Poison ivy can look different depending on which region you live in. In some areas, poison ivy is a climbing vine that can grow up to 50 feet in length. In other areas, poison ivy grows as a shrub.
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The plant has shiny, dark green leaves that are divided into 3 or sometimes 5 leaflets.
The leaflets usually have saw-toothed edges, but they can also be lobed or slightly hairy. Poison ivy produces small, white flowers in the spring, followed by small, white berries.
It prefers partial-shade, but can grow in almost any conditions. Poison ivy is found throughout the United States, except for Alaska, Hawaii, and some desert regions.
If you have poison ivy on your property, you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Poison ivy releases an oily substance called urushiol when it gets damaged or brushed against.
This substance can cause a severe allergic reaction in some people, resulting in red, itchy, and blistering skin rashes. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to get rid of poison ivy.
Pull It Up by the Roots
This is the best way to get rid of poison ivy, but it’s also the most difficult. You’ll need to wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your skin from contact with the plant. Use a shovel or trowel to dig up the roots of the plant. Be sure to dispose of the plant properly, preferably in a plastic bag.
Cut It Down
Cutting poison ivy down to the ground will not kill the plant, but it will reduce its ability to spread. Use pruning shears or a weed whacker to cut the plant down to ground level. Again, be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your skin.
Apply an Herbicide
Glyphosate is a common herbicide that will kill poison ivy. You can find glyphosate-based herbicides at most home and garden stores. Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the label carefully. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and protective eyewear when applying herbicide.
Once you’ve killed the poison ivy, you’ll need to remove the plant from your property. Dispose of it in a plastic bag. Be sure to wash any clothing or gloves that came into contact with the plant.
For more information on various herbicides, check out this article titled, “Chemical Weed Control Methods.”
Cover It With Gravel or Mulch
This method works best on small patches of poison ivy. Cover the area with gravel or mulch, being sure to completely cover the plant. The lack of sunlight will kill the plant within a few weeks.
Poison ivy can be difficult to identify, especially if you’re not familiar with the plant. Remember these tips to help you identify poison ivy:
- Look for shiny, dark green leaves that are divided into 3-5 leaflets.
- Look for saw-toothed or lobed edges.
- Look for small, white flowers in the spring and small, white berries in the summer.
- Look for a vine that can climb trees, fences, and other structures. Or look for the plants as a shrub.
- If you’re still not sure, ask a professional or take a sample of the plant to your local garden store for identification.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think you’ve found poison ivy, it’s best to get rid of it as soon as possible.
After the poison ivy is removed, it will be a perfect time to plant trees and bushes. Call JC’s Landscaping for a quote today.