How do I control poison ivy?


How do I manage and kill poison ivy in my garden?


Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a native vine common to woodland areas but found frequently growing in gardens and along fence lines.  This vine causes an allergic reaction (dermatitis) in most people when their skin comes in contact with urushiol produced by the plant and present in all parts of the plant including leaves, stems, and roots on both living and dead plant material. 

poison ivy
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

Control of this weedy vine requires special consideration.  When working around this plant, gardeners should wear long sleeves and pants with waterproof gloves to protect the skin from the urushiol oil.  Only those plants that are very small should be dug or pulled.  For larger established vines, utilize the cut stump herbicide treatment to control this weed. Leave vines in place to die and decay naturally in the garden as pruning, pulling, or otherwise trying to physically remove the vines, either alive or dead, can spread the urushiol oil, potentially getting it on the skin and causing irritation and rashes. 

The best control for poison ivy is to monitor frequently and remove plants promptly when they are found to avoid vines from becoming large and more difficult to control.

More detailed information about controlling poison ivy can be found in this article: How to Control Poison Ivy

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024