Question!

Is poison ivy a danger to my horse?

 


NO!  But it’s a danger to you…and you might just pick it up from your horse.  Strangely enough, your barn cats and dogs won’t be bothered by it either.  But, since all of our critters may come into contact with it, be diligent about addressing poison ivy where your animals live and explore.  

 

Poison ivy seems to cover most of the Eastern parts of the US.  You can identify it by it’s three leaf pattern, with leaves about 3 inches long and pointy.  The plant produces an oil, called urushiol oil which can cause major skin issues, like blisters and wicked itching, in humans.  Even dead poison ivy plants can cause you major trouble as the oil is still present.  

 

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Um, NO NO NO NO So many NOPES

 

Poison ivy can be on the ground, up trees and fences, and dangling from tree branches.  Well that's just super.  The poison ivy plant has a long and large tap root that goes straight down, with many root stalks shooting out to the sides.  As a climbing plant, you might see aerial roots on the vine, which also serve to help the plant stick to trees and fences.  

 

The leaves change color throughout the year, from green in the summer to red or yellow in the fall.  You will also find berries, ranging in color from green to almost white.  Don’t eat them!

 

You have a few options to dealing with poison ivy around the farm.  Remove by hand, but this is quite the task and many times the giant tap root will come back to life.  You can also spray the snot out of the poison ivy with poison ivy poisons.  Your local ag extension service can help you find the best choice for your area - as you don’t want to contaminate any water sources nearby. 

 

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Who doesn't love goats!?

 

And if you are looking for yet another reason to get goats for the farm - this is it.  Some goats LOVE TO EAT POISON IVY.  There are also many goat loaning services that will deliver goats to you for brush clearing.  YES that's a real business.  (Why didn't I think of that!?) They will eat the leaves, but not the roots, so it’s likely that the leaves will grow back… but - over time the plant will not be able to survive if it’s continually eaten.  

 

How do you deal with poison ivy around the farm?