email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Friday, May 28, 2010

Poison Ivy Woes

I have constant problems with poison ivy.  It's partly because this neighborhood was developed from mature woods in the 80s/90s and partly because I left most of the backyard wooded.  It took a decade just to get the scrub trees (like thorny locust) cleared out.  I like the semi-natural look I have.

But it is partly because 2 adjacent neighbors totally ignore their yards next to mine.  One has a drainage easement through their back yard (10' from my fence) and they basically ignore everything on the side near me.  The other has 10' of brambles near my fence and just never bothers with that area.  A 3rd neighbor is basically absent for some reason (I think the property is involved in a divorce dispute), and while he mows the yard every couple of weeks, he pays no attention to the edges.

So I am constantly fighting off poison ivy coming in through the fence.

I used to have little reaction to it, but several years ago, I got a full body rash from it.  It was a miserable 2 full weeks.  Some of the poison ivy in the neighbor yards is mature enough to produce berries and the birds evidently drop the seeds all around the yard.  New plants spring up out of nowhere even near the house.

I saw the first new poison ivy plants leafing out 2 weeks ago.  They are now fully leafy.   I am an organic gardener.  But that garden/flowerbeds/lawn.  For poison ivy (and also rampant honeysuckle, wild grape, and some vine I haven't identified), I turn to Brush-B-Gon!

So today was "Spray Day".  I filled up my large pressure sprayer (portable, but just barely) and made the rounds.  I was shocked at how much poison ivy was around the yard and how mature some of the plants were!  That's partly because I have been clearing problem spots and revealing places I haven't looked into for years.  For example, I discovered (to my horror) that there is a huge poison ivy vine coming up over the fence and growing 20' up a tree in MY own yard! 

I can pretty much kill off most of the plants in my yard, but I can't get rid of the sources.  I spray carefully (short controlled spray individual plant by plant) through the fence as far as I can (the neighbors have no landscaping near the fence), but there is always more growing back the next year.

So I have a dilemma.  If I ask the neighbors to control/spray the poison ivy in their yards, they will spray wildly right through the fence on a windy day and kill all my plants and flowers.  If I don't mention the problem, I will have poison ivy forever.

Maybe I should ask them if I can spray in their yards and do it carefully...

Anyway, I went around the yard spraying poison ivy plants with great pleasure.  I can't wait to see them turn brown and die!  It was a sunny and nearly windless day, so it was safe.  And only an hour later, all the leaves were dry, so I know they soaked in the spray.

I'll try to remember to post pictures of the dead poison ivy next week...

7 comments:

Jacqueline said...

Well, people can be really funny about stuff and I think you are right about them possibly spraying the plants in your yard due to the wind or just being careless...I know it's more work for you, but I think you should ask your neighbors if you could spray the poison ivy in their yard since you are trying to get it out of your yard too and that way, you will be able to make sure your plants are protected...Hope you are successful with both yards!...Otherwise, I hope you have a fun holiday weekend.

Derby, Ducky said...

I think the offer of your spraying for the neighbors is a great idea. Maybe for just the costs of buying the chemical.

Cory said...

I'm thinking your neighbors might be thrilled for the help, but some humans are kind of funny...

Alasandra said...

I wound up having to take a round of steroids after getting into poison ivy a few weeks ago. The really bad part is I am not sure how I got it. We think the cats got in it and then after getting the oil all over their fur came rubbed against me. It is all up in our azaleas where the cats love to hang out.

Foot Butter Guy said...

Better still kill the neighbours...

That's what I felt like doing one year after the neighbour burned his poison ivy - not telling me and the smoke drifted over - grandmother and I ended up in the hospital with poison ivy rash inside our lungs, among other places.

Definitely don't ask the neighbours to do it - I'd ask and if they say no, well you have a shovel!

;)

Verdant Wilds said...

That is horrid! We had bad poison ivy at the cottage when I was little and it can be a beast. Good luck with the spray! Sometimes you have no choice but to bring in the big guns!!

~Danica (PM to the Sumac Felines)

Tiki & Kirby (& sometimes Kesey) said...

Mommy gets bad poison ivy too. She says that a cortisone shot is the fastest way to get rid of it. Of course it's best not to get it in the first place. Good luck with your spraying.