Poison Ivy – Winter Removal

Q: I pulled brown, hard poison ivy vines from my azaleas. Needless to say, I have a rash in the middle of the winter. There are two roots so big and strong they won’t budge from the ground. Please advise.

A: The irritant oil of poison ivy, urusiol, is known to remain on the stems and roots for weeks if not years. I remember getting a terrible rash after carrying year-old firewood into my house one winter. Nothing much can hurt the roots now. I’d wait until spring and see what emerges from the stumps. Spray any sprouts with weed killer and be persistent about re-checking. I have details about poison ivy’s fate in a compost pile at http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/poison-ivy-oil-how-long-is-it-potent/.

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