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The 2017 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Getting Rid of Poison Ivy

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This is the time of year when just about everything grows. That includes poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and other undesirables. Poison ivy is particularly annoying and difficult to remove from your property. Nearly 85% of the population is allergic to these plants — the reaction varies. In some cases highly sensitive people get a reaction by standing near the plant (a breeze carries it), while others can roll around and be perfectly content. It just isn’t fair!

Here are some non-chemical methods you might try to remove poison ivy from your property:

– Remove the entire plant — leaves, stems and root. You have to be sure to get it all. And, wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and thick gloves – plastic or heavy cotton. Be sure to wash all clothing afterward.

– Put the entire plant in a plastic bag and dispose of it.

– Make a mixture of 1 cup of salt, 1 gallon of vinegar and about 8 drops of dish detergent. Combine the salt and vinegar in a pan and heat to dissolve the salt. Allow it to cool, then add the liquid detergent and put the mixture in a spray bottle. You can spray the poison ivy or pour on the plant. This will kill all vegetation, so be sure to get it on the poison ivy.

– I am told that pouring bleach on the plant will have the same effect.

– If you happen to have a goat or cow handy, they just love to eat it without any side effects.

– Another technique is to clear the area of poison ivy by planting grass seed. Ivy will not grow were there is a lawn. I tried this at my cottage and it worked. The only downside is that it takes time, but, once you have grass, you won’t have poison ivy.

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1 Sharon { 09.12.16 at 11:59 am }

We have lots of poison ivy in the wooded areas around our house. I find it growing in our front lawn all the time and it is very well kept so I have to disagree with the notion that it doesn’t grown in grass.
When i dig it up I use a plastic bag that newspapers come in to put over my gloved hand so as I dig I can also pull. You can then just pull the bag right off over the poison ivy and tie it closed without coming in contact with it.

2 mike h { 06.23.16 at 11:59 am }

Is any particular kind of salt, vinegar, or detergent required? I see they sell horticultural vinegar for $35 a gallon. I figure walmart vinegar, salt, and detergent are worth a try…

3 Mackenzie { 06.01.16 at 8:46 am }

Funny because I have a few random poison ivy shoots up in the middle of my grass! Going to try the vinegar mixture as all I have to do is look at the PI and I get a reaction.

4 article { 04.20.16 at 5:17 am }

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5 Dorthy Koong { 11.22.14 at 7:12 pm }

It’s hard to find well-informed people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks|

6 Jeff heinz { 07.05.16 at 12:45 pm }

Cut the stalk and fold paper towel and lay on cut. Pour concentrated poisson ivey killer on towel. Cover with sandwich bay and wrap rubber band to hold bag closed. Check in a few days and reapply killer as needed. Next season, no ivey. DO NOT CUT AND NOT FOLLOW WITH TREATMENT. This will kill all roots.

7 Lynn { 05.28.14 at 11:14 pm }

I have some well established poison ivy plants growing up some pine trees. They have giant root things on them. How do I get rid of that? I have 2 trees like this. The vines growing up the tree are about 6 to 8″ in diameter.

8 Jaime McLeod { 08.06.13 at 8:33 am }

Hi Mary Jo,
It’s probably best to just continually pull up the poison ivy if you want to be sure to keep your other plants safe.

Wear heavy duty gloves, keep your forearms and legs covered, and change clothes immediately.

9 Mary Jo Anzel { 08.02.13 at 7:02 pm }

My poison ivy is in between / and wrapped around several small bushes i.e. hydrangeas and spirea. Will this treatment hurt the these shrubs?

Thank you

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