If I told you that I knew how to get rid of poison ivy without spraying or digging, would you be interested? Would you believe that it really is as simple as giving the plant a “vinegar IV”? How’s that for “natural”? And it couldn’t be easier to do!
Last year, we had some wicked poison ivy growing on the north side of our house. It had climbed the siding to the roof, and it had also managed to grow inside our enclosed front porch. Yes, that’s right, we had poison ivy growing INSIDE!
My husband is pretty allergic to the stuff, and the prospect of manual removal wasn’t something he wanted to face. And since this plant was so vast, we didn’t think spraying it would work, so he hatched an idea. He decided to give the entire plant a vinegar IV.
He grabbed a 32-oz sports drink bottle and he drilled two holes in the lid. Then he filled it with vinegar, put the cap back on, and took it outside. After looking at the poison ivy for a minute or two, he cut the plant near the ground. He shoved the root side stem end into one of the holes in the lid, and he shoved the plant end stem in the other hole. Then, he used some low temp hot glue to seal around the holes in the lid, and he inverted the bottle. It really was that simple!
Now, some folks might wonder why he worried about the part of the plant that he had severed from the root system. Yes, it probably would have died on its own, but because we’re not very experienced with plants, we weren’t sure if new plant would propagate from the plant matter that had climbed our house and grown into the gutter and enclosed porch. And since it didn’t really hurt anything to make that second hole, Fred figured he was giving us a little extra insurance.
In the end though, his idea was pure genius because over the next couple days, the entire plant died and it never came back!
The beauty of Fred’s idea was that we didn’t have to mix gallons of product to apply to the entirety of the plant with the hope that it might knock it back enough to kill it. Obviously, we didn’t want to have to spray anything on the plant that was growing inside our porch, and past experience with natural sprays or big Big Ag herbicides proved mostly ineffective over the long haul. Using the vinegar IV had no unintended consequences though as we directly targeted the plant that needed to go bye-bye. It really was a beautiful thing!
Granted, this was an N=1 experiment. We haven’t had the chance to try it on other plants around the property. But its simplicity means that if we have a situation like that again, we can give the vinegar IV another try to collect more data points. For that one plant though, Fred’s strategy worked where nothing else had.