Sprays to Kill Poison Ivy

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Poison ivy (Toxicodendron spp.) can quickly invade lawns and gardens, making it difficult for gardeners to eliminate. Although cutting back the vines can help diminish the problem, herbicide sprays are an effective elimination method.

Tip

  • If your skin makes contact with poison ivy while spraying, wash with soap and water or rubbing alcohol immediately. It can prevent an allergic reaction in some individuals.

Warning

    • Protect yourself from poison ivy and herbicide risks by wearing clothing that fully covers you, such as a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, boots and pants. 
    • Store herbicides away from pets and children.
    • If you get herbicide in your eyes, rinse them with cool water for 20
      minutes. In case you ingest herbicide, call a poison control center immediately.
    • Wash all clothes and tools that came in contact with poison ivy
      immediately after spraying. Urushiol, the oil in poison ivy leaves, canremain an active allergen for months.

Timing

In order for an herbicide spray to eliminate poison ivy, you have to use it at the right time. For the best control, use triclopyr spray just after leaves have emerged in spring or early fall before the leaves change. Use glyphosate two weeks before and two weeks after poison ivy blooms in early summer. Always apply poison ivy sprays when the weather is warm and sunny with minimal wind and no chance of rain.

Glyphosate Herbicide Spray

Glyphosate herbicide spray is commonly used to kill poison ivy. A systemic herbicide that kills the poison ivy by moving throughout its stems, leaves and roots, it is most effective if used when the plant is flowering or fruiting. If you apply it at an earlier growth stage, it will not be as effective. Apply glyphosate using a coarse spray rather than a mist application setting to prevent it from drifting and harming desirable plants. Glyphosate must often be applied multiple times as poison ivy is likely to return. One benefit of glyphosate is that it is safe to use on mature tree bark.

Warning

  • Never apply glyphosate to desirable plants.

If you need to apply glyphosate near desirable plants, protect them by fully covering them in plastic while you apply the herbicide. Weight down the edges of the plastic if possible with stones or other heavy objects to keep it in place.

Triclopyr Herbicide

Triclopyr is another spray herbicide that is effective against poison ivy. Similarly to glyphosate, use it when leaves are growing for best results. Triclopyr should also be used on a coarse setting to prevent drift. It is often used as an effective method of preventing recurring growth of poison ivy on tree stumps. If there is a poison ivy vine on a tree, cut it back to soil level and apply the product according to instructions. Reapplication is typically needed.

Herbicide Application Steps

Spray Method

Tip

    • For easiest application, choose a ready-to-use herbicide product in a spray bottle.
    • If you need to spray poison ivy near desirable plants, lay a sheet of plastic over them for protection.
    • All spray herbicides are different.  Read all instructions carefully.

Things You'll Need

  • Ready-to-use spray herbicide (glyphosate or triclopyr)
  • Garden hose

Step 1

Shake the product to thoroughly mix it.

Step 2

Connect the sprayer to your garden hose and extend the hose so it reaches the area where you will spray.

Step 3

Aim the spray bottle of herbicide at the poison ivy from a distance of 12 inches.

Step 4

Turn the nozzle to the on position and spray the poison ivy leaves thoroughly and evenly until they are completely wet, but avoid dripping on desirable plants.

Step 5

Turn the sprayer to the off position. Repeat the application if regrowth occurs.

Warning

  • Triclopyr can damage desirable plants and unlike glyphosate, it can also severely damage trees. Avoid contact with desirable plants and trees.

Painting Method

To avoid damaging desirable nearby plants, cut your poison ivy back to the ground and dip a paintbrush into the pre-mixed herbicide. Cover each leaf with a small amount of herbicide. This is an effective method to use regularly if you want to stop reoccurring growth before it becomes a problem.

References

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