[NAFEX] Killing Poison Ivy Organically/elevation

Dave Griffin griffingardens at earthlink.net
Mon May 2 08:35:18 EDT 2005


  Grazing is the cause of widespread poison ivy, autumn olive, buckthorn,
honeysuckle...not the solution. The disturbance from cattle - including
soil compaction, elimination of native vegetation competition, exposure of
mineral soil for seed germination - provides ideal conditions for these
invasives to increase and thrive. Its much easier to preserve healthy woods
than to restore them but restoration can be done with work and time. First
eliminate the seed trees. Then regular selective weeding over time
gradually reduces the invasives and increases the natives. 
  Buckthorn pulls easily in the spring right after the frost goes out of
the ground and, with the seed trees gone,  there is less of it every year.
After 12 years or so its a 2 afternoon job now for 25 acres of woods. The
Europeans are easy to spot then and its a nice, bugless time to be in the
woods anyway. I haven't had much luck with Roundup on poison ivy. Mine is
mostly on the edges in the grass and Roundup kills the competition while
only burning off the tops of the p.i. so it comes back stronger than ever.
I used a broadleaf herbicide - harsh maybe - but now it is gone (except 
for a very few new shoots) as the grass that remains helps choke out any
regeneration and I don't have to re-apply something also harsh, even if it
is less so, on a continuing basis. Harsh too is the Tordon I use of the
larger weedy trees and on the Honeysuckle which doesn't pull cleanly. On
the other hand, a little drop will do you on a cut stump so there is no
peripheral damage from overspray and, since you can be selective, the
released native competition takes over the newly opened space. Tordon is
effective but not in the spring as the rising sap washes it off the stump.
So I flag the Honeysuckle then and cut it in September when the plant takes
it down into the roots. This is hot, buggy work  but carries the
satisfaction of knowing it is more effective than cursing and it makes the
beer taste great.
  Originally this job looked to be impossibly overwhelming but with
diligence in time I have an island of good quality native woods in a sea of
European weeds. Most of the new buckthorn seedlings come up under the
mother tree and it is important to first eliminate them. Then, as the woods
continues to get healthier, it fights off the new invaders from the outside
in an increasingly more effective way with diminishing help from me. This,
the four hundredth anniversary of Cervantes, is a great year to celibate by
beginning to tilt at this windmill. Not all the seemingly Quixotic ventures
turn out to be so.

Dave


> [Original Message]
> From: bluestem_farm at juno.com <bluestem_farm at juno.com>
> To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: 5/1/05 10:18:56 PM
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Killing Poison Ivy Organically/elevation
>
>
> Tanis,
> I've seen p.i. on very dry sand, in oak barrens in and out of the shade,
and I'm pretty sure that I've seen it in marshes, too.  I think around here
it may be grazing that keeps it down.  Our farm was pastured fencerow to
fencerow by cattle and then sheep before we bought it, in the woods and
everywhere.  And we had virtually no p.i. when we bought it; now it is
moving in and spreading (along with the autumn olive and other things) such
that I've been threatening to get some highlander cattle.  Actually I want
them for the brush control, but if they kept down the poisons that would be
great.
> Muffy
>
> -- "tanis cuff"  wrote:
> WI p.ivy doesn't mind cold winters, not much bothered by dry soil either.
I 
> don't recall seeing it on the driest sand, nor in marshes, otherwise
"it's 
> everywhere".  Could elevation really be the limiting factor?  Seeds are 
> moved by birds; are they very strict about elevation?
>
>
> On May 1, 2005, at 3:43 PM, Pat Meadows wrote:
>
> >We don't seem to have any poison ivy in this area
> >(Appalachian Mountains in northern Pennsylvania).  It
> >surprised me, but I have not seen any in four years of
> >living here and I recognize it when I see it.
> >
> >I can only assume the winters are too cold for it (the
> >lowest temperature we've experienced here is -26 F).
> >Anyway, it doesn't seem to be here.
> >
> >Pat
> >--
> >
>
> I think you're right about the temperature.  There's a fairly sharp line
in 
> NH and upstate NY between where the poison ivy grows, and where it
doesn't.  
> I'm pretty sure it corresponds to winter low temps.  At any rate, I know 
> several places where it grows next to the water, or in the valley, but 
> doesn't grow once you get a little elevation.
>
> Ginda
>
>
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