Poison ivy to be making opponents as early as the 17th century. Upon discovering it in the new World, Captain man Smith noted in 1623, “The poysoned weed is much in shape choose our English Ivy, but being however touched, causeth rednesse, itching, and lastly blisters.”

The redness, itching, and also blisters space the main reasons that 400 years later on gardeners are still trying to eliminate the vine (touching the oily substance called urushiol top top the plant’s leaves and stems causeth more than 70 percent of united state to break out in a ache rash).

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But Toxicodendron radicans is not straightforward plant to kill. To eliminate poison ivy, you have to dig the end or kill its roots and its stems and also leaves. The last time ns tried this, I ended up through a prescription for prednisone and instructions native my physician to walk home and also sterilize mine Felco pruners.

There’s a much better way to kill poison ivy in your garden. Here’s how.

Leaves the Three, I dislike Thee

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Above: picture by Virens via Flickr.

The very first step to gaining rid of toxicity ivy is to determine it. This is tougher 보다 you might think. Yes, toxicity ivy has actually clusters of 3 leaves. Yes, the leaves room pointed and—if mature—have ridges follow me their edgeth, as man Smith can say.

But toxicity ivy also can look at a lot choose poison oak, or favor furry raspberry pipeline (which girlfriend don’t want to kill), and also is generally mistaken because that Virginia creeper (which has actually five-leaf clusters).

If you’re not sure if you have actually poison ivy, placed on a pair of hefty gloves and snip off a swarm of pipeline to examine closely. Photos abound ~ above the Internet. If you’re still no sure, take the pipeline to your regional nursery to get a hopeful ID.

Learn the Tricks

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Above: photograph by Sam Fraser-Smith via Flickr.

Poison ivy likes dappled sunlight but likewise lurks in shady spots. It will climb tree trunks, connect itself to a fence or wall, and run rampant in center climates follow me the east Seaboard.


In a wooded area, it will intertwine with other low-growing plants, such together ferns, which renders it harder to kill without hurting that neighbors. But don’t offer up.

Pick your Poison

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Above: picture by Bmerva via Wikimedia.

You have two options when it concerns killing poison ivy: a natural technique or a chemical poison. Both will certainly work, however chemicals might work faster. For much more on the pros and cons of a DIY herbal weed killer versus a chemical herbicide such as Roundup, see Landscaping 101: Homemade Weed Killer.

Natural Born Killers

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Above: Photograph by Justine Hand. Because that more, see Landscaping 101: The Pros and also Cons the Homemade Weed Killers.

If you want to avoid chemicals, you have actually a few choices:

Manual Labor: put on long sleeves and also pants, tape your pants and also shirt cuffs to avoid skin exposure, pull on a pair of heavy gloves, and dig out as much poison ivy as you can. The cheat is to acquire the roots, which method digging under a few inches—at the very least six—beneath roots and then getting to in to pull them out. This project is less complicated if the floor is soft; try it after ~ a merganser spell. It is in warned the you inevitably will certainly overlook a couple of little roots. Watch for new growth and pull it out as quickly as feasible to threaten the plant, or at the very least to shot to break its spirit.

Boiling Water: i am a large fan of pouring a kettle of boiling water top top weeds to kill them. This works finest if the tree you desire to kill is farming in a cracked in a route or next to the driveway or somewhere other than a garden bed full of preferable plants. Boil water will kill anything the touches. Caveat: once it involves poison ivy, the underground root will survive a dousing. ~ the boiled leaves and stems die back, brand-new growth will certainly emerge. As soon as you check out it, pour on more boiling water. Over time, the rate of brand-new growth will certainly slow.

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Above: photograph by Esculapio via Wikimedia.

Smothering: You have the right to cover a spot of toxicity ivy v a plastic tarp or large piece of cardboard to death it. Afterward, inspect the perimeter the the treated area for new growth; underground roots that were external the jurisdiction the the tarp might send increase shoots.

Potions: The key ingredients in DIY homemade weed killer room salt, vinegar, water, and also dish soap (which helps to transfer the spray farther). Justine investigated the pros and cons that homemade weed killers—some the which space not together “natural” as you can think—and supplies a considerable report at Gardening 101: Pros and also Cons of Homemade Weed Killers.

Chemical Warfare

The 2 most commonly used chemistry herbicides in the war versus poison ivy are Roundup and Brush-B-Gone, who respective active ingredients are glyphosate or triclopyr. These are chemicals i don’t use in my garden, however if I had actually a backyard overrun by toxicity ivy and little children tromping with it, I can want a speedy equipment to the problem. If friend spray chemistry herbicides on toxicity ivy, it will die fast. Just like other methods, clock for brand-new growth and spray again immediately.

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Above: picture by Katya Schulz via Flickr.

Dispose that the Body

After girlfriend cut, pull out, or dig up toxicity ivy, perform not put it in her compost pile. Perform not touch it with bare hands. Do not burn the (it deserve to release harmful, irritating fumes). Instead, bag it in plastic and also dispose of it as trash (unless girlfriend live in a municipality that supplies an alternative plan).

After you end up killing toxicity ivy, piece off your gardening clothes—gloves too—and placed them into the apparel washer top top a hot setting. Hose down or clean off her shoes or boots before wearing lock again (urushiol deserve to remain active on the surface of clothing and shoes because that as long as 5 years).

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Weed warriors, unite. For more suggestions, see:

Finally, get an ext ideas on exactly how to plant, grow, and care for various vines and climbers v our Vines & Climbers: A field Guide.