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Clearing brush and poison ivy around several trees

Clearing brush and poison ivy around several trees

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  #1  
Old 08-11-15, 11:42 PM
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Clearing brush and poison ivy around several trees

I'm purchasing 2 vacant lots in town next to mine, and have a chore of cleaning up trees that have become way overgrown with brush. I mean, several feet of thick, thick brush consisting of dozens of plants and trees surrounding EACH TREE.

From a bad experience, I'm aware that there is poisonous stuff in at least some of those trees, and probably around all of them from the looks of it. (very likely: poison sumac, poison ivy. maybeoison oak?) But there are too many species of green things in this brush to really identify it.

When clearing the brush, I'd like to move quickly (since there's so much to clear out).


Main question
Is there a way to neutralize the poison ivy plant to lessen the effect of this stuff spreading around? Or, do you guys have ideas of ways to properly handle this task?


My plan is basically, to go in with a bush hog behind a tractor, knock down as much light stuff as possible, and then go in with a chainsaw and start hacking away.

But, you can probably convince me of a smarter way of doing things
 
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Old 08-12-15, 04:34 AM
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I get into poison ivy every week BUT if I wash up good within 20 minutes or so it won't affect me. If I'm not near soap and water rubbing dirt on the contact area usually helps. About the only time I get a rash is when I didn't know I got into the poison ivy.

Long sleeves and gloves help. The less contact with your skin the better. Pics might garner more suggestions.
 
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Old 08-12-15, 06:19 AM
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Brush

Is there a way to neutralize the poison ivy plant to lessen the effect of this stuff spreading around?
Look into a brush killer. Read the label as to what species will be affected. Follow the directions. Spray while foliage is in growth stage. Repeat treatments may be necessary.

Be aware that saw dust/chips from chain sawing poison ivy is very, very toxic. I speak from experience.
 
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Old 08-12-15, 07:00 AM
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I can recommend Tecnu poison ivy scrub. I wash any exposed skin with it any time I've been working in the brush and it really seems to do a good job removing and neutralizing the oil. It even helps if you don't use it until you notice the beginning of the rash. I'm only moderately sensitive to it, but my wife seemingly only has to walk by it to get the rash, and tecnu works for her as well.

But as wirepuller said...the dust is toxic...so always wear a good mask or respirator when cutting or brush hogging. And never ever burn brush that might contain poison ivy or oak.

You may want to look into hiring a dozer and operator for a few hours. A good op can turn an overgrown lot into a neat brush pile fast, and you won't have a million little stumps left behind to keep sprouting.
 
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Old 08-12-15, 07:45 AM
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Like you mentioned I would go in first with equipment to at least clear walking paths. Then I spray a mixture of brush killer (I use Crossbow) and glyphosate (Roundup, Honcho, Glyfos...) to kill the weeds and brush. Then I check back in a week and spray again if needed. I want to kill the plants before cutting the above ground growth so they don't re-grow from the roots.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 11:14 AM
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Thanks for the advice.

If I use brush killer, does that help neutralize it in a way that will be potentially less toxic for skin contact?


Re: brush hogging: If I'm knocking brush to the ground with poison ivy in it, I'm under the impression it's still toxic. What should I do with the knocked down stuff? After a few mows and rains, will it pretty much be OK for kids to run around on?
 
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Old 08-25-15, 11:54 AM
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Killing it with brush killer or cutting it down does not eliminate the oil or render it non-irritating. Quick web search shows the oil can remain a danger for years under the right conditions.

The only way to make it safe for a play area is to first kill with brush killer (so it doesn't just sprout again), and then mechanically remove all traces of the stems and leaves. You can pile it somewhere safe to decompose, or bury it, or haul it to a composing facility, or haul it to a landfill. Just don't burn it.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 12:06 PM
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"If I use brush killer, does that help neutralize it..." I don't understand? Using any product according to the label directions is the best way to use it safely. I don't think there is any herbicide you want to intentionally get on your skin or ingest.

