The Q&A Archives: Getting rid of Poison Ivy

Question: I have some very hard poison ivy in my flower beds, what is the best way to get rid of it? I have never been allergic to it until this year. 3 doctors have told me they never saw anyone with it so bad. So, needless to say, I don't want to touch if I can help it. Is there an effective spray to use and then rake it up after it dies? (wearing gloves of course)

Answer: In a flower bed, the best control method would probably be to apply an herbicide containing glyphosate to the poison ivy. It may take repeated applications to achieve control.

This is a non selective herbicide so do not contact other plants with the spray. One method is to wipe on the herbicide rather than spray it. Or, shield other plants from the spray until it dries. Another approach is to cut the poison ivy back short then paint the cut ends with the herbicide. Be sure to read and carefully follow all of the label directions including waiting time while the chemical translocates from the foliage to the root where it kills.

Certainly protect yourself when you remove the stems and/or dead vine/foliage; keep in mind the plant oils will be on your tools and gloves so do not touch those, either. Some gardeners use a large plastic bag as a "glove" over each hand, grasp the material to be removed and then roll the bag down their arm to avoid contacting the plant. Dispose of it in the trash, never burn it.

Good luck with your project!

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