Getting rid of poison ivy

The New York Times has an interesting article today about natural and unnatural methods of removing poison ivy, treating the rashes it causes, and a note that "optimum conditions" lead to the highest exposures: overcast skies and high humidity.

Instead of using poison, organic gardeners pull up the vines and roots (wearing gloves, of course), and immediately dispose of them in garbage bags headed for the landfill. Mike McGrath, the voluble host of "You Bet Your Garden," broadcast weekly on WHYY in Philadelphia, puts plastic shopping bags (the heavy kind from upscale department stores) over his gloved hands, and pulls the vines in such a way that even his gloves don’t touch any part of them. He also wears protective clothing, and washes everything - tools, gloves, clothes, body - with cold water, as soon as the job is done.
And an important note that bears repeating:
One thing everyone agrees on is that however poison ivy is controlled, it should not be burned - not even the dead leaves and vines - because the resin-filled smoke can irritate the skin and damage eyes and lungs.
Read the article here.


Rachel said...

My husband yanked out about a million poison ivy plants last year -- our first summer in this house. Well, this year just 2 or 3 came back. He knows I am really anti-weed killer, so he sheepishly admitted to me the other day that he's peeing on them and it's killing them. Yay!

Emily said...

We have a stubborn PI vine that's growing IN our azalea bush, which makes it impossible to pull out successfully. We've tried for three summers, but it isn't working. We finally succumbed and used Roundup last week, and it's starting to shrivel. Sorry, but I was tired of breaking out every time I turned on the outdoor hose, which also happens to be there.

Ooooh, it makes me mad!