Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

The Best Way to Kill Poison Ivy

By G.K. Bayne ; Updated September 21, 2017
The three leaves of poison ivy
poison ivy, autumn image by Carbonbrain from Fotolia.com

Poison ivy, also known as poison creeper, three-leaved poison and other names, grows natively along fencerows, roadsides and other areas that are not well cultivated. For those allergic to the plant, an encounter can leave them with a simple itch or a life-threatening situation, depending on exposure. Poison ivy grows in all areas of the United States and is difficult to eradicate once established.

Choose a hot, sunny day to spray the poison ivy with chemicals. Wear clothing that completely covers your body, i.e., long sleeves, pants, socks and shoes.

Mix the brush-control herbicide in the sprayer according to label instructions. When choosing an herbicide, read the label to ensure that it is effective against poison ivy.

Set the nozzle of the spray to a wide spray angle. Pump the sprayer.

Spray each leaf of the poison ivy plant. The chemicals in the herbicide will be absorbed by the leaves and carried throughout the plant.

Repeat the application of the herbicide as needed to kill any new poison ivy that may appear.


Things You Will Need

  • Full-body covering
  • Chemical sprayer
  • Brush control herbicide


  • Attempts at pulling up poison ivy plants are generally fruitless, as even a small portion of rhizome may remain in the ground to produce new plants.
  • Using a string trimmer or lawnmower to cut back poison ivy can release the plants' oil on the user and the tool.
  • Poison ivy should never be burned, as this releases the oils into the air, where they can be ingested and cause severe health problems.