How to Kill a Poison Ivy Vine

Overview

Poison ivy vines climb trees, hedges and fences and can even creep along the ground. The recognizable hairy vine and three-leafed stems all contain an oil called urushiol, which when it comes in contact with the skin causes an itchy rash. Eliminating the poison ivy vine usually requires both manual and chemical control methods.

Step 1

Prepare for poison ivy removal from May through July when the vine is flowering. Wear long pants, long sleeves, boots and plastic under your gloves for maximum protection against the irritating oil.

Step 2

Cut the vine at 6 inches above ground level with pruning shears. Be careful that no part of the vine falls onto your skin. Place the vine in a heavy-duty plastic bag and throw it away.

Step 3

Treat the stump of the vine with an herbicide containing glyphosate, triclopyr or amitrole. Follow the directions on the package carefully for application instructions. The herbicide may kill other plants as well if it comes in contact with them, so be careful not to spill it.

Step 4

Remove the stump from the earth after it dies. Dig it out with a trowel or spade and dispose of it in a heavy-duty trash bag. Even with the vine dead, the oil could cause a rash.

Step 5

Treat any poison ivy seedlings with herbicide. Apply the chemical directly to the leaves to help carry it to the roots, where it will kill the young plants more quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Long pants and sleeves
  • Boots
  • Gloves and plastic layer for hands
  • Pruning shears
  • Heavy-duty plastic bags
  • Trowel or shovel
  • Herbicide

References

  • Michigan State University Extension: Poison Ivy Control
  • Texas Department of Insurance Consumer Help: Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Fact Sheet
  • New York State Department of Transportation: Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
  • Missouri Department of Conservation: Poison Ivy
Keywords: controlling poison ivy, killing poison ivy, poison ivy herbicides

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.