Poison Ivy Eradication?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by jlxian, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

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    The post on poison ivy treatment prompted me to start this thread.

    Our place has poison ivy growth that is almost jungle like -- vines and actual bushes -- and my husband is unfortunately super sensitive to it. We have tried NUMEROUS brush killers. Other than using a herd of goats, do any of you have recommendations on getting rid of the stuff? Right now we are resigned to doing our heavy outdoor work in the winter.
     
  2. jgbndaudio

    jgbndaudio Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I worked in an apple orchard p/t growing up. We we're always fighting the Poison Ivy. We never won. Even when we sprayed stuff I don't want to even think about what it is now from a chemical company. The best we could do was buring it out and that's risky in it's own right. I'd say if you really want to get rid of it, to get a backhoe in there when it's dormant and dig out a couple big scoops in the area where it is, throw in some fresh dirt from somewhere else and plant something as soon as possible, that will spread and be hearty. Good luck



     

  3. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    You have to get the root system, especially when it is very heavy growth. That is how it spreads. Usually in very thick growths there is a good underlying bed of compost, leaves, bio-mass of some type.

    The trick is to take something like a dozer or tractor with a blade and scrape off all the top layer of soil. Say 5 - 6 inches deep. Once you take away the cover that allows the roots to remain healthy and the plants to spread, the ivy has no way to return. The trick is to kill the roots.

    You can push the top soil in a pile and let it sit, turn it occassionally, after a few months to a year, can be spread back out if no ivy is showing growing in the pile.
     
  4. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have the same problem...super sensitive husband and lots of poison ivy. We can't dig out the soil as there are to many large trees in the area that's giving us problems. I had thought about doing just the opposite...bringing in soil and burying the stuff then planting some fast growing grass (or even putting sod down) to try and kill it.

    Think that would work anyone?
     
  5. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Rhus tox is pretty nasty. Best crop in my area. I've taken the backhoe and dug out bushes of the stuff, digging down as far as three feet. Set it back a couple of years, but it regrew again. Best solution I've personally found is the goats. They eat it down to the ground and every time a leaf pops up they eat it again.

    Similar situation with Himalaya berries. But I also set back the berries by flaming them with a propane weed flamer.

    The trick is you've got to keep after the stuff until the stores of nutrients in the root system become exhausted. The goats keep up their interest and keep eating.

    By the way, one time I was preparing to burn a slash pile and asked a lovely young thing to scrounge up some kindling. I wasn't paying attention when she handed me a lot of dry sticks of PO. Fixed me right up, it did.

    bearkiller
     
  6. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i know someone that was in the hospital for a while burning it and breathing the smoke bad news
     
  7. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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    I have to say I am tring not to think about the words that come to my mind about someone intentionally burning poison ivy.

    Your best friend is the mower.

    Your next best friend is very early spring cleanup (like in a few weeks) to cut the big roots away from the ground - in other words, those hairy roots and shrubs growing at the bottom of the trees get separated from the earth. Tie some of that brightly colored plastic tape like surveyors use, and come back and spray later when it is growing.

    Your next best friend is lots of mulch, time, sunlught, and more early spring cleanup. I keep the skinny bags the newspaper comes in to protect my arms and hands and pull the stuff. I am extremely sensitive to the stuff, but if you get it early in the season and it is thin from going through all the mulch and you use tons of plastic bags to keep it off your skin, it can be done.

    But it will definitely take time, since even last years twigs can cause a bad reaction...

    Good luck!
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess we're on the right track then. Since I'm not real sensitive to the stuff I keep it mowed to the ground in the summertime (won't let hubby do it). And we are clearing out the area...getting rid of fallen limbs, undergrowth, etc. Maybe if we keep doing this it will eventually die out.
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Fence the area and gets some pigs, the pigs will use their snouts and eat the roots as well as the tops. Before much time has passed you will no longer have any poisonous plants. Left on too long the pigs will kill the trees also so be aware. Pigs taste better than goats when the task is finished. ;)
     
  10. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    so would it be dangerous to eat an animal that has been eating poison ivy? or to drink its milk? or to touch it at all?
     
  11. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The doctor told my husband that if he petted the dog after it had been lying in the poison ivy he could get poison ivy.
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Touching the animal that has been in the poison plants will transfer the poison to the person. The meat is safe to eat. I cannot answer regarding the milk.
     
  13. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Just remember....poison ivy and poison oak are never dormant. In the winter it looks innocent enough without its leaves...but beware....those dry hairy vines on the tree trunks and fence post are alive. If you cut one you will see it is green inside..and quite active. Poison oak can be a shrub, vine, or a single twig sticking up out of the ground. The first year we bought our place we clean out an old fence roe in the winter.....what a lesson I got about poison! :eek: I was on a steroid for weeks treating the rash and itch!
     
  14. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    OK. Sorry, but I got to ask. Why not goats? Goats are great at getting rid of poison ivy. They continually eat it, weakening the plant. Pigs would work also, just curious why not goats?
     
  15. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can drink the goats' milk, but if you are sensitive to poison ivy like me, you do not want to be the one milking the goats after they have been out in the stuff!! Last year I kept getting it on my hands and arms and finally figured it was because the goats had gotten into it. They carry the oil on their hair for a long time. (If you take a dog walking, they'll also go right through the stuff. Doesn't bother them, but they can give it to you if you pet them.)

    As to why not let the goats do the work--usually the poison oak is growing out of control along that barbed wire fenceline that is NOT going to keep a goat home and out of the neighbor's field/yard. Before you can put up a decent fence, you gotta clean the fenceline.

    Also, we have a big problem with poison oak down by the creek, which is a considerable distance from the barn. My old girls don't even want to walk down to that area!
     
  16. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I'd be really hesitant about burning it. I had a friend who is somewhat sensitive to poison ivy/oak that was exposed to smoke when burning brush and he got so sick he was put in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Not only was his body pretty much covered in the rash but he was deathly ill.

    I'm fortunate that poison ivy and oak never bother me. Even if I have been out pulling the stuff with my hands the worse that has happened is a slight itch which is no worse than what a person gets form pulling any other weed. I'm really sensitive yellow jacket venom and insect venoms generally but poison oak and ivy I luckily have a pretty decent resistance to.
     
  17. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

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    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    We will have to do something pretty radical it seems. Our farm is old and the fences are in terrible condition or non-existant. We can't get in to repair the fences because of the poison ivy. So it seems that hiring someone with a backhoe to ream out all the fence rows is going to be the best solution. Then we could run pigs/goats in the area -- or keep it mowed as best we can.

    Thanks to all of you!
     
  18. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you're real sensitive to it, be careful mowing. Wear a mask so that you don't breathe the stuff. I don't let hubby mow it since he's so sensitive. That's part of the yard I always mow.
     
  19. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My aunt contacted Southern States about spraying down a field on her place. For something like $300 they came and inspected the field, mixed up the witches brew of different poisons, drove the spray truck through it, and erradicated almost everything, including all the poison ivy growing in it.

    Meanwhile, I'd spent years doing it on my place myself. And have spent probably about the same on various sprays and equpiment, not to mention the time I've spent.

    I think I see the light on this one.
     
  20. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    I am horribly allergic to it. It does not matter what time of the year either. You can get it from secondary contact and from burning it. Hubby is not allergic so he has been digging it out over the past year. The posts about getting rid of it by removing the roots are right. That is the only way other than using chemicals which we do not use. We have (or hubby has) managed to "grub" out almost all of it. Most of the poison ivy around here was growing up trees so he couldn't dig it out except by hand.