The Q&A Archives: How to kill poison ivy

Question: Hi, I can't find this on your Q&A. The woods at the edge of my yard are filled with poison ivy. I'd like to kill the poison ivy just along the edge of the woods so that if my kids need to reach in to get a ball, they won't get covered with it. Is there something I can spray to kill the stuff - it's a very long strip. Preferably something that won't kill the other plants or be harmful to dogs or kids. Any suggestions?
Liz Mason

Answer: Poison ivy can be difficult to control, but if you keep at it, you'll eventually win the battle. Timing is important when trying to eradicate an extensive and well established stand of poison ivy. An herbicide containing glyphosate formulated for brush and applied (and possibly reapplied) according to the label instructions should do the job. Note that a late summer, early fall application (while the roots are rebuilding reserves) can be more effective than a spring applications. Since you have other plants you'd like to save, your best approach is probably cutting the vines down to ground level and carefully painting the stubs with glyphosate. this way you'll target the poison ivy but not the other plants. While cutting and dabbing with brush killer will help, there are probably seeds buried in the soil, as well. You might try laying weed barrier or even thick layers of newspaper or cardboard over the area to keep seeds from germinating. If you use weed barrier you can cover the entire area and then cut holes in it to plant your shrubs and perennials. And, whenever you see a new shoot of poison ivy emerge, cut it down to ground level. As long as you persist in cutting it down, the roots will eventually run out of stored energy and they will die off. Best wishes with your landscape!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "sunset on summer"