What Kills Poison Ivy Permanently?

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Poison ivy, scientifically known as Toxicodendron radicans, is a common plant that can cause allergic reactions in humans. The plant contains a toxic oil called urushiol, which is responsible for the irritating rash and blisters that appear after contact with the plant. Due to its ability to spread quickly and cause discomfort, many people seek effective methods to eradicate poison ivy permanently. In this article, we will explore several methods that can help kill poison ivy for good.

1. Chemical Herbicides

Chemical herbicides are one of the most common methods used to kill poison ivy permanently. These herbicides contain potent chemicals, such as glyphosate or triclopyr, that effectively kill the plant. Glyphosate-based herbicides are non-selective, meaning they can harm other plants as well. On the other hand, triclopyr-based herbicides are selective and primarily target broadleaf plants like poison ivy.

When using chemical herbicides, it is essential to follow the instructions on the label carefully. Applying the herbicide during the plant’s active growth period, typically in late spring or early summer, can yield better results. It is also important to avoid spraying on windy days to prevent the herbicide from drifting onto desirable plants.

2. Manual Removal

Manual removal is another effective method to kill poison ivy permanently, especially for small infestations or isolated plants. However, caution must be exercised to avoid direct contact with the plant. When manually removing poison ivy, it is best to wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, gloves, and closed-toe shoes.

To remove poison ivy manually:

  • Dig around the plant, ensuring to remove the entire root system.
  • Place the plant in a garbage bag and seal it tightly.
  • Dispose of the bag in the trash or in a designated area away from human contact.
  • Thoroughly clean all tools and clothing used during the removal process.

3. Smothering

Smothering is a natural method to kill poison ivy permanently without the use of chemicals. This method involves covering the plant with a barrier, such as a tarp or heavy-duty plastic, to prevent sunlight and airflow from reaching the plant. Without these essential resources, the plant eventually dies.

To smother poison ivy:

  • Cut back the plant to the ground level.
  • Cover the area with a tarp or heavy-duty plastic.
  • Secure the edges of the covering with rocks or other heavy objects.
  • Leave the covering in place for at least a year to ensure complete eradication.

4. Professional Removal

In cases where the poison ivy infestation is extensive or difficult to access, hiring a professional removal service may be the best option. Professional removal services have the expertise and equipment to safely and effectively remove poison ivy from various landscapes.

When choosing a professional removal service, it is important to select a reputable company with experience in dealing with poison ivy. Additionally, inquire about their methods of disposal to ensure they follow proper protocols for preventing further spread of the plant.


To kill poison ivy permanently, several methods can be employed, including chemical herbicides, manual removal, smothering, and professional removal services. Chemical herbicides are effective but should be used with caution and according to the label instructions. Manual removal is suitable for small infestations, while smothering is a natural method that deprives the plant of sunlight and airflow. In cases of extensive infestation or difficult access, professional removal services can offer a reliable solution. Whichever method is chosen, it is crucial to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to prevent direct contact with poison ivy.

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