Any advice for clearing poison ivy?

I have a 2 acre lot and about 1/2 acre of which is wooded. It has a huge variety of tree types with many large old trees but it also has a very dense underbrush with greenbrier, brambles, grapevines, and unfortunately poison ivy. I’m in the process of clearing it little by little. I’m cutting down the sapling trees and would ideally like to have a nice wooded area with shade that the kids can play. It’s slow going right now. I have a chipper that will handle up to 3" limbs and I’ve created a brush pile that I will use to burn a lot of the old dried fallen wood that I’m finding. During the clearing process I’m noticing a lot of poison ivy. I’m wondering what the best way is to eradicate it. I am considering glyphosate but I know poison ivy has tough waxy leaves and glypho isn’t 100% effective against it. I also have a brush cutter for my string trimmer that does wonders on brambles but I’m sure the poison ivy will just continue to grow back. The other option would be to try pulling the vines but I’m a little weary of this as the older I get I find that I have become more susceptible to getting nasty rashes and blisters from exposure.

What ways have you fellow forums members dealt with poison ivy and if I have to go the route of pulling it what is the best PPE to use to protect myself. We are talking about a lot of poison ivy here.

If it were me, I’d pay a professional to do it. It would be money well spent.

Triclopyr. Aka Garlon, or Bayer Brush Killer Plus. The bayer product is easy to get, but Garlon 3A can be applied at a higher rate for better kill. Don’t forget to use a non-ionic surfactant with Garlon. I believe the Bayer product already has a surfactant. The Bayer product is about 5x more expensive than garlon 3A.
Bayer is in a 32oz bottle for $20. It has .187lb AI (Active Ingredient) = $106/lb AI
Garlon 3a is in a 2.5 gallon bottle for $150. 7.5lb AI = $20lb AI

Be very careful about using the brush cutter attachment. You can end up with urushiol oil everywhere.

If you’re going to pull it, wear a bunny suit, double gloved, and double bag the poison ivy.

My landlord has hired companies to remove poison oak from her property. Apparently there are landscaping companies that specialize in poison oak/ivy removal. The problem with them was every time they came out, their price almost doubled. Last time, they wanted like $60/worker/hour.

1 Like

Be careful about burning brush that might contain poison ivy - the stuff dissipates into the smoke and air, and you Don’t want to breathe it

I’ve heard of outfits that bring in goats to clear the stuff


X2 on goats or sheep. They will eat the stuff to the ground. The problem is that the stuff is darn near impossible to get rid of for good.


Method 1 -Spray the leaves with water and then hit them with table salt while still wet. Poison ivy hates table salt.
Method 2 - mow frequently (weekly) through the poison ivy patch until you burn through it’s stored energy in the roots


Side track but I like to tell this to people who get poison ivy bad. Many years ago I thought I knew what poison Ivy was, (that plant is really Virginia Creeper). So I was at my brothers farm clearing some brush and such to try to redirect a deer path for future hunting purposes. I was cutting tree branches and bushes, also these large vines, and throwing them all out of the way. Later my brother asked how I had dealt with the poison ivy, and I told him I didn’t see any. He said there are some really big vines of it down there,

In the next week he updated me on how my trail was working out. #1 his cattle used it as an escape route to go through the woods to a neighbors soybeans. And #2 I cut those poison ivy vines. But I had never itched at all. I had cut away the lower vine and left the leaves to die in the trees overhead. I surely touched leaves. But I dodged a bad situation. My brother sold the farm but we still hunt there. Deer still use that trail

1 Like

Not everyone reacts. I could roll in the stuff when I was young, and it didn’t bother me. My sensitivities changed over the years.

Dave, that combo of green briar, poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and wild blackberries is what I’ve been battling for the last 20+ years. Never ever burn anything you suspect might have poison ivy in there.

Green briar has nasty thorns and is terrible to get rid of. It makes huge, difficult to eradicate tubers. We’ve filled wheelbarrows with the pieces of single tuber masses.

Since I’m still battling it after all these years, any advice I’d give wouldn’t be very worthy.

