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How to Kill Poison Sumac

By Diana Reid ; Updated September 21, 2017
Sumas is poisonous and can cause allergic reactions in humans.
Sumac image by Valeriy82 from Fotolia.com

Getting a rash on your skin from poison sumac can be itchy and painful. If your garden has poison sumac growing in it, carefully remove the plants before it begins to spread. Poison sumac contains an oil called urushiol, which can cause allergic reactions that can lead to a rash or blisters. The best way to get rid of poison sumac is to kill it and carefully remove it from the area.

Wear protective gloves when handling poison sumac plants. Gloves that fully cover the arms offer the best protection.

Cover the area with newspaper or a tarp. Make sure there are no open areas where sunlight can get through.

Dig up the surrounding area of the plant and make sure to get rid of the bottom of the roots. Leave no parts of the plant behind.

Put the plant and its roots into a sealed bag. Seal the bag and dispose of it in the trash.


Things You Will Need

  • Protective gloves
  • Shovel
  • Sealed bag


  • Covering the affected areas with a tarp will kill the plant, as it won't be able to get the nutrients it needs from the sun. It will take some time for the plants to die, which will be signified by the curled and shriveled leaves.


  • Do not burn the plant to kill it. This will release the urushiol oil into the air where it can still attach to skin and cause a reaction.

About the Author


Diana Reid has been a freelance writer for more than five years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from The Ohio State University and education in public health. She has been published in KidVisions, MicroHorror, "The Kids Ark Magazine," NACS, "Family Business Magazine" and has written hundreds of health articles for InventorSpot.com.