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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Poison Ivy

I have a perpetual problem with poison ivy, so yesterday was "Seek & Destroy Day". Most of it comes in from the neighbors' yards (4 of 5 sides of me - I have a home plate shaped yard with 2 back neighbors). I have mentioned this problem to all 4 neighbors, but they say they just avoid those patches. So it gradually creeps through my fence and spreads when I'm not looking. Two of the neighbors had poison ivy vines that matured and produce berries, so I get some individual plants growing in the middle of the yard (half of my back yard is semi-wild). I even get some under the deck. How a berry gets under the deck is beyond me...

So I mixed up some Brush-B-Gon and went on patrol. I had to carry the 2 gallon sprayer by hand because there is a slow drip I need to fix. I have a shoulder strap, but it dripped on me that way. My left arm is still sore!

Well, I must have sprayed 100 individual (small) plants, counting neighbor's plants for as far as I could spray through the fence. I was surprised to realize that what I thought was a neighbor's shrub was actually poison ivy! I covered it thoroughly!

I am always careful to choose a calm day and stand upwind from the spot I am spraying. And BTW, if you smoke, this is a good time to do it. The smoke alerts me to any slight shift in wind direction (and therefore spray drift). More than once I have suddenly had to back away from a spot quickly because of a mild wind shift.

I also make it a point to hose down my garden area afterwards, just in case of drift. And I keep the cats inside the whole day after. I wear disposable latex gloves, too.

As long as I had extra spray. I took the opportunity to knock off some plant I had too many of and I can never remember the name of. It has large leaves, purple berries, grows to about 6' high, has a weak stalk, and has a large swollen root (corm, rhizome, whatever). It is easy to break it, but the root seems immortal. Fortunately, it dies quickly when sprayed.

Having some still left over, I sprayed my driveway because I'm tired of mowing it. I should explain... The driveway is asphault, is 23 years old and I have never resurfaced it. There were a few spots where grass established itself in cracks a few years ago, but this year it seems to have really exploded.

I think I will replace it with concrete soon. But for now, just killing the grass would be nice.

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