A Quick Moment of Foliage
Posted on October 14, 2022 Posted by John Scalzi 13 Comments
I’m traveling a lot this month, which means my usual spree of October foliage photos has been interrupted, but now that I’m home for a couple of days I’ll try to get some shots in. That said, while I was in Kentucky earlier this week, I did get this lovely photo of a Virginia Creeper vine doing its thing, and it looks quite lovely. Yes, it’s often considered a weed, but one, “weeds” can be lovely, and two, it’s not my weed, so I don’t have to worry about, I can just take a picture of it.
In the category of weeds that are my problem, here’s some poison ivy in the treeline of my house:
It’s pretty. Don’t touch it. We will probably get an expert to come in and deal with it.
We’ve got some (probably) Virginia Creeper on the farm fence at the back of our back yard, and it always gives glorious color every fall.
I have to yank it out of the yard next to the fence throughout the summer, as it tries to colonize away from the fence, but it’s easy to pull (and rather satisfying, actually) so I don’t mind much.
Apparently goats love the stuff
There are goat services – maybe there’s one in your area?
Lovely photos, even of the poison ivy. Poison ivy/oak is quite lovely just to look at
Will kick in on the goats idea. They are not allergic to the vine, and quite enjoy nibbling away at it. In your rural area, I would bet someone around you has goats you could tie at the scene of the poison.
At least this time of year, the poison ivy is easy to spot.
Unlike most things, though, the solution to poison ivy is not to “burn it with fire!”
Coming here to second or fifth or whatever the goatscaping idea. They’ll chow right down on poison ivy, oak, and sumac and fertilize while they do so. Some companies will work with goats and sheep, others will bring in pigs afterward to pull up the roots. Absolutely worth investigating and it will probably also provide Charlie some entertainment as well.
I do hand-to-vine combat with Virginia creeper in a never-ending battle for yard supremacy. I am hellishly allergic to poison ivy, so that is one of the very few weeds I will use glyphosate on. I wish goat weeding was available here.
Couple of woodlots near me are overrun with Virginia Creeper and wow, it’s really bright red. Trees are just beginning to fade from green, so the trunks covered in this stuff really stick out..
Seconding Joel’s “do not even think about trying to cut down and burn the poison ivy.” That smoke is life-threatening. (Known from family experience.)
My wife had a horrible allergic reaction to this a few years ago. It was far worse than for poison ivy. It covered her entire forearm, and looked like a chemical burn. We tried the goatscaping idea once for poison ivy, but they apparently found too much other stuff to eat and didn’t touch the poison ivy
Yup, Virginia Creeper can also be nasty.
“the sap within the leaves and stem contains raphides (needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate) which can puncture the skin causing irritation and blisters in sensitive people”
A weed is, by definition, an unwanted plant. If it isn’t unwanted, then, it isn’t a weed.
Re: poison ivy –
Not my finest moment I’ll admit.
In my much younger days, I was renting one side of a duplex and discovered (the hard way) that there was some poison ivy in the back yard.
So when one day some guy came around offering to mow the yard for cash, I gladly accepted the offer… failing to mention the offending plant.
However, I did get my comeuppance. 10 minutes later (it was a VERY small yard) he knocked on the door to collect payment. It took very few seconds to open the door, hand over the cash, and close the door, but it was enough. Every square inch of exposed my skin broke out in a rash that lasted for days from the aerosolized poison ivy.
Being an @$$hole didn’t work out too well, as it shouldn’t.
Mowing poison ivy also doesn’t work out too well.
I have a rather large chunk of land. Several scattered acres worth of this land is covered in woods with poison ivy. I have been fighting this menace for years. I can spot 3 poison ivy leaves from 50+ feet away. I saw the pic and immediately neurons fired.
Goats, cutting, and other mechanical responses: in the fall, it wont kill the roots etc, and it will likely pop up again in the spring. But with less vine comes fewer seeds and less infrastructure to fight.
I would get lopping sheers and cut the vine anywhere it climbs the tree. Cut to separate the vine on the tree from the root in the dirt. If its a single 40 ft vine one cut will do. Wash as explained below.
Next year, keep an eye on it. If it comes back, spray a fine mist of glysophate (40%) on the leaves when there is no rain in forcast, sometime in the month of june.
Glysophate works by getting on the leaves, and being carried by the plant to the roots where it kills the roots, and the plant never comes back. Before june, poison ivy is mostly moving nutrients from roots to leaves, and spraying in springtime will be less effective. In fall when leaves are turned, the plant is in hybernation, and glysophate wont do anything. June is the best.
If you wait, the vine can produce berries later in summer. And birds carry them yo other places and spread the plant. JUNE.
Goats are good for small plots that can be fenced in, and people with money. I have far too much land covered with the stuff and the number of coyotes is just too high.
Poison ivy oil can be active up to a year. After you spray or cut or whatever, stay away from the area. For a year.
Poison ivy oil acts like an invisible petroleum grease. If it gets on something, rain will not wash it away.if it gets on your hand, and you scratch your nose, you will get a rash on you hand and nose. The only way to remove the oil is SOAPy water, and scrubbing.
If you get the oil on you, you have roughly five minutes to wash it off with soapy cold water before it gets into the skin. Before 5 minutes, you should not get a rash. After 5 minutes, you may get a rash. But you still want to wash with soapy cold water, because the oil is on your skin and you will just keep spreading it around.
Cold water because hot water can open your pores and let the oil in.
Once you have washed and showered and double laundered everything, you mught still get a rash from a spot you missed or a spot that had oil for more than 5 minutes.
The rash is not contagious, the oil that causes the rash can be spread by contact.
While out chasing poison ivy, if its a thick blanket like mine, rubber boots, a disposable painters tyvek suit, rubber gloves, and a full face mask with organic fikter if using glysophate. Before you start, set up a outdoor hose, with a spray shower nozle and have a full bottle of dish soap ready to use.water on. Soap opened and ready. When you are done dealing eith the vines, wash off your boots and rubber gloves, then wash off any equipment like pruning shears or sprayers, take boots off, so you can peal tge suit off (latex gloves still on). Try to keep suit so that outside is rolled into itself as you peel.
Suit in a trash bag.then gloves. And wash your hads again with soapy water in case you got accidental contact. Then in the house, clothes in laundry. And a cool soapy shower for you.
Ive spent hundreds of hours fighting the vine and only got a rash twice.
If youre hyper allergic to poison ivy, dont even think of doing that.
Glysophate is designed to neutralize when it gets into the earth. I say this bevause i knew someone who complained it didnt work, and after questions, they explained they sprayed the ground where they thought the roots were. Spray a fine mist on the leaves in june.
Glysophate is generally safe to spray on ivy climbing trees. As long as the tree has developed bark, the tree should be fine. Ive lost trees from gypsy moths and storms, but havent lost one from glysophate. If its a young sapling with soft bark, dont spray it.
Full face mask with an organic filter. Tyvrk suit. Rubber boots and gloves. Thats to keep the ivy oil off you, but also any glysophate spray off you as well. Dont spray when its windy. If its a small patch, hold the wand a few inches from the leaf. A good nozzle will produce large droplets that fall, not a fine mist that is carried by the wind.
It will grow in a flat field among grass and it can climb trees. It spreads as a creeping vine, but seeds usually get dropped where birds perch.
Good luck and