If you find poison ivy growing in your yard, you will want to get rid of it right away. Poison ivy can give people an itchy rash, and it can be horrible for people who have allergies to it. So, you want to kill it but without killing the other plants in their yard.
The best way to kill poison ivy without killing other plants is to dig it up. You need to go down around three inches into the ground to find the roots, and then pull the plant out of the ground. Ensure that you wear gloves, keep your body protected, and pull out the entire plant from the roots. The poison ivy won’t be able to grow back if you get it out this way.
When you find poison ivy in your yard, you will want to get rid of it without killing the plants around it. Continue reading to learn how to do this and how to protect yourself in the process.
What Does Poison Ivy Look Like?
Before you learn how to kill poison ivy, you need to be able to identify it.
Poison ivy looks similar to other plants, and sometimes people don’t notice it until they get a rash. It grows on a vine with clusters of three leaves. It is usually near the ground, but it can grow on trees or walls or grow across the ground.
The leaves can be dull or shiny, and they can have smooth edges or be pinched. Its color changes during different seasons. In the spring, the poison ivy leaves are green with reddish spots, and it turns green in the summer. In the fall and winter, it can turn orange or yellow.
As you can tell, identifying poison ivy can be difficult because of the great variation of the plant. This video from NampaHiker, describes and shows several common traits of poison ivy, which is very helpful to identify this plant.
What Are the Dangers of Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy is an invasive plant that grows on top of other plants. Its scientific name is Toxicodendron, and it is actually food for some wild animals. Despite the name, poison ivy is not poisonous, but it releases a resin that causes a rash on their skin when people touch it. Every part of poison ivy can cause a rash, including the leaves, the vines, the roots, the berries, and the flowers.
The resin that it releases is called urushiol, and it will stick to anything it touches including an animal’s fur or your clothing. Although different people have different levels of reaction to it, according to Cleveland Clinic, “most poison plant rashes cause mild (but annoying) symptoms that go away within a week or two.”
How to Kill Poison Ivy Without Killing Other Plants
The best way to remove the poison ivy so that it won’t come back is to dig it out from the roots. However, you can do it using chemicals or natural products as well. The biggest problem is that poison ivy has a strong root system, and if you don’t eliminate all of it, it will grow back.
How to Manually Remove Poison Ivy
Start out by protecting your skin so that it can’t leave its resin on you. You will want to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and strong boots. Some people even wear a mask or a bandana on their faces. Just make sure that your skin is protected.
Next, you will want a trowel and a small shovel. You can also use shears to cut the vines if they are very long. You need to be careful because if you are rough with the plant, it can release its resin into the air and land on your skin.
It is a good idea to plan to remove the poison ivy after it rains so that the ground is softer. Do not remove poison ivy when it is windy out because the resin can blow into your skin.
Dig down three inches to reach the roots. As you remove it by digging it out, you will want to place it in strong bags. Once you fill a bag, double bag it so that it can’t get on anyone’s skin.
You should never burn poison ivy because it creates toxic fumes that can lead to bad lung problems.
As soon as you have removed the poison ivy, you should wash your clothing and anything you are wearing because the resin will stick to it. It can actually stay active for years, so it is important to make sure that you wash anything that it came into contact with. Make sure that you use hot water when you do the wash to get all of it out.
Other Methods to Remove Poison Ivy
While effective, removing poison ivy by hand is time-consuming. The Home Depot recommends 4 other methods that may work well for you. Most of these methods have to be used carefully; otherwise, you may kill surrounding plants.
In addition to pulling the roots by hand, this video demonstrates some of the most effective ways to get rid of poison ivy.
- Smother ivy by covering
- Natural poison ivy killers and herbicides
- Douse with boiling water
- Poison ivy spray
If you discover poison ivy growing in your yard, you will want to remove it right away. The best way to get rid of it without killing other plants is by digging it out from the roots. You need to protect your skin and dig down about three inches to get it out. This method won’t kill other plants, and the poison ivy won’t be able to grow back.