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Sprays That Will Kill Poison Ivy, But Not Grass

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Poison ivy is an invasive plant that can be controlled with several types of herbicides. Many herbicides efficiently eliminate poison ivy, but most of them also pose a threat to nearby plants and grass. If grass preservation is a concern, a handful of commercial herbicides effectively kill poison ivy, as well as other types of broadleaf weeds, but do not have an adverse effect on grass.


Brush-B-Gon is an herbicide that kills poison ivy but does not endanger nearby grass. This herbicide works best when applied in the spring or summer during the plant's active growing period. The leaves and stems of the plant should be thoroughly coated with the herbicide. The plant will then absorb the product and transfer it to the roots, which effectively kills the entire plant. It is best to apply Brush-B-Gon when there is no threat of rain, as rainfall will reduce the efficiency of the herbicide. This herbicide acts quickly and the plant begins to wilt within a few days and eventually dies. Brush-B-Gon typically works well with the first application, but occasionally, a second application may be required. While Brush-B-Gon does not threaten grass, it can be harmful to nearby plants and shrubs. When applying, particularly if a sprayer is being used, be aware of wind, which can transfer the herbicide onto adjacent foliage. Brush-B-Gon is also effective in eliminating poison oak.


Garlon effectively eliminates many types of broadleaf weeds, including poison ivy. This herbicide works best if applied to the plant's foliage during its active growth period. Garlon, a fast-acting herbicide, translocates to all parts of the plant, including shoots and roots. Within a few days, the poison ivy will wilt and die. Garlon is safe for grass, but it can pose a threat to nearby flowers and plants, so apply it cautiously to protect other foliage, especially when applying with a sprayer. If you want to preserve nearby plants, avoid spraying during period of high wind. Within two hours of application, Garlon will be able to withstand rain on the plant. For six months after application, you should not plant trees in any soil that was exposed to Garlon, according to Michigan State University. Garlon is also effective in the management of poison oak and salt cedar.


Crossbow is a unique herbicide in that it contains two active ingredients, 2,4-D and triclopyr. Each ingredient is effective on its own, but when combined, they work particularly well to kill poison ivy. Once the plant's leaves are thoroughly coated with Crossbow, it will be absorbed to every part of the plant, including the roots. Wilting and death occur within a few days. As with most herbicides, care should be taken when applying this product. It does not harm grass, but if transferred by the wind or through the soil, it does pose a threat to nearby desirable plants, according to West Virginia University. This product will also kill many other types of unwanted trees and plants, including poison oak, mulberry, sumac and thistle, as well as annual and perennial weeds.

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