How to Get Rid of Poison Oak Plants


If you have poison oak anywhere on your property, that area becomes a restricted site. Poison oak can cause a bothersome, painful rash once you have had contact with it. Any part of the poison oak plant, leaves, stems or trunk can transfer its poison to you or your pet. Killing and removing the poison oak plant is the best method of managing the problem.

Completely Removing Poison Oak

Step 1

Put on protective clothing. Wear good, heavy gloves and protect your skin from contacting any part of a poison oak plant.

Step 2

Dig out the poison oak plant and entire root system, using a shovel. This is the most effective and permanent method for complete removal.

Step 3

Place the dug-up poison oak plants into a trash bag to dispose of them. Do not burn the dug-up plant as the smoke can be harmful. Also, do not place the poison oak plants into your compost pile. Disposing of the poison oak by placing it into a trash bag and putting the bag in your garbage collection is the safe method.

Using Herbicides

Step 1

Spray a herbicide that contains either glyphosate (Round-up) or triclopyr (Bush-B-Gone) on the leaves. The herbicide works best if it is applied at full strength, though a slight dilution can be used. The leaves should be saturated with the herbicide.

Step 2

Cut the trunk of larger poison oak plants, using pruners or a saw, and immediately apply herbicide that contains glyphosate (Round-up) or triclopyr (Bush-B-Gone) on the fresh-cut stump with a wide paintbrush. Any delay in administering the herbicide onto the stump will result in less-than-satisfactory results in killing the poison oak because the new cut will begin healing itself and close the open pores.

Step 3

Repeat the spraying of herbicides on new growth or new poison oak plants. It may take up to a year before you completely eradicate poison oak from your property.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Trash bags
  • Herbicide containing glyphosate (Round-up) or triclopyr (Bush-B-Gone)
  • Pruners or saw
  • Wide paintbrush


  • Poison Oak Facts
  • Poison Oak
Keywords: killing poison oak, removing poison oak, poison oak removal

About this Author

At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and web content for several well known marketeers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and A Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.