How do I get rid of poison ivy?
I am building on a three-acre piece of land that is covered in poison ivy. The land is surrounded by forest but is basically an open field. What would be my best approach to eradicating it from the field areas, keeping in mind that children and animals will be playing there?
The first thing is to be sure you have Poison Ivy. “Leaves of three, let them be” is an old adage, but there are some plants that have three leaves that are not poison ivy. Other things to look at are if the leaves are shiny, if they have small non-descript flowers, or if there are white berries present.
The Maine Department of Agriculture has a nice website about poison ivy identification and control.
It sounds like your infestation is too much for hand pulling and you may have to look at herbicides. Our colleagues at Clemson University have a nice publication about poison ivy control (PDF) that outlines how to use either glyphosate, 2,4,D Amine, or Triclopyr. Once you have a frost, the plants are no longer susceptible to the herbicides.