If touched, Poison Oak is known to cause severe allergic reactions among humans and animals. Poison oak is usually found in the wild but it often invades domestic gardens. It is an invasive, woody shrub that competes with other plants in the garden. If it isn't eradicated early, it can take the form of a climbing vine, spreading across the surrounding trees and walls. It is also called the western poison oak. Poison oaks can become endemic to some gardens, re-surfacing, even after repeated removal. Getting rid of poison oaks is not demanding but it needs a systematic approach. Use the following instructions to get rid of poison oaks in your garden.
Step 1 - Preparing Yourself
Those with a medical history of intensive allergic reactions shouldn't handle poison oaks. You should prepare yourself to prevent accidental contact with the plant. Basic clothing can be manipulated into creating an effective gear. Use long-sleeved shirts and trousers. Combine this with a pair of plastic gloves and woolen socks.
Step 2 – Manually Eradicating Poison Oak
You should try to pull-out the poison oak by the roots. This ensures that the plant doesn't re-infest the same spot. Before pulling out the plant, dig around the base of the plant. Using a spade, create a 6-inch deep trench that encircles the plant. This ensures that the roots are loosened. However, if the plant has developed strong roots, this task could become demanding.
Instead, you can smother the plant. With the help of gardening scissors, cut the plant’s main stem, close to the ground. Only a small stalk should be left above the soil’s surface. Place a plastic sheet or newspaper sheets on top of the sliced stalk. This slowly chokes the plant to death by depriving it of sunlight and ventilation. However, this method doesn't ensure that the plant will not root again.
Step 3 – Applying Herbicides
For comprehensively killing the poison oak, you need to apply herbicides to the sliced stump. The sliced surface ensures that the herbicide is able to seep into the plant and reach the roots. Herbicidal application can be done before covering the stalk. This increases the overall effectivity of the herbicide. Most herbicidal solutions contain compounds like glyphosate and triclopyr. Glyphosate herbicidal solutions are particularly effective against study, mature poison oaks. Triclopyr herbicidal preparations provide long-term eradication of poison oaks when applied to young poison oaks.
Try to apply the chosen herbicide soon after the poison oak begins flowering. Herbicidal spraying during the growth phase (flowering or fruiting stage) is more effective and is commonly called foliar spraying. Foliar application should be done during the spring season. For a few, ground-level poison oaks, the herbicide can be applied with a paintbrush. However, if the poison oak has grown into a dense, climbing vine, use a handheld sprayer. Herbicidal solutions used for spraying should be diluted according to packaged instructions.
Step 4 - Disposing Dead Poison Oaks
Leftover foliage of a destroyed oak shrub shouldn't be used for preparing compost or any other gardening activity. Please note that the dead vine, particularly its dug-up roots, are poisonous. Collect all the disposed parts of the dead oak. Pack these into a plastic bag and dump the bag. This is the safest method of disposing dead oaks, since fumes emerging from burning oaks can be toxic.