How to Kill Poison Sumac Trees


A poison sumac tree growing on your property is often cause for great alarm and concern. The poisonous oils contained in these shrubs or trees are powerful enough to cause severe reactions in many people. Every part of poison sumac is poisonous, and the irritating oils can live on tools, gloves and even dead plants for years. An effective way to kill a poison sumac tree is to use a brush killer that will seep into the soil and kill the roots of the plant.

Step 1

Put on protective clothing before you begin working with the poison sumac tree and the brush killer chemical. This includes long pants, longs sleeves, boots and gloves.

Step 2

Choose a warm, sunny day---spring is the most effective time for killing a poison sumac tree.

Step 3

Spray or pour the brush killer directly around the soil of the sumac tree to allow the brush killer to soak into the soil.

Step 4

Allow six weeks for the brush killer to have obvious effects on the poison sumac tree. You should notice the tree suffering and withering after several weeks elapse, and the tree should be completely dead six weeks after you begin treatment.

Step 5

Remove the tree from the soil after it dies. Dig the tree up if the tree is small enough. If it is too large to dig up, attach a chain to the trunk and pull the tree from the soil with a truck. Dispose of every piece of the tree in the lawn and leaf disposal bag.

Step 6

Clean all clothing and tools with the urushiol cleanser. This cleanser will remove the poisonous oil from objects you use while removing these plants. Saturate a rag with the cleanser and wipe down all tools you used (drill, drill bit, handsaw and chain, for example). Wash the tools in regular hand soap and water to rinse away the cleanser. Place your clothing into a large bucket and add the cleanser and water. Soak your clothing for 10 minutes, rinse and then launder the clothing using hot water and detergent.

Tips and Warnings

  • Follow all directions on the brush killer label carefully. Do not burn the remains of a poison sumac tree. The oils will become airborne and could be very dangerous.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Brush killer (ready-mixed formula)
  • Handsaw
  • Drill (with 1/2-inch bit)
  • Shovel
  • Lawn and leaf disposal bag
  • Chain
  • Urushiol cleanser
  • Bucket
  • Anti-bacterial soap


  • Bayer Advanced: How-to Video
  • Bayer Advanced: Poison Sumac
  • USDA Plant Profile: Poison Sumac

Who Can Help

  • Bayer Advanced: Brush Killer Label
  • Tec Labs: Urushiol Cleanser
Keywords: poison sumac tree, kill a poison sumac, kill a poison tree

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.