Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 27, 2015

From: olney, IL
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Discouraging Poison Ivy
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Is there a fern that discourages poison ivy from growing?

ANSWER:

Barbara Medford answered a similar question from a gardener in Tennessee about plants to muscle out poison ivy. Here's part of her answer ...What you are asking for is a plant or plants that can suppress Toxicodendron radicans (eastern poison ivy), right? Sorry, fighting poison ivy is a never-ending battle, because the conditions it likes are also liked by many more desirable plants. And even when you have pulled out and/or killed the existing vines, the birds will deposit more seeds. We are going to suggest some plants for the area that flourish in the same semi-shady, moist conditions that the poison ivy does, and try to select some that look different enough from the leaves of the poison ivy that you will notice it quickly and get it out before it takes hold. Dense shrubs can hide the vine and the leaves will blend right in, so we are going to suggest some native grasses. They are tough, durable, with long, fibrous roots which will hopefully discourage the poison ivy and the grass blades certainly do not look like poison ivy leaves, so the invader will be visible and available for destroying.

There's an interesting quiz to identify poison ivy online that you might like to see. It is at the www.poison-ivy.org website.  Good luck.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Toxicity of Peruvian Lilies (Alstroemeria sp) for food decoration
September 04, 2006 - Hi, I am trying to find out if I can decorate a cake using live alstroemeria laid on top of the icing. I would not want to eat the flower, just lay it on top to look pretty before removing and servi...
view the full question and answer

Non Toxic Fruit Plants
April 03, 2015 - I am trying to plant on my backyard. My dog spends about 8 hours a day outdoors and I am afraid she will be poisoned. I am overwhelmed by the information of toxic trees\plants for dogs. However, I ju...
view the full question and answer

Is it quantity that makes silver nightshade poisonous to people?
September 18, 2012 - I have a recipe for Asadero cheese that uses silverleaf nightshade and have eaten this cheese many times. Is it too much quantity that makes it poisonous to people?
view the full question and answer

Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
March 10, 2010 - Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the...
view the full question and answer

Should flower stems of Texas mountain laurel be removed after they bloom?
March 02, 2016 - Should I trim off the old flower stems from this years bloom on a Texas Mountain Laurel?
view the full question and answer

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