How To Kill Poison Ivy

Written by Courtney Salinas
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Poison ivy is a broadleaf weed that is very resilient and tough to kill. Persistence will win over the plant's toughness in the long run, however. You should expect a lengthy battle with poison ivy in your yard. There are several precautions to take when dealing with this dangerous plant though. Above all, never, ever burn a poison ivy plant, as the smoke can cause rashes, blisters and itching worse than the plant can alone.

What Makes Poison Ivy Dangerous

Despite being so tough to kill, poison ivy is very delicate. The leaves are very easily bruised and the stems are easily broken. This may sound like good news if you're trying to kill the plant, but it is actually bad news. Whenever a poison ivy plant is injured, it releases urushiol. This is the chemical sap of poison ivy and is what causes the rash, blisters and itch that poison ivy is famous for. Poison ivy plants are rarely undamaged, so almost all the poison ivy you come into contact with will have urushiol seeping out of it.

Glyphosate is one of the best poison ivy killers. It is a non-selective herbicide, though, and will kill whatever it comes into contact with. This can make it very difficult for people who have poison ivy wrapped around their favorite plant. For the best results, cut the poison ivy to a couple of inches from the ground. Pull the vines of poison ivy as well as you can away from the plant it has wrapped itself around. Then apply a good spray of glyphosate to the stump of poison ivy that is left.

Remember to always wear full protective clothing when dealing with poison ivy. Shower immediately after dealing with the plant and the herbicide. Wash your clothes separately from the rest of your clothes, or even better, wear clothes that you were intending on getting rid of anyway and throw them away after using them.


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