One of the reasons that poison ivy is so hard to kill it that you have to eliminate the whole plant, down to the root. That’s not always easy to do.
Because poison ivy can cause severe reactions including a red, itchy rash, getting in there and pulling the roots isn’t really a good option. That’s why the best poison ivy killer is the way to go.
Let’s take a look at some strategies for eliminating this pest and some of the best products available to get rid of it for good.
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How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy Plants?
Poison ivy is really hard to get rid of which is why it’s important to think through your approach before you get started. Here are some different methods to try.
Organic Poison Ivy Control
A lot of people prefer organic treatments when it comes to controlling problematic plants. The problem with poison ivy, though, is that you have to eliminate the root and this is not an ordinary plant. Reaching in and pulling the roots out of the round can have a lot of consequences, particularly if you’re severely allergic to it.
If you want to attempt to remove poison ivy organically, the best time to try it when the ground is really wet after a rainy period. The roots will come out of the ground more easily because the ground is so soft.
It’s very important to properly prepare for this. That means using the right protective equipment. Wear thick gloves, long pants, and long sleeves. You shouldn’t have any skin exposed when you’re digging around in poison ivy.
Poison ivy contains oils that stick to fabric and can then be transferred to your skin so be very careful when removing your clothes. If you accidentally rub your face or brush your gloves against your arm, there’s a good chance you’ll break out in a rash.
Additionally, you may also have to pull the weeds a few times to kill the plant. If new growth occurs, pull the plants again and again until they stop coming back.
It’s for these reasons, a lot of people who prefer organic methods still go for chemical treatments when it comes to poison ivy.
Chemical Poison Ivy Control
Chemical treatments work much faster than organic methods. They’re also more effective in the long run. You may need to apply the brush killer a few times to kill the whole plant but it will eventually kill the whole root and the plant will stop growing back.
Most of these treatments are applied to the waxy leaves of the poison ivy plant. From there, the poison soaks into the leaves and goes through the plant to kill the roots.
The Best Poison Ivy Killers For Your Yard & Garden
There are a lot of great options when it comes to killing poison ivy. Some come ready to use while others are concentrated and have to be diluted with water before application. Here are some of the best-rated, most effective options available.
Poison Ivy Killer Reviewed
1. Roundup 5203910 Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer
Out first pick is this product from Roundup, a well-known brand when it comes to killing weeds and other plant pests. It’s specially formulated with two powerful ingredients to work on the waxy leaves that are so difficult to penetrate. Then, it makes its way to the root, killing the whole plant.
This formula is convenient and easy to use. It comes pre-mixed with an extension wand that allows for precise application with no bending over, awkward reaching, or hand fatigue. One bottle treats up to 400 square feet.
All you have to do is spray the leaves on the poison ivy plant until they’re thoroughly saturated. This stuff is really powerful, though, so make sure to protect any other plants from exposure. This formula is rainproof in about 30 minutes and gives you results in about 24 hours.
For best results, spray when the wind isn’t blowing to avoid getting it on healthy plants and wear necessary protective gear. This product includes a money-back guarantee. If it doesn’t work or you’re not satisfied for any reason, Roundup will refund your money.
2. Bonide Products 506 Poison Oak and Ivy Killer
Next up is this spray from Bonide that kills not only poison ivy but other hard manage broadleaf plants like dandelion, thistle, and stinging nettle. This formula uses Trimec, a fast and effective herbicide that destroys plant pests from the leaves to the roots.
Something really great about this one is that it’s so easy to use. It comes ready-to-use in a spray bottle. The adjustable nozzle gives you control over application plus it goes on purple so you can clearly see where you’ve sprayed and where you haven’t. Use the “spray” setting for precision or the “mist” setting for broader coverage.
This spray is so effective that some people reported it killed poison ivy permanently as in it didn’t return the next year. When used properly, it won’t damage your lawn or other plants. Use a bit of caution, though, as the spray bottle has a tendency to leak.
3. Ortho MAX Poison Ivy and Tough Brush Killer
If you have a lot of really tough poison ivy, poison oak, wild blackberries, or kudzu to kill, take a look at this spray from Ortho MAX. It’s formulated to take care of more than 60 different types of weeds and brush and can even tackle woody plants, vines, and stumps.
This is a concentrated formula that should be applied using a tank sprayer or by adding a hose-end sprayer to your garden hose. It’s a great way to cover large areas of growth and is so effective, it keeps plants from coming back for years.
