Poison Ivy Control

Introduction
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a woody perennial shrub or vine that spreads by underground runners and by seeds. It grows in all types of sod and under all conditions of sun and shade.

Control
Poison ivy is best controlled with a brush killer herbicide. Apply it directly to leaves. When used according to directions, this herbicide should not injure established grasses, only broad-leafed plants.

Apply the herbicide when poison ivy is growing actively. Temperatures should be 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid windy days when droplets might drift onto the foliage of nearby trees.

You may have to spray more than once since poison ivy is a tough plant to kill. Wait two weeks or more between applications and repeat only if weather permits. Don’t apply herbicide after poison ivy foliage begins to show fall color.

Some resprouting might occur several months later. Watch the area for at least a year and repeat the treatment as needed.

Cautions

  • Follow the label directions.
  • Be very careful cutting down poison ivy; all parts of the plant are poisonous.
  • Even the dead plants are poisonous.
  • Never burn them! Smoke and ash can carry toxins to the skin causing a rash. Inhaling the smoke can be worse.

Identification
Each leaflet is oval-shaped, pointed at the tip, and tapered at the base. The middle leaflet has a longer leaf stem than the two-sided ones. Leaflets may be slightly lobed or coarsely toothed. The leaves’ surfaces may be smooth or hairy, glossy or dull. They can vary in color from yellowish-green and green to reddish-green. Poison ivy fruits, which develop in fall, are small white berries with sunken ribs.

For more information, contact your local county Extension office.