Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Saturday - July 30, 2011

From: Huntersville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Getting rid of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

How can I rid my yard of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac? I have tried roundup, poison ivy roundup and even a clorox solution and nothing seems to kill it, I keep seeing it come up. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you

ANSWER:

Vigilance and persistence are the keys.  If you can dig or pull up the roots of the plants, you are going to be able to get rid of the plants more quickly.   That will take a great deal of effort and you might not be able or willing to do this.  If you can't or don't want to make the effort to try and dig up roots, your best strategy is the following: 

  • Every time you see a new poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac plant emerge in your yard, cut it off near the ground and IMMEDIATELY (using a small paintbrush--the small foam ones work well) paint the cut with the poison ivy Roundup or equivalent.  (Clorox is not likely to be particulary effective.)   You need to paint it as soon as you cut it because, as a means of defense against disease or insect infestation, plant cells close off wounds quickly and the herbicide won't be transferred to the roots.
  • Wrap the cutoff portion in a plastic bag and dispose of it.
  • Keep careful watch for new plants and act when you see them.  It will take a while, but it will eventually rid your yard of the poisonous pests.

Remember to read and follow the safety precautions listed on the label of the herbicide.   Wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes, socks and gloves to keep from getting the poisonous oils on your skin.

Please check the answer to a previous question about eliminating poison ivy with more detailed instructions as well as methods to avoid.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

More Vines Questions

Protection from native invasive trumpet vines
April 17, 2008 - Mr. SP: I have invaders! Trumpet vines from a neighbor's yard, two doors away have taken over and are eating my garage and trying to steal all the sun from my clematis vines. How do I get rid of...
view the full question and answer

Aggressive vine with purple flowers in South Carolina
September 12, 2014 - Found an aggressive climbing vine with purple flowers in out vegetable garden. This garden was cleaned and new dirt, mulch and manure was put in in the spring. It was raked out after the infusion of d...
view the full question and answer

Carolina Jasmine failing to turn green in Pleasant Garden NC
April 26, 2011 - We planted Carolina Jasmine last year and it did great. This Spring we only have about 2-3 small green leaves beginning on the vines. We did not cut them back in the Fall. Is it time for them to be tu...
view the full question and answer

Niagara and Concord grape crop failure
September 01, 2008 - Hi, I have been growing niagara grapes and concord grapes for 3 years now and this year I found myself without any fruits. The plant itself if full of leaves and is healthy. I was wondering why this w...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Steep, Sunny Slope in Iowa
April 28, 2013 - I am looking for plants native to Iowa for a steep, sunny slope or groundcover.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.