The Q&A Archives: Removing Poison Oak

Question: What is the safest and easiest way to remove/kill poison oak?

Answer: To kill poison ivy or poison oak you can either hand-pull it (wearing adequate protective gear) or very carefully use an herbicide such as glyphosate according to the label instructions. (Glyphosate is an indiscriminate herbicide and will damage all green plants, not just the poison oak, so read the instructions and be careful if you are working around desirable plants. Use the appropriate formulation listed for poison oak--sometimes it is called "brush killer" or similar strength.) You can also "smother" poison oak by cutting it off close to the ground and then covering the area with several layers of newspaper or cardboard followed by a thick layer of mulch. Any one of these approaches may need to be repeated at least once.

Unfortunately, poison oak is one persistent plant. If you rip out poison oak, never burn the debris because the smoke will carry the irritant.

I hope this information helps!

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