While this spray is rainproof after a few hours, it’s best to wait until the forecast is clear for a day or two to really allow the poison ivy killer to penetrate the leaves and get to work on the plant. You should also wear gloves and other protective gear during each application.
4. Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer Concentrate
Another effective option that’s meant to be used in a sprayer is this Roundup concentrate. It combines two brush-killing ingredients and is extremely effective against poison ivy as well as poison oak, poison sumac, and other invasive plants,
This formula works by penetrating the waxy leaves of these hard-to-kill plants and working its way down into the root. It’s concentrated which makes it ideal for covering large areas. In fact, a single bottle treats up to 1,500 square feet.
Read the label to determine the concentration then add the appropriate amount of water. You will need to use a sprayer for application and Roundup has several different sizes available.
Apply to poison ivy that is actively growing when there’s no wind to avoid contaminating healthy plants. After application, this product is rainproof in only 30 minutes. You should see visible results within 24 hours of application.
5. Southern Ag 100520254 Crossbow Specialty Herbicide
Another product that effectively kills poison ivy and many, many other invasive broad-leaf plants is this herbicide from Southern Ag. This one-gallon bottle of concentrate can make up to 96 gallons of spray solution.
One of the great things about this poison ivy killer is it covers a lot of ground. Depending on how strong you mix it, this bottle can cover between ½ and ¾ acre of land. If you’re looking for something to spray along your fences or the roadside or if you need to cover along the edges of large wooded areas, this is a great choice.
An important thing to keep in mind with this product (and all sprays, really) is that you should always use the proper protective gear. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and long pants during application and consider a mask and safety goggles. This is strong stuff!
6. Southern Ag Surfactant for Herbicides Non-Ionic
This next product from Southern Ag isn’t a herbicide, per se. Rather, it’s a surfactant that helps increase the coverage and penetration of any herbicide. If you have a product you like and want to boost its effectiveness, give this product a try.
How does it work? It reduces the tension of the water in any herbicide which allows for uniform coverage and helps it penetrate the leaves and get into the inside of the plant more effectively.
All you have to do is add a teaspoon or so to your herbicide before applying. The label tells you how much to add for some of the most popular types of herbicides. This is a great way to make your poison ivy killer more effective and comes in particularly handy when you have a lot of ground to kill.
7. BioAdvanced 704655A Brush Killer
The brush killer from BioAdvanced works on poison ivy as well as poison oak, blackberry, kudzu, and more than 70 other types of weeds and brush that are difficult to kill. This concentrated formula is so strong, it can even kill stumps.
BioAdvanced Brush Killer gets down to the roots, penetrating the waxy leaves to kill the whole plant down to the roots. This ready-to-use formula comes in a bottle with a spray wand attachment for precise application.
For best results, use cardboard to protect other plants and apply on a day when there’s little to no wind. While this formula is rainfast after a few hours, it’s still best to save the application for a day when there’s no rain in the forecast for peak effectiveness.
The application is a little different for stumps. Cover the stump with undiluted concentrate using a dedicated paintbrush for quick and focused control. Be careful to dispose of the brush properly by wrapping it up and throwing it in the garbage.
8. BrushTox Brush Killer with Triclopyr
If you have really stubborn poison ivy and want something really powerful, take a look at this brush killer from Brushtox. In addition to poison ivy, this formula is also really effective against woody plants like oaks, locusts, and sweetgum as well are tough broadleaf plant pests like dog fennel.
This concentrated formula is a great choice for large areas of land. It covers up to an acre and is effective on fencerows, ditch banks, and grass pastures. Be warned, this is a little different than other brush killers. It’s particularly oily and pretty toxic.
That said, take care when applying. It’s recommended that you wear protective equipment. Timing is important, too. Be sure to apply on a dry day and do some research about optimal temperatures for the most effective application.
9. Voluntary Purchasing Group Hi-Yield 11484 Brush Killer Stump Killer
For eliminating poison ivy around your home or cabin, along a fence, or in any other non-crop areas, check out this brush killer from Voluntary Purchasing Group. Not only does it work on poison ivy, but it’s also powerful enough to tackle woody plants, vines, and even stumps.
Because this is such a powerful formula, it’s best to apply it to leaves with a sprayer so you have more control over the application. Be careful to avoid getting any on your good plants. Using a piece of cardboard to shield them when spraying is recommended.
This formula takes awhile to work but is ultimately very effective, particularly when applied to stumps at the full concentration.
10. Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate
One of the best things about this weed killer from Spectracide is it works fast without causing long-term damage. In fact, you can replant new flowers, shrubs, and trees within a few days or grass and sod in about a week. Mix the concentrate and apply with a sprayer to completely cover the waxy poison ivy leaves.
This is a great choice for covering large areas. It’s rainproof in only 30 minutes and you can see visible results in only three hours. For best results, apply in temperatures greater than 60 degrees F and pick a day when it’s not going to rain and the wind is calm. Protect other plans with cardboard to prevent damage.
Another great thing about this product is it comes with a money-back guarantee. You can get details on the label but they guarantee results or your money back. This is appropriate for patios, driveways, and walkways.
What is the Best Poison Ivy Killer?
Although all of these products are great, we think Roundup 5203980 Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer is the best choice. This is a well-known brand with a great reputation that uses two ingredients to kill poison ivy down to the root.
Another great thing about it is it comes ready-to-spray so you don’t have to worry about mixing it. One bottle treats about 400 square feet so it’s perfect for spraying around your backyard. Not only that but you get results in about 24 hours.
Best of all, this product comes with a money-back guarantee so there’s really nothing to lose.
When is the Best Time to Kill Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy tends to start growing around May, depending on the climate where you live. While you might think it’s best to apply the chemical weed killer to the plant before it gets too big, that’s not actually the best approach.
It’s actually better to wait until July or August when the plant has matured and the leaves are fully developed. Why? Because these chemicals are applied directly to the leaves and aren’t as effective when the plant is really young.
When you wait until mid to late summer, the leaves are in energy-production mode and very active. This is the best time to apply the weed killer because it easily makes its way into the plant and down to the roots.
One application is usually enough but two may be necessary. While it might seem inconvenient to wait until later in the summer to eliminate the plant, keep in mind this is usually a long-term solution. With the right treatment, the plants will not come back the following year.
As for when to apply the poison ivy killer, it’s best to wait for a dry day. Even though most of these products are rainproof after 30 minutes to a few hours, it’s best to let the chemicals sit on the leaves for as long as possible so the maximum amount of poison makes its way into the plant.
How to Use Poison Ivy Killer?
Every brand of poison ivy killer is a little bit different but there are some basic practices to follow when using chemical plant killers.
Some of these products come ready-to-use so there’s not much you have to do before application. For those that come in concentrated form, follow the directions on the package. You’ll have to add a specific amount of water to each to get the right strength.
When it comes time to apply, wand sprayers are best. Some of these products come in simple spray bottles. While these are really convenient, they don’t give you quite as much control as a wand.
Spray the poison on the leaves of the poison ivy plant and saturate them as much as possible. Keep in mind that poison ivy is hard to kill so these chemicals are really powerful. Avoid any contact with nearby plants. Use a large piece of cardboard to protect them from any spray.
As we mentioned, these poisons are usually rainproof pretty quickly, some formulas claim they’re waterproof in as little as 30 minutes. That said, though, it’s still a good idea to wait until there’s a break in the forecast where there isn’t going to be any rain for a few days. The longer the chemicals stay on the leaves, the better.
Wait until there’s no wind to apply. Any gusts can easily carry the chemicals onto other plants. Wear protective gear including long sleeves, long pants, and gloves. Some people also choose to wear a breathing mask. Follow all the safety instructions on the label.
When it comes to getting rid of poison ivy, you have options. Unfortunately, going organic is not the best way to go. The only way to eliminate a poison ivy plant for good is to kill the root. Getting down on your hands and knees to yank the plant out of the soil carries a lot of risks.
No matter how careful you are, there’s always a chance that you’ll end up breaking out in a rash when trying to uproot the plant. Even if you wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves, the oils from the plant contaminate your clothes. It can be difficult to prevent any contact with your skin.
Using a chemical plant killer is the way to go. The best killer for poison ivy travels through the leaves to the root of the plant. If it doesn’t work on the first try, a second application is usually enough to prevent the plant from ever coming back.
While the application is pretty much the same for all of these products, each one is a little different. Be sure to follow all of the instructions on the side of the bottle to make sure you’re using the product safely and to get the best results.
While all of these products are effective at getting the job done, we recommend Roundup 5203980 Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer. It’s a convenient, ready-to-use formula that comes with a wand sprayer for easy and precise application. Not to mention, it’s covered by a money-back guarantee.
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