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How To Deal With Poison Ivy In Your Yard

How To Deal With Poison Ivy In Your Yard

By Dan Boelman, RN, BSN, Zanfel Laboratories
Photographs courtesy of Zanfel Laboratories

The most common place to get exposed to poison ivy or poison oak is in your own yard or garden. What options are available for dealing with these plants? Leaving them alone won’t make the problem go away. Hitting poison ivy plants that are growing on the ground with a mower or weed-eater can spray the plants’ oily toxin on your skin.

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If you kill poison ivy plants with herbicide, keep in mind that it takes 5–10 years for the toxic oil inside of the poison ivy plant to break down after the plant dies. Those dead poison ivy plants remain a hazard on your property for years to come!

If you own a residence or business where poison ivy is a problem, or if you have some very large poison ivy vines that are hard to completely remove, you may want to contact a contractor who specializes in poison ivy plant removal.

Here is a link to a state-by-state list of poison ivy removal contractors:

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We talked to Umar Mycka, owner of Poison Ivy Horticulturist, a poison ivy removal company serving Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding area. Here are his tips on what to keep in mind when contacting a poison ivy removal contractor:

  • Do not spray the poison ivy plants with herbicide before the contractor arrives for the job. Killing the plant with herbicides will make the plant more difficult for the contractor to remove, resulting in a longer job.
  • Beware of landscaping companies that offer to “kill” the poison ivy plants by burying them with soil. This almost never works, as the poison ivy plants will eventually grow up through the soil.
  • Be prepared to tell the contractor which of the poison ivy plants on your property are your highest priority for removal. You may want to have them start by removing the most problematic plants near your home. If you see the contractor does a good job, have them come back to remove the lower priority plants on another day.
  • Expect that poison ivy removal services will cost more than general landscaping services, but less than tree trimming/tree removal services. Also keep in mind the value of having the quality of life for you and your family members improved by reducing or eliminating the chance of poison ivy exposures in your own yard.

For more information contact Umar Mycka, Poison Ivy Horticulturist,

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