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Along with summertime heat and outdoor activities, comes the risk of an itchy case of poison ivy.
Leaves of three, let it be! Poison ivy always has three leaflets at the end of a long stem. These three leaflets make up one leaf. The leaflets can vary quite a bit in their exact shape. Although poison ivy is usually thought of as a vine, it will often grow as a weak shrub, standing up 2 to 3 feet tall. Old vines climbing trees are easily recognized by the extremely hairy stem.
An established patch of poison ivy can be quite difficult to eradicate. The plant spreads by underground runners, so the root system can be very extensive. Individual small plants can be dug up or pulled when the ground is soft. A heavy infestation is best controlled with repeated herbicide applications.
Several herbicides are available for use on poison ivy. Products that are readily available for home use include the following ingredients: 2, 4-D (Weed-B-Gon, Southern Lawn Weed Killer, Wipe-out, others), glyphosate (Round-Up, KleerAway, Kleenup,others) and trichlopyr (Brush-B-Gon, Power Force Brush Killer and others). Products containing dicamba are also very effective, but should not be used over the root area of trees and shrubs. Be sure to follow label directions carefully for use and mixing rates of all herbicides. These products should be considered “non-selective” and will damage other plants.
(Image provided by NC Cooperative Extension.)
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