How to Dispose of Poison Sumac


Poison sumac is a perennial plant that prefers wet soil. It often grows near rivers or shorelines. The poison sumac plant will look like a bush or a small tree, but you can recognize it by its number of oval-shaped leaves. Each stem contains between seven and 13 leaves. Poison sumac contains urushiol, which causes human skin to break out in a rash. If you find a poison sumac plant on your property, you will want to dispose of it correctly.

Step 1

Kill the poison sumac by spraying its leaves with an herbicide that contains the ingredient glyphosate. Follow the directions on the label, and do not let the herbicide come in contact with nonhazardous plants.

Step 2

Dig up the roots of the poison sumac plant with a shovel.

Step 3

Place the roots in a trash bag and tie it shut. Throw the trash bag out with your regular trash. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that you check with your local municipality first on how it prefers that you throw away the poison sumac. You may need to chop up the roots into small pieces, or use special trash bags.

Step 4

Wash your shovel when you have finished, using a detergent that specifies it is good for removing grease. The poisonous oil could be on the shovel, so washing it will prevent you from accidentally touching it later on and getting a rash.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never try to dispose of your poison sumac plant by burning it. That will release the urushiol into the air.

Things You'll Need

  • Herbicide containing glyphosate
  • Long clothing
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Shovel
  • Garbage bag
  • Detergent


  • U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine: Poison Sumac
  • Texas Department of Insurance: Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac FactSheet
  • FDA: Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Its Cousins
Keywords: poison sumac, disposing of sumac, get rid of poison sumac

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.