It's the oil in poison plants (ivy, oak and sumac) that causes an allergic reaction in many people. It's not toxic. Many animals can eat it and roll around in it without affect. It just happens that many humans are allergic and some are not. The oil is most "dangerous" when the plant is alive as touching almost any part can get it on your clothes or skin. Once the plant is dead the oils slowly evaporate and break down but you still have to be careful. Burning the woody parts of the plant months later can cause an intense reaction if you breath in the smoke. But, in general the oils diminish and break down naturally over time.

Will your kids be OK to run around on it.... I'd send in the neighbors kids first... Young, small and tender plants break down faster. Well established plants that have gotten woody take longer to completely break down but the oils on the surface dissipate relatively quickly. If the kids break or bend the twigs they could release some that's on the inside. But as I alluded to about the smoke. If you cut down a tree that had a poison vine growing on it and then burn that log, sometimes even moths later it can be bad to breath the smoke.

As a young child poison ivy had no affect on me. By the time I hit my teens I was quite allergic. Now I can work with it and have no reaction if I wash it off in less than 30 minutes. If I get it off within an hour I get a mild redness and itching and if it stays on me for longer it's the full on blisters.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 12:39 PM
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The oil is most "dangerous" when the plant is alive as touching almost any part can get it on your clothes or skin. Once the plant is dead the oils slowly evaporate and break down but you still have to be careful. Burning the woody parts of the plant months later can cause an intense reaction if you breath in the smoke. But, in general the oils diminish and break down naturally over time.
Thanks; that answers my question. So the oils are produced when the plant is alive, but are no longer produced when dead via brush killer or brush hogging. However, the oil is still active on the ivy until washed away, broken down, etc.

So, in a practical scenario, I don't feel a need to hire an excavation company to handle this for me. First I'll treat it with poison ivy/brush killer, then once dead, I'll brush/bush hog down the brush around the trees where there aren't thick branches/stumps, then chop it up into bits with a mower. Any large vines removed, I'll load on my trailer and haul them off. After the brush is down, I'll be doing some ground work with a box blade and some new dirt in order to smooth out the ground a bit, so this will help anything on the ground to decompose a bit quicker.

Thanks for the advice.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 04:48 PM
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Sounds like a good plan.

Is this lot at or near your home? I wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, gloves and a hat or bandanna no matter how hot it is if I'm handling poison plants. Never scratch or itch any exposed skin with your clothes. So, if your nose itches pull off your glove and use your clean bare hand. When done working I toss the clothes directly into the washing machine and head straight for the shower. Don't throw them in a pile for someone else to touch and don't put them in a hamper or on the floor where they can leave oil residue.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 08:04 PM
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Good advice re: clothes. Yes, I have annexed this area and it is now part of my yard. This certainly makes cleanup easier...however, its closeness also ups the ante a bit for getting that poison ivy taken care of.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 05:02 AM
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Just a side note concerning poison ivy and the others. Repeated exposure to the stuff makes one more sensitive. It can become extremely dangerous if exposed too often. I also know from experience. Another trick to help cleaning onesself if exposed is to use Fel's Naptha soap. It cuts the oils and tends to neutralizes them.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 07:33 AM
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IMO if you intend to use this area this year I would not chop it up with a brush hog or mower. This will open all the pores of the plant and let out any remaining oils, then distribute it all over the area. How long until it's inert??

I had a wedding reception in my back yard 2 weeks ago and part of the yard prep involved clearing brush around a tree near where the big tent was to go. I ripped out vines and hauled it away so I got some blisters on exposed skin...but the un-anticipated problem was days later I ran the mower over the now-exposed area around the tree to even it out. Well, party-goers meandering the yard near the tent carried the dust onto the dance floor on their shoes and some barefoot dancers & inebriated break-dancing kids that were sensitive got rashes the next day.

I want to emphasize I only mowed the little "stumps" of the vines & it was many days after the plants were removed--and then a few more days until the party.
That oil is nasty, long-lasting stuff.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 08:01 AM
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Good tip, thanks. It will be used more in upcoming years, but that's good to know, and I'll have to be real careful this year.
 
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Old 08-26-15, 09:37 AM
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Old 08-26-15, 10:38 AM
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Joe,
Good site. I almost referenced the same site.
 
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