Best method to remove poison ivy

Asked September 19, 2016, 5:10 PM EDT

Does anyone have ideas on the best way to get rid of poison ivy (permanently) besides using Round Up? Our community path is covered and dogs are bringing it home and transmitting it to residents. Thanks very much,

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

Poison ivy grows fairly quickly and propagates itself by underground rhizomes and seeds. The seeds are quickly spread by birds and other animals that eat the small fruits. Poison ivy can get started in the landscape from a seed dropped by a bird and in short time become a wide spread problem.
There are no organic controls for poison ivy that are effective.
For light infestations you can dig and hand pull small plants. Wear disposable plastic gloves, long sleeved shirts and pants. Or If anyone is going to try to pull vines out, you can wrap plastic garbage bags up your arms while handling the vines. Then, when you're done, simply pull the "garbage bag sleeves" off from the very top, turning them inside out as you pull. Dispose of the bags in the trash very carefully. Be sure to wash all clothing with very hot water and the strongest soap possible. Same goes for your skin.
Vines that are climbing tree trunks can be cut (carefully, of course) with a sharp knife or pruners NEAR the ground. The cut ends can be "painted" with a glyphosate solution, which will get the chemical directly into the plant and on to its roots. The vines that have been cut can remain in the trees; they'll die eventually.
Spot spraying the foliage with a non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate (Round-Up, Kleen-Up) or a poison ivy killer on the market may be necessary. See our publication on poison ivy