Poison ivy

Poison ivy

THE ENEMY: Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

STRATEGY: This is a perennial shrub-like plant that normally grows around 3 feet tall, although the ones I have seen nearby were about 6 feet tall. The stems are sparsely branched, which arise from branched stolons that run along the ground. The leaves are compound and almost always have three leaflets. The flowers grow in clusters at the end of the stem and form small globes that appear to be cream to yellow. As this plant is not a vine, it will not climb other vegetation. It contains a milky oil, whether moist or dry, which can cause severe rashes upon contact with the skin.

ATTACK: This plant does not have any forage value and tends to grow in areas of waterways and along warmer slopes, such as rock-walls or buildings. Once the plant becomes established, it spreads and destroys desirable areas, thus reducing the amount of feed for livestock and wildlife.

DEFENSE: As this is a perennial plant, controlling it with mechanical means is not effective. Very few animals will forage upon it, so we are left with herbicides to control it. The best herbicides to use are ones with Triclopyr better known as Garlon, Vaslan, Crossbow or AquaSweep. Applied at any growth stage, these products will control the plant without harming the surrounding grasses. Best application is when the plant is actively growing, which is mid-summer. If near waterways, one could use AquaSweep product, which has been approved by the EPA for use over water. Remember, leaflets of three, let it be, and call your local county weed superintendent so they can help identify and control this nasty plant.

To learn more, call Bonneville County Weed Superintendent Jeffrey Pettingill at 208-529-1397 or email weeds@co.bonneville.id.us.