Poison ivy can be found in many gardens whose owners are anaware of its identity. It's dangerous. Some people are more susceptible to it than others, but no one is believed to ever be completely immune. Now is one of the best times of the year to go after it and get rid of it.
The first step is to learn to identify it. There's an old saying, "Leaflets three, let it be." The poison ivy leafstalk bears three leaflets. You can be fairly certain it's poison ivy if the leaflets are in groups of three.
Small greenish-white flowers are borne in clusters in the axils of the leaflets. Round, white, berry-like fruits appear in late summer and often persist all winter. In the fall the leaves turn to an attrative pink to red color.
It may grow as a shrub or like a vine, but in all cases the leaves are in threes and of the same general appearance. Boston ivy sometimes has a few leaflets in clusters of three, but mixed in with them will be clusters of two also.
Poison ivy is fairly easy to kill in late spring and early summer. One of the best weed-killing chemicals to use is Amchem Amitrol-L. Silvex also is effective. Directions on the label for mix and application should be followed closely.
Both Amitrol and Silvex may seriously damage or kill other plants if they touch them. However, there is a way to use them to kill poison ivy growing in a hedge or near other plants - mix a solution in a tin can and use a long-handled, small brush to brush it onto the leaves of the poison ivy. Brush at least a dozen leaves on each stem.
Usually roots and all are killed. It isn't a quick death. Ten days or more may pass before the poison ivy begins to droop.
All parts of the poison ivy plant are dangerous, leaves, stems, roots and berries. Even the fallen leaves are potent, even after they've changed color and begun to rot.
The smoke of burning poison ivy is even more dangerous than the plants, since the poisonous oils are volatized by the heat of the fire and carried in the smoke. If the smoke comes in contact with the skin or is inhaled, poisoning is almost certain to occur.
To get rid of poison ivy, first kill it with a weed-killer and then bury it. If the leaves have fallen to the ground, rake them up separately and bury them also.