Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Another Master Gardener Story, Poison Ivy Control, and a Native Wasp.

Beauregard Master Gardeners graduating class.

Figure 1. MG Class Picture (left to right): Keith Hawkins, MG Coordinator) honored recent MG graduates, Tammy Cecil, Adrienne Edwards, Cheryle & Kirk Gillard. Photo: Gary Parish, Master Gardener.

The Beauregard Master Gardeners (MG) celebrated the belated graduation of MG students who started the class in January of this year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the training. Fortunately, most of the instructional materials were in the hands of the class by the time the State locked down. The students belatedly received their certificates before the Christmas holiday.

The Louisiana Master Gardener (LMG) program is one of the signature programs of the LSU AgCenter. Master Gardeners (MGs) are AgCenter Volunteers who receive horticultural training in weeds, insects, plant diseases, turf, vegetables, ornamentals, and other related topics, and they help other gardeners with their plant and landscape issues.

This class graduated eleven people. All MG students were from southwest Louisiana, and the graduates include:

Danner Adair, Beauregard Parish

Tammy Cecil, Vernon Parish

Harry Chamberlain, Calcasieu Parish

Adrienne Edwards, Beauregard Parish

Cheryl Gillard, Beauregard Parish

Kirk Gillard, Beauregard Parish

Tyler Geymann, Beauregard Parish

Christa Haymon, Vernon Parish

Mike Liles, Beauregard Parish

Naomi Records, Beauregard Parish

Hannalize Slate, Beauregard Parish

Connie Westfall, Beauregard Parish

The Master Gardeners of Beauregard Parish will start new Master Gardener online classes, and the first class is a free orientation and will cover the details of this class. The beginning date and time for this new class will be Thursday, January 7, 2021, 1 PM. To receive an invitation to this virtual class, send your request by email to or for information, call 337-463-7006.

Poison Ivy Vine.

Figure 2. A tree with a heavy infestation of poison ivy. Photo: LSU AgCenter.

Barney has a tree infested with poison ivy and asks, “Is there any way to kill poison ivy and not the tree?”

Bob Souvestre, a horticulture agent with the AgCenter, wrote an article, “Poison Ivy Vines in the Landscape,” about how to treat for poison ivy with three different practices:

  1. The first is hand pulling or digging it out when the soil is moist, getting out as much of the roots as possible. Place the plants into a plastic bag and throw it away.
  2. The second method is to carefully spray the foliage with a systemic herbicide. This is only possible when the spray will not get on the foliage of desirable plants. If needed, nearby desirable plants can be covered with plastic sheets or bags to protect them while you do the spraying. Be sure to wet the foliage of the poison ivy vine thoroughly. Spray on windless mornings.

Systemic herbicides are absorbed by the foliage and enter the plant’s circulatory system, sending the material into the vine’s roots and killing them. Glyphosate (Roundup, Eraser, Hi-Yield Killzall and other brands) or triclopyr (Brush-B-Gon, Brush Killer, Greenlight Cut Vine and Stump Killer and other brands) are commonly recommended for poison ivy control. Herbicides that contain a combination of dicamba (Banvel) and 2,4-D also work well. Once the vine dies it may be removed. The dead leaves still contain the rash-causing oils and should be handled cautiously with gloves.

  1. The third method of removal is for larger, established vines growing up in trees or intertwined in shrubs. Spraying the vine foliage is not practical in these situations because of the potential to injure desirable trees and surrounding landscape plants. Poison ivy control in sensitive areas can best be achieved by the cut-vine method.

Cut off the vine a few inches from the ground with loppers and immediately treat the surface of the freshly cut stump with undiluted triclopyr. The vine in the tree or shrub will die because it has no root system. The treated stump will die because the herbicide gets absorbed by the freshly cut surface and translocates to the roots. Applying the herbicide to the fresh cut is necessary because it prevents the stump from resprouting. This method is very effective and may be used any time of the year.

Souvestre also adds, “Getting poison ivy off your property will probably take repeated herbicide applications. Older vines in neighboring yards may continue to drop seeds in your landscape. Watch out for this unwelcome plant and be prompt and aggressive in your efforts to control it.”

Sphex wasp

Figure 3. A female Sphex wasp. Photo: unknown.

A homeowner sent an image of a wasp and wanted to be sure that it was NOT the Asian giant hornet (AGH), also known at the murder hornet.

The insect shown in the image is a female sphex wasp and is called the “golden reined” wasp, a native insect of the southeastern United States. The adults use crickets and grasshoppers to nurture its brood in the ground. The adults feed on nectar from flowers so it is harmless to people. The adults are about one inch in length and is very small compared to the AGH.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

12/21/2020 7:30:33 PM
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