Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hello Roundup, Goodbye Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy after Roundup®
Poison Ivy after Roundup®

Last fall, I found an unwelcome plant esconced in the side yard. It had three bright shiny leaves, and looked beautiful. Poison ivy is like some of my former boyfriends, beautiful to look at, but you wouldn't want it in your beds. As you can see, the PI also began growing up the maple tree.

Earlier this spring, I bought some Roundup®, but it's only been in the last few days that the weather has been good for spraying. From the results, it looks like the PI is on the way out. Roundup prevents plants from photosynthesizing their nutrients. Essentially, a sprayed plant starves to death. Roundup also claims to kill the roots, and that's a bigger concern of mine in regards to poison ivy.

I walked around the neighborhood, and the house immediately behind us has a lot along its borders and in the shady areas. The house is vacant and up for sale. I hope prospective homebuyers know what they are looking at. It's a nuisance weed, and will probably be back in our yard as long as it's growing next door.

Of course, disposing of the poison ivy is difficult, too. The active ingredient, urushiol, bonds well to human skin, lasts in the environment for several years, and vaporizes when burned. I'm not sure what to do with the plant residue. I think I'll probably dispose of it with the regular garbage, because I don't want someone getting a urushiol reaction if the garden waste got composted and put in somebody else's yard.

In the meantime, I've called American Landscaping, and they will be delivering a couple of yards of mulch so that I can spread it along the paths, and around areas where I'm trying to remove some English Ivy (Roundup® works on other plants, too!). I'll say this about Maryland's climate, lots of stuff grows here, and grows fast. I've never lived in a place that was so green.