How to kill poison ivy without killing other plants is a common question among gardeners and plant-keepers because a single poison ivy plant can cause havoc for the whole garden. These plants of the Asteraceae family can grow like wild weeds and should be removed effectively if you want to curb their growth and spread.How To Kill Poison Ivy Without Killing Other Plants

There are various ways that you can use to control these poisonous plants, which are homemade or commercially available. In this article, we will deeply discuss the ways that you will be able to get rid of these plants without harming others.

How To Kill Poison Ivy Without Killing Other Plants Around?

You can kill poison ivy plants without killing other plants by hand picking them individually, using boiling water, plastic wraps, homemade or commercially available sprays, and lastly, you can also prevent the growth of the poison ivy plants in the garden.

You should get rid of them because it gives rashes that are very painful and cause blisters that can leave marks when itching. So the removal of the poison ivy plants is of key importance, and it should be done as soon as possible. They have very potent roots that can grow and spread at an exponential rate.

– Hand Picking the Plant

The first way to kill the poison ivy plants without killing other plants is by plucking or hand-picking them individually. The poison ivy plants are very easy to spot therefore, they can be removed by picking them by hand.Hand Picking Poison Ivy Plant

For this technique, you will need some protective gear that will make sure that the plants do not touch your skin in any way. Use heavy-duty gloves and goggles for your eyes, so your eyes remain protected if something goes flying when you pull out the plants and it will hurt your eye.

While hand-picking them, one thing needs to be taken care of. The roots of the poison ivy plants are very potent and can regrow into a full plant. Even a small root of the plant will grow to be a spreading weed when in the right setting. This is why it is very important that when you pull the plant and its roots out, you remove all the broken and left behind roots as well.

Moreover, The best way to stop the poison ivy plants from spreading is by plucking out the plants along with their roots. The roots, if left behind, can grow into new plants, thus causing the spread of the plants to the nearby flora, so make sure that you pick them too.

You can adopt various other ways to help you stop the spread of the plants. You can use effective herbicides to kill the plant before it has spread, use boiling water to kill the plant, or use other homemade or commercially available sprays to get rid of the plant, and you can easily get rid of the spread. Make sure to remove all parts of the plants from the garden, as a small root left behind can cause problems in the future.

– Use Boiling Water

If you wish to get rid of this poisonous plant, you can use boiling temperature on the poison ivy plant. Boiling water is a great way to get rid of unnecessary plants or weeds because the high-temperature water completely kills the plants, and the only thing left after that is to remove them from the soil. Boil any water that you have on hand, be that distilled or tap water, and make sure that the water is extra hot and has bubbles to give an effective result.

Start pouring the water from the top of the plant and make sure it reaches every stem and side of the plant. This technique will only be effective when the plant is completely drenched in boiling water. Make sure that the water is only poured on the poison ivy plant to be removed and not the other healthy plants you want to keep because the boiling water can kill them too.

If you wish to kill them completely, the most effective way to kill a poison ivy plant is by pouring boiling water on the entire length of the plant. What this method does is that it will instantly help you get rid of the poison ivy plant and also will help in decreasing the spread.

If you mix salt in this boiling water, it will be even more effective, but it will definitely affect the pH of the soil, if you have plants nearby it may fluctuate to thrive. So make sure to use it if there is no concern for the pH of the soil. The other reason for using this is that it is very cheap and readily available in the house.

Lastly, to be more secure, physically, we know that the boiling water will engulf anything and everything that it comes in contact with, so make sure that you are wearing protective gear while handling it. Be keen as you would stand away from the plant when pouring the boiling water because the droplets can cause burns on your skin.

Once you have poured the water, give the plant some time to be killed, and later. Then, remove the dead plant from the field while wearing gloves and make sure that no roots are left behind.

– Use Plastic Wraps

The next point to be discussed for killing poison ivy plants without killing other nearby healthy plants is the use of plastic wraps around the plants. These plastic wraps are very commonly found in houses, but they are very potent against weeds if used properly.Using Plastic Wraps for Killing Ivy

The plastic is wrapped around the plant in such a way that the plant is suffocated and smothered. This smothering will cause the plant to lose its oxygen and nutrient supply and ultimately will die, it will no longer find the right needs to grow properly and to thrive, on the contrary, it will be cut out of oxygen.

This technique is very commonly used to remove and kill toxic plants that have no use in a garden. This process will, however, take some time to show positive results. You will need to give at least a few days time to the plant to be suffocated and lose its nutrition supply, just when you see it weakening. Once it is dead, you will be able to see that the plant has lost its integrity.

In this case as well, when the weakening happens, you must wear protective gear to remove the plastic wrap from the plant or pull the plant with the plastic wrap at one time. Removing it will be easy as the plant is already dead and has no strength left of its own.

You can either burn poison ivy plants when pulled out or throw them in a nearby dump while wrapped in plastic. In this way, the nearby plants will be safe and sound while you have removed the toxic and dangerous poison ivy plants from the garden.

– Use Vinegar Solutions

Vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties but together with this, it is also widely used for getting rid of these poisonous plants. The best way to use vinegar for getting rid of weeds like poison ivy is by making it into a spray. For this, you will need vinegar and a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with your choice of vinegar and get to spraying.

