How Can I Kill Poison Ivy in My Yard?


Poison ivy (Rhus radicans) is known by many other names including climbing sumac and poison oak. Before killing what you think may be poison ivy in your yard, you should first be sure it is in fact what you think it is. Poison ivy has three leaflets protruding from the stem. The leaflets are almost always smooth, but they can be either glossy or dull and the edges are either smooth or rigid. On just one poison ivy plant, the leaves may all be similar or they may vary. Fortunately, once you identify your plant as poison ivy, there are several ways to kill it.

Step 1

Pull out the poison ivy when the soil is wet, such as the day after it rains. Wear gloves, old clothes and goggles. Grab the ivy near the base and pull up the roots slowly to get them all before it breaks. If you are sensitive to poison ivy this may not be a good option for you.

Step 2

Cut the plant down with garden clippers. Then, repeat as it grows. This will eventually starve the ivy since it will be unable to photosynthesize sunlight into energy. Again, wear protective gear and if you are sensitive to poison ivy, this may not be the best method for you.

Step 3

Apply an herbicide that is labeled strong enough to kill poison ivy. There are many herbicides with different potencies and ingredients. Roundup, Amitrol and Weed B Gone are just a few examples of companies that make an herbicide good for poison ivy. To apply the herbicide, legally and for your safety, you must follow the directions on the label.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear gloves, old clothes and goggles when handling poison ivy. If you are allergic to poison ivy, get a professional to do the job for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Old clothes
  • Goggles
  • Clippers
  • Herbicide


  • Michigan State University Extension: Poison Ivy Control
Keywords: poison ivy yard, kill poison ivy, identify poison ivy

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.