to avoid getting either product on desirable plants. Make sure the plants are healthy and not overly stressed before you spray to kill them, so that they will absorb as much of the chemical as possible. Pay attention next spring and try to get a handle on any that begin to grow again. If you are covered in vines, one year's treatment won't be enough.

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