Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 10, 2012

Poison ivy prolific this year in Green Country


Spring flowers are in full bloom, providing lots of color and fragrance, but some of the accompanying greenery has potentially dangerous effects. 
Toxicodendron radicans, or poison ivy, grows throughout most of North America, and is flourishing in Cherokee County right now. 
“Things are growing real well this year: weeds, insects, gardens - everything, so I’m sure the poison ivy is just like the rest of it,” said Cherokee County OSU Extension Agriculture Educator Roger Williams. “I think everything is growing as well as it can. It’s kind of making up for last year. Most everything is.”
Poison ivy – also referred to as three-leafed ivy, poison creeper, climbing sumac and poison oak – is often found growing in wooded areas, especially along edge areas, exposed rocky areas, and open fields. The poisonous plant can grow as a shrub up to almost 4 feet tall, as groundcover up to 10 inches high, or as a climbing vine on various sources of support.
“The biggest thing is where homeowners have a yard, and they have some growing and it’s up a tree,” said Williams. “You really have to determine if you really want to keep that tree. In that situation, the best thing to do is spray the leaves of it with Roundup or glyphosate or Eraser or any number of the generics that are out there.”
Killing poison ivy, in fact, requires a specific environmental condition to produce lasting effects. The plant needs to be in a healthy-growing state to provide an open window for the eradication process to take hold.
“It has to not be stressed enough to get a real good root kill on it,” said Williams. “So, growing as good as the poison ivy is now, you should be able to get a good root kill on it. With that being said, it’s probably going to take three sprayings to actually get it killed. After the leaves die back and everything, you need to trim the stuff that’s growing up the tree and then when it comes back, let it get to growing again and spray it again. Then, usually, the third time, there’ll be a little come back up that you’ll need to get. Sometimes, people really complain about Roundup and say it doesn’t do a good job, but if plants are stressed, you won’t get a good kill.”

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