Poison ivy

Asked April 21, 2020, 5:37 PM EDT

A poison ivy plant is growing at one side of my house. How can I kill it without using anything toxic to the environment, e.g. pesticides? Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

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 more on our web page https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/poison-ivy

Marian