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Natural Ways to Kill a Poison Ivy Plant

By Darcy Logan ; Updated September 21, 2017
You can try to pull out poison ivy.
pulling weeds image by palms from Fotolia.com

"Leaves of three, let it be" is a great motto for dealing with poison ivy provided that the poison ivy has not invaded your home turf. Once it has, your first instinct may be to spray it with every form of herbicide that you can find. However, there are natural alternatives to try that are safer for the environment.

Cover your legs and arms with clothing before touching poison ivy, even if it is dead. It's best to wear clothing that you can dispose of after you are done, since it will be infected with poison ivy toxins--and washing will not always remove it.

Dispose of poison ivy that you've removed from your garden or yard by placing it into a plastic bag and sealing it. Do not attempt to burn it, as this will release toxic fumes into the air which can still cause the itching rash if it comes into contact with your skin.

Pull It Out

If the poison ivy is tall, cut it back to about 6 inches above the ground. Pull out the poison ivy as you would any other weed, by pulling out its roots. This method works best if the ground is wet. You need to remove all the roots. If you cannot pull it out, you can try digging it out by shoveling around it, making sure you don't cut the roots.

Smother It

Cut back the poison ivy so it is about 6 inches tall. Cover the stump with a smothering agent such as cardboard, newspaper, tarp, plastic or mulch. Wait until the poison ivy has died and then remove the remaining portion of the plant. Dispose of the remains--and the covering--as previously instructed.

Spray It

Spray poison ivy with a natural herbicide.
green spray bottle image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com

Make your own natural vegetation killer using salt, vinegar and liquid detergent. Combine 1 cup salt and 1 gallon of vinegar into a pan. Place the pan over medium heat until the salt is dissolved. Allow the vinegar-salt mixture to cool. Add eight drops of liquid detergent. Pour the mixture into a large spray bottle and pray the poison ivy liberally with the mixture. Take care not to spray other vegetation, since this mixture will kill it.

Borrow a Goat

Angora goats love poison ivy.
angora image by Danielle Bonardelle from Fotolia.com

Goats are known for their ability to eat anything, and poison ivy seems to be no exception. In fact, Spanish and Angora goats love poison ivy. Unfortunately, other breeds of goat do not. You may want to see if you can "borrow" a goat before purchasing one. Also, be sure to protect plants you don't want eaten, because, as stated earlier, goats will eat almost anything.


About the Author


Darcy Logan has been a full-time writer since 2004. Before writing, she worked for several years as an English and special education teacher. Logan published her first book, "The Secret of Success is Not a Secret," and several education workbooks under the name Darcy Andries. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in special education from Middle Tennessee State University.