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

The redness, itching, and also blisters room the main reasons the 400 years later on gardeners are still trying to get rid of the vine (touching the oily substance referred to as urushiol ~ above the plant’s leaves and stems causeth an ext than 70 percent of us to an episode in a pains rash).

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But Toxicodendron radicans is not basic plant to kill. To remove poison ivy, you need to dig out or death its roots and its stems and also leaves. The last time ns tried this, I ended up with a prescription for prednisone and instructions native my physician to go home and sterilize mine Felco pruners.

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

Leaves that Three, I hate Thee

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Above: photo by Virens via Flickr.

The first step to acquiring rid of poison ivy is to recognize it. This is tougher than you can think. Yes, toxicity ivy has clusters of 3 leaves. Yes, the leaves are pointed and—if mature—have ridges along their edgeth, as man Smith could say.

But poison ivy likewise can look a lot choose poison oak, or choose furry raspberry pipeline (which friend don’t want to kill), and is commonly 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 heavy gloves and snip turn off a cluster of leaves to research closely. Picture abound top top the Internet. If you’re still no sure, take it the leaves to your regional nursery to get a hopeful ID.

Learn that 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 certainly climb tree trunks, attach itself come a fence or wall, and also run rampant in center climates follow me the eastern Seaboard.


In a wooded area, it will intertwine with other low-growing plants, such together ferns, which provides it more difficult to kill without hurting that neighbors. Yet don’t provide up.

Pick her Poison

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Above: photo by Bmerva via Wikimedia.

You have two selections when it concerns killing toxicity ivy: a natural method or a chemical poison. Both will work, however chemicals might work faster. For an ext on the pros and also cons of a DIY organic weed killer versus a chemistry herbicide such as Roundup, watch Landscaping 101: Homemade Weed Killer.

Natural Born Killers

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Above: Photograph by Justine Hand. Because that more, check out Landscaping 101: The Pros and Cons of Homemade Weed Killers.

If you want to stop chemicals, you have actually a couple of choices:

Manual Labor: placed on long sleeves and pants, tape her pants and also shirt cuffs to prevent skin exposure, pull on a pair of hefty gloves, and dig the end as much poison ivy as you can. The cheat is to gain the roots, which means digging under a few inches—at the very least six—beneath roots and then getting to in to traction them out. This project is easier if the ground is soft; shot it after ~ a merganser spell. Be warned the you inevitably will certainly overlook a few little roots. Clock for brand-new growth and pull it the end as soon as feasible to threaten the plant, or at the very least to shot to rest its spirit.

Boiling Water: i am a large fan of pouring a kettle of boil water ~ above weeds to death them. This works finest if the plant you want to death is growing in a cracked in a course or beside the driveway or somewhere various other than a garden bed complete of preferable plants. Cook water will certainly kill anything it touches. Caveat: once it pertains to poison ivy, the underground roots will endure a dousing. After the boiled leaves and also stems die back, brand-new growth will emerge. As quickly as you watch it, to water on an ext boiling water. Over time, the price of new growth will slow.

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Above: picture by Esculapio via Wikimedia.

Smothering: You can cover a job of toxicity ivy v a plastic tarp or huge piece of cardboard to death it. Afterward, examine the perimeter the the treated area for brand-new growth; underground roots that were exterior the jurisdiction that the tarp might send up shoots.

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

Chemical Warfare

The 2 most commonly used chemical herbicides in the war versus poison ivy space Roundup and also Brush-B-Gone, who respective active ingredients are glyphosate or triclopyr. These are chemicals i don’t usage in mine garden, yet if I had a backyard overrun by poison ivy and little children tromping v it, I can want a speedy equipment to the problem. If girlfriend spray chemistry herbicides on toxicity ivy, it will certainly die fast. As with other methods, clock for new growth and spray again immediately.

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Above: photo by Katya Schulz via Flickr.

Dispose the the Body

After you cut, traction out, or destruction up poison ivy, perform not put it in your compost pile. Carry out not touch it with bare hands. Do not burn it (it can release harmful, irritating fumes). Instead, bag the in plastic and also dispose that it together trash (unless friend live in a municipality that uses an alternate plan).

After you finish killing toxicity ivy, piece off your gardening clothes—gloves too—and placed them right into the garments washer ~ above a hot setting. Hose down or clean off your shoes or boots before wearing lock again (urushiol have the right to remain active on the surface of clothing and also shoes because that as long as five years).

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Weed warriors, unite. For much more suggestions, see:

Finally, get much more ideas on just how to plant, grow, and also care for miscellaneous vines and also climbers with our Vines & Climbers: A ar Guide.