The Q&A Archives: Poison Ivy Around Trees

Question: How can we get rid of Poison Ivy? It is wrapped around trees that are next to our house.

Answer: There are two approaches to getting rid of poison ivy int his cse. One is to cut the vines near the ground and then treat the base of the vine with a weed killer containing glyphosate being careful to purchase it in a concentration listed specifically for poison ivy and to follow the label instructions very carefully. (This is a contact herbicide and will kill desirable plants as well as the weed.) The other approach is to cut it off at the base and attempt to smother it over time by covering it with cardboard topped by a deep layer of mulch to exclude light. Recutting it whenever it sprouts and recovering it repeatedly wille ventually exhaust the roots. Keep in mind that the vine will cause a reaction in sensitive individuals even after it is cut and during the winter when it is bare of leaves. Also, do not burn the trimmings -- the smoke will carry the poison with it and it can be inhaled and spread as a result.

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