However, there are some points that you need to keep in mind while using vinegar to remove the ivy from your garden while the other plants are not damaged. First and foremost, ensure you are spraying vinegar only on the plant you want to remove. Secondly, try to spray the vinegar on a day when there are no strong winds because that will only cause the vinegar to be sprayed on other plants as well.

Remember that vinegar works best on small plants only and not on big and mature plants. So even if you spray it on mature plants, only the stems and leaves will die, and the roots will remain intact.

In addition to this, this solution is basically acetic acid that works by drying out the plants by taking out all the moisture from the plants. However, suppose you don’t wish to use the common ones. In that case, you can also buy vinegar from gardening shops, called horticulture vinegar, which is a more potent and high-concentration vinegar that works very properly.

– Use Commercially-available Sprays

Commercially, there are a lot of chemical sprays available that will help you get rid of poison ivy plants while keeping the nearby plants healthy and untouched. You can buy these sprays from online stores that have a wide variety of such sprays, or you can walk into a gardening store and have an expert suggest one according to your needs.Using Commercially Available Sprays

These chemical sprays are very strong and toxic which is why you must make sure to use them very safely and mindfully. Wear protective gear while handling them because you should avoid the plant at all costs.

Make sure that whatever spray you opt for does not have hefty amounts of salt in it, and that’s because the salt is very destructive to the soil and ultimately to the nearby plants.

It can alter the pH of the soil, and the nearby plants can thus become salinated and will eventually lose their nutrition. So this will cause more damage to the plants than the weed of this plant you are trying to remove.

These sprays will take some time to kill the poison ivy plants so make sure you give it appropriate time and conditions. Once the plant is killed, you will be able to tell because the plant will sulk to one side and lose its integrity and stem support. The only thing that is left for you to do now is to pull the dead plant out and dispose of it responsibly.

– Use Herbicides

The use of herbicides is yet another very famous and potent way of getting rid of unwanted toxic plants. Any gardening stores will surely be carrying herbicides and this is because it is used to tackle these types of plants away. These herbicides also contain chemicals, but they are specifically for killing weeds and unwanted herbs.

The major component of such herbicides is glyphosate, a well-known weed killer, so now, this chemical travels through the plant and kills it. This chemical is not safe for human consumption, when it is sprayed, it is only targeted at these plants. Use it on a dry day when the wind is not blowing so that the spray does not affect the nearby plants.

Nowadays, there are some herbicides available in the market that are less toxic but at the same time, they have decreased potency as well. Now it is up to you which you choose and how much time you can spare for the poison ivy plants to be first sprayed and then to be killed by the less potent herbicides. These products also have very distinctive smells that can make some pets nauseous, which

h is why when applying them, make sure to let your pets inside or in a safe space so that they do not smell the spray.

– Block The Growth Sources

Another way you can easily grow before they mature into more invasive plants. The poison plants are very characteristic and can be distinguished from the start, but when you prevent the sun source from reaching the plant, it deteriorates the growth.

You can also try to shade the plant, so they do not get the sunlight they need to grow into a mature plant. These ways can only stall the growth of the poison ivy plant until the real methods are applied. Whatever you do, make sure that you do not come in direct contact with the toxic plant.

Carefully clean and wash all the gadgets and gear with a dish soap you use while handling and dealing with poison ivy plants. The effect of the ivy plant can linger on for some time, so it is of utmost importance that you thoroughly wash everything that might have come in contact with the plant.

You may also try to stop watering the plants in a floral setting when you see an ivy plant growing. Prevention is only potent until you can perform a more viable procedure of killing and removing the plants.

– Have Animals Eat Them

You can also go ahead and kill these unwanted and harmful plants by having the right animal devour them when the animals ingest them like normal fodder. The animals that will not have a problem eating them would be the wild ones such as deer or bear and even rodents of different kinds.Having Animals Eat Poison Ivy

If you see new and growing shoots of the plant that have soft foliage, you can get one of the animals from the above-mentioned list to devour the plant. Obviously, this would be a much harder task than removing them yourself, as the animals and the insects will not understand their role here. Alternatively, you can leave the plant in a position where it might be attacked by insects or animals.


– What Is the Best Way To Spot a Poison Ivy Plant?

The best way to spot a poison ivy plant is by looking for its characteristic compound leaves that have three leaflets. They have a long stalk, the leaves are clearly toothed by the edges, and the surface is glossy or occasionally dull.

The plant changes shape very subtly with the changing weather, so they lose their leaves in the winter and regain them in the spring. The leaves are very green and glossy in the summertime and become dull and dingy in autumn.

The other characteristic of a poison ivy plant is that it can spread and take control of neighboring plants very quickly, which means that it can climb on trees and walls, if need be, like vines.


In this article, we talked about the seven tried and tested methods on how you can get rid of poison ivy plants in your home or garden, but in case you missed anything, here is a short review of the important points:

  • You can kill poison ivy plants by hand picking them individually, using boiling water, plastic wraps, homemade or commercially available sprays.
  • The vinegar solution will only kill small immature plants and the stems and leaves of a mature plant.
  • Make sure to use protective gear while implementing any of the above-given techniques because any direct contact with these plants may cause skin rash and blisters that can leave marks.
  • The most potent chemical for killing poison ivy plants is glyphosate which when sprayed, travels through the plant and kills the cells.
  • Burning the dead poison ivy plants is the most simple way to get rid of the weed in the end.

We hope this article was an informative read for you, and now you can easily get rid of the poison ivy plants in your space.

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