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How to Kill Poison Ivy With a Copper Nail

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

According to the Cooperative Extension System, driving a couple of copper nails through the bark of a tree can stop its growth and kill it. This concept can be tried on a poison ivy plant as well. However, keep an eye on your poison ivy. If it continues to grow and thrive, you may need to kill it another way, such as by spraying it with a nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate.

Put on protective clothing. Wear goggles, gloves, long pants tucked into your socks, shoes and a long-sleeve shirt. These items should be washable.

Cut down the poison ivy within an inch or two of the ground with a pair of hand clippers. For thicker stems you may need lopping shears or a hand saw. Discard in thick, plastic bags. Do not compost or burn. This step is optional but will get it out of your landscape and kill it quicker.

Hammer copper nails in the thickest pieces of wood at the bottom of the plant. Drive a couple nails into the ground near the base of the plant as well.

Wash your clothes and shoes separately in your washing machine. According to Minnesota Poison Control System, launder them twice as normal before wearing again. Clean your tools also with rubbing alcohol.


Things You Will Need

  • Copper nails
  • Hammer
  • Protective clothing
  • Hand garden clippers
  • Herbicide

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.