Home Remedies for Killing Poison Ivy

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is a weed commonly found in North America. The leaves of this plant include three hairy leaflets with four to seven lobes. This climbing vine or shrub also has white berries growing along its stalk. Identifying and removing poison ivy from your home garden is very important because it causes a blistery rash when touched. Once identified, you can eradicate it from your property with one of the few home remedies that are also environmentally safe.

Boiling Water

Wear gloves and trim climbing poison ivy plants down to up to 5 or 6 inches with a sharp pair of handheld shears. Bring water to boil in a pot or kettle with a long spout. Wear oven mitts and carry the pot or kettle outside to the site. Carefully tilt the pot and pour boiling water around the base of the poison ivy plant. If you use a kettle, direct the flow of water around the base. Make sure the water does not reach nearby vegetation it could kill. The boiling water burns the base of the plant and the roots after penetrating the soil, causing it to wither within two days. Repeat the application if necessary. Dig the roots with a shovel, and dispose of the plant in a garbage bag.

Heavyweight Plastic

Cut the plant down to size, leaving only the main stems and roots. Spread heavyweight plastic through which sunlight does not penetrate over a ground vine to smother and kill it. Weight the plastic down with rocks or stones around the edges so it remains in place. Poison ivy plants need air, water and sunshine to survive, and covering them with plastic prevents access to any of these elements, causing them to die in three weeks to a month. Wear gloves when pulling the dead poison ivy plant material out from the soil.

Hand Pulling

Although not usually recommended because the slightest contact causes an allergic reaction, some homeowners opt for this method of killing a poison ivy plant. Take necessary precaution by wearing long gloves and long-sleeved shirts, pants and closed shoes. Use a shovel and dig the soil around the plant until you reach the roots. Insert the shovel under the roots and push hard to release the plant from the soil. You can also chop up the roots into smaller sections and pull them out, but make sure you do not leave any part behind. Stuff the plant along with its roots in a plastic garbage bag, knot the bag and discard it appropriately.

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