plot with poison ivy - what are my options for a garden?

Our property has poison ivy. We moved in last Nov, and before the leaves fell, I saw some small starts in the ground - not dense, but definately saw it throughout the property everywhere there isn't grass. We are wanting to start a garden in a spot that probably has it. I've read it's best to wait at least a season, up to a year after getting rid of the poison ivy before gardening on the spot because urioshol stays in the soil. I'm trying to doublecheck that, and have been mulling options. What about when poison ivy springs up in an established garden? My husband is definately reactive to it, so I will be working to eradicate it. But if I buy topsoil/compost, could I start a garden in the spot? maybe put a few inches of sticks/mulch between the ground and the topsoil that the plants would grow in?

Answers

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Poison ivy is a nitrogen definciency in the soil. You can add powered nitrogen that you buy. You can put a very heavy layer of manure on top of it.

    I would probably put the heavy layer of maure on top, then put several layers of card board. If I had a garden there it would be on top of all of this and probably a raised bed just to add more layers.

    Beans put nitrogen in the soil so growing them in places where the might be poison ivy and just letting them rot is good.

    Mowing will slowly kill poisopn ivy but it takes time. Its a good control for poison ivy in other places.

    Rent goats to eat it and kill it, Many places will come in and bring fencing and get rid of the issue. Goats love poison ivy!

    We have poison ivy on this property so I have been working on getting it cleared out naturally. And after years of being exposed I have big issues if exposed to it.

    And yes, chemicals take a bit to work out of soil and kill worms and other beneficial insects.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    The goats suggestion is a good one. Pigs are another option. They will completely root out an area for a garden.

    Hugelculture would be an option, I would think. But poison ivy might just grow up through it.

    You could try a landscape cloth barrier that is supposed to prevent weed growth. Then build up your soil or raised beds over that.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Pigs are great for rooting out poison ivy.

    I am not sure if the landscape cloth barrier will work or not. It breaths a bit and you really need to choke out any air to finish killing poison ivy.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,513 admin

    Landscape cloth is very expensive and is a plastic product. I would be hesitant to use it. It is also only meant to last a short time, especially the type sold to consumers. True professional grade sold for nursery use lasts much longer.

    I had landscape cloth in one area for a while. The grass ended up just growing over it after a couple of seasons. I don't think I'd use it again.

    Landscape cloth does breathe. It is meant to let rain through but deprive of light.

    Depending on where you live, highland cattle will also clear a property of poison ivy if they are left to graze it.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭

    I am planting beans all along my fence row this year. Glad to get the tips.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    I think we have something eating them currently. I see the starts put out a few leaves, then they disappear. Deer? Bunnies? Anyway, this is all great info. I live on a couple acres, but it is in a neighborhood, and we have a HOA that only allows family pets (typical ones) and horses. Not sure if they'd have an issue with us renting goats/pigs, but I will try eradicating it in other ways for now. For the garden, I feel I should garden on top of the soil for a while. There are other challenges too, so I think I'm going to start smaller there anyway. There is lots of wildlife that pass through, and some burrows in the boundaries we had imagined. We have to investigate those also before we set up camp. :)

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @csinclair461 Its always wise to start small and having the time to see what works is a great idea too, Good luck

    Hmmm, you could put a saddle on the goats and see if anyone falls for that. There might be a possibility the HOA would let you bring in gaots for a week if they knew why.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    I pulled a garbage bag full of poison ivy yesterday. There's a lot more than I thought. Many vines running along the ground under the leaves. I will keep working on it, but I am going to just garden in the grass currently, and will reassess the new garden spot after a season of cover crop. I also got a tick bite - a tick got in my rubber boot and got my ankle. It bit but didn't embed. It came right off when I picked at it (I didn't know what it was). Pretty sure it was a deer tick, I made the mistake of not keeping it for id. I took some sweet wormwood, as well as put some on the bite. Now that I know the little buggers will get in my boots, I'll have to dress more carefully... I thought i was dressed pretty well, and felt like my knee high boots were a good protection against ticks and poison ivy.

  • thelinda
    thelinda Posts: 21 ✭✭

    whatever you do, don't dig. The oil is concentrated in the roots especially in winter. Goats are probably the best solution

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    @thelinda thanks for that info, good to know!

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    Another option is to grow some garden plants in containers for this season while you rent the goats.

  • thelinda
    thelinda Posts: 21 ✭✭

    Also, DO NOT BURN IT. If you burn it, many, many people living within a mile maybe more can get affected. My co-worker got very sick when his neighbor burned some poison... do not know if it was oak or ivy.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    @thelinda yes, I haven't burned any and won't. Thanks! I do think about that though, when I smell smoke - burn piles are used around here, and I hope that knowledge is widespread :)

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had goats to help with my poison ivy in ther woods. I was alos thinking of pigs in that area. Those animals may not work for everyone but they do take care of the problem and fertilize too.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @csinclair461 Could you tell if the the areas that had poison ivy mowed regularly? That usually helps it not spread but all areas cannot be mowed easliy or if the land sat for a bit the poison ivy moves in.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    In the woods there has been no mowing. In the yard, it hasnt been mowed yet this spring. We are looking at mowers. The grass isnt long but a couple varieties of “weeds” are. Some poison ivy is creeping into the sparsely covered areas of yard. We will mow, and I will pull up what I see. I have been busy digging garden beds.

  • marie47164
    marie47164 Posts: 2 ✭✭✭

    I have poison ivy along a fence line. It grows out into the grass where I have been mowing it for years. Mowing does not kill it but does keep it from spreading much. I do have some in a garden area and was hoping to dig it out when it is cooler and I can wear long sleeves and gloves. I am glad I read this as to the warning about the roots in the winter.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    Update on this - I wrote to a master gardener at a local university with my questions on growing a garden in soil that had poison ivy, and he told me that as far as installing a garden, the garden plants won't take up urushiol internally, but can get it on the external parts of the plants. 

    I decided I could grow in the soil as long as I grow things that I can harvest well above the soil, keep the soil well weeded, and develop good cleaning up practices.

    I read up on composting of poison ivy - mostly because when it comes to clearing this place out a bit, there are a lot of plants/weeds that are touching poison ivy - I am going to just compost it all together in its own pile, and it can stay there for a couple years.

    So my current strategy is this: I use large ziplock bags as gloves when I need to pull poison ivy out of ground. I throw them in an old garbage container to die and rot down a bit before I dump them into the compost heap where they can decompose for a couple years. I am planting pole beans, corn, sunflowers in the areas where I pulled ivy recently (anything that I can harvest well above the soil).  The pole beans will also help fix nitrogen to discourage the ivy. I clean up my tools/boots by spraying them with rubbing alcohol, waiting a bit, and rinsing. I don’t use a rag so I don’t have to wash it or touch it. 

    So far, so good - neither I or anyone else in the house has gotten poison ivy. However, I'm not sure if I am susceptible to it.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @thelinda There is no difference in the active ingredient between poison oak and poison ivy. If you are sensitive to one, you will react equally to the other.

    The difference is that poison ivy tends to grow in more humid areas like Eastern North America, while poison oak is more likely to grow in the drier West.

This Week's Leaders