Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday was a great day to get out into the yard and pull some weeds and clip a few hedges. With all the rain, everything had grown and we weren't able to get into the yard to do the work before now.
Since we are allergic, I'm always on the lookout for the early sprigs of poison ivy and I found a couple along the fence line. I have a great, eco-friendly way to kill it. No chemicals. No damage to nearby plants. This method works best while the plant is still small and less than 12" high with a thin stem. I've used this method for over 25 years.
Fill a tea kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Take the kettle out to the plant and slowly dribble the boiling water over the leaves and up and down the stem. Continue pouring the whole kettle of boiling water over the plant and stem and around the base of the plant. The leaves should be wilting by now and the soil at the base of the plant will be steaming. You have cooked the ivy. The plant will shrivel, die, and the remains will blow away in a couple of days.
We call it a "vine" so find a stick and use it to pick through the grass and weeds to see if the poison ivy has "vined". Treat anything along that vine with a new pot of water.
I have found that the poison ivy never comes back. When I used a commercial killer, often it killed the leaves but the root was still there and it re-emerged later in the season. Catch it early. After the vine has grown thick and woody, you may need to resort to chemical brush killer or professional help.
If you are not sure that the 3 leafed plant in your yard is poison ivy, I would be happy to come and take a look.
The boiling water method also works well on grass and weeds that grow in the cracks of your sidewalk and driveway.