|Submitted by: Dennis Potts
Date Submitted: 6/16/2003
Location: Louisville, KY
Question Asked: I'm sending several pictures of vines growing in various places on a wood fence in my backyard in Louisville, KY. In a couple of these pictures, you can see that the same vine seems to have three-leaved specimens and also five-leaved ones. I have sprayed a herbicide (Brush-be-gone) on some of these vines (evident in a couple of pictures), but I'm concerned about the precautions that I need to take to remove them if they are indeed poison ivy
Answer: Hi Dennis -
I've rearranged the order of pictures from what you submitted to show best what is poison ivy. You have at leat 2 different vines growing together on your fence which is not that uncommon. It looks like both poison ivy and virginia creeper. Both vines have woody stems and sometimes grow together to confuse identification.
In the first picture you can see the general leaflet shape and length of stalk - this picture is predominately poison ivy. In the second picture we get to see more of the leaves. Notice that there are black does on some of the leaflets - likely oxidized urushiol oil. Again we can clearly see the leaf characterisitics of poison ivy. There's something across the bottom right foreground, another vine? Hard to say as there's not enough to see. Oh and look what is peeking out along the entire left side of the second picture - is that english ivy? another invasive plant so that makes 3 vines.
In the third picture we see a mix of 5 leaflet and 3 leaflet leaves. If you look closely you'll see some differences. The 5 leaflet vine is virginia creeper and is characterized by the palmated leaf (the leaflets are attached to the stalk in a manner that resembles the palm of the hand and fingers). The poison ivy is the 3 leaflet leaf with the middle leaflet on a longer stalk. And again there is some english ivy tucked under in the lower right corner.
In the final picture, there is virginia creeper, poison ivy (the 3 leaflet leaf) annd I believe something else. What's that peeking out from under the other 2 vines in the bottom of the picture? Not enough detail to say.
When you go for plant removal from the fence, handle with care. Even dead poison ivy is toxic.