1 Like

Reaction to poison ivy could be delayed. nothing first time, a little next time, and full bloom after that. It is like immune system learning to recognize it better. So I do not recommend mowing it. Spraying with Ortho brash killer or roundup-poison ivy several times works well. It also removes other under brash. But main problem is, even if you kill it in certain area to the roots, it will regrow from seeds birds spread in winter, as it will stay deeper in the woods anyway. Only way to avoid it make sure ground is not empty - they call poison ivy earth bandage. I recommend English Ivy as a replacement. It is low profile, you can walk and run on it. And it covers the soil nicely. I had a side of my yard covered in poison ivy when I bought my house, it was even climbing up large tree. So first I put on almost chemical suit(I am highly allergic) and cut the vine as far up as I could reach. then used concentrated roundup on the trunk left. After that spraying began. It took 3 years to completely eliminate it, and English Ivy, that grew on my neighbor side found its way to the empty ground. That finished the solution. Some precautions: it takes several hours for oil to penetrate the skin, if you got exposed, wash it immediate with a lot of COLD water, no soap. Then finish up with warm water and soap. Consider all your tools and clothes contaminated, wash tools same way, or use special poison ivy removal liquid. Place contaminated clothes directly in dishwasher, do not reuse them not washed tomorrow. Clean your shoes, I use rubber boots as they are easier to clean. Do not burn or compost poison ivy. If you allergic, burning can kill you, or anyone else allergic, who get exposed to the smoke. And even dry poison ivy parts are still contain the oil. Unless you know you do not have reaction yet(you may get it later after several exposures) do not take poison ivy lightly, be very careful.


Don’t have a solution to the problem, but be super careful if you hope to have kids playing there. There Urushiol oil will get everywhere if mowed/chipped. I don’t think it breaks down very quickly, either. And also agreeing with the do not burn, my aunt accidentally burned some in some garden debris and it sent her to the hospital from inhaling it.

Glypho will work, but buy concentrate and spray at 2-3x the normal rate. Takes a little bit and may need repeat applications. This will work on English Ivy as well. Then you still have stems and roots around, which contain Urushiol just to make life difficult.

1 Like

I had huge amounts of poison ivy at my former property. After two trips to the emergency room. the last one ending with the nurse refusing to touch me, I asked permission to my neighbors to enter their property and cut all fruiting vines. Done in the fall it is easy, as the vine shows a big red plume along the tree trunk. So I cut all vines within a quarter mile radius. I was left with my own little plants, which were all over the place and particularly thick under the deceased vines.

It is enough to paint one leaf of one plant with straight Roundup to kill that plant and a good chunk of root underneath. Done first time in May, the second time about a month later, problem solved. A small paint brush is sufficient.


Wow. Thanks for all of the information. I’ve probably been quite careless after hearing how everyone recommends I treat it. I know i’ve been careless with my tools. I will need to clean everything. I didn’t realize burning it could be that much of a problem. Sounds like using brush killer is the best way to start out. I already have high strength glyphosate but was not aware of Triclopyr which Scott suggested. I stopped in my local AG center at lunch and they had a couple of products with Triclopyr as an active ingredient. The first one was from Bonide and was low strength. I think it was only about 5% Triclopyr. Said to use 8 ounces per gallon. The other was a product called Crossbow. It had 16.5% Triclopyr but what I didn’t like about it was that it had 35% 2/4D. The area I would spray would be downwind of my orchard but after seeing what Kevin went through with that stuff it has me concerned to use it. Wish I had a Home Depot near me. They sell a product called Brushtox that is 61% Triclopyr…

I used straight conc. bleach to kill most unwanted weeds in the back yard or grass growing in the crack of my driveway at $2.70 a gallon.


1 Like

Planting English ivy is not a solution. The buckets of poison ivy I was yanking yesterday were all from throughout a stand of the English ivy. It’s actually more difficult to remove in those areas for me because they are intertwined. Eventually, I want to get rid of almost all of the English ivy that a son planted years ago. It gives me far more problems than benefits.

I forgot to say that you can use mineral spirits to clean it from tools. I used to use it on my hands, too, before washing my hands with dish soap. I’m not recommending you use it on your own skin, though. You’re a tender skinned redhead.


I have a dense cover of Virginia Creeper which keeps other weeds down reasonably well, but it’s all over if PI ever gets mixed up in it

ETA: there’s a product called Tecnu that alleges to wash away any urushiol that gets onto your skin

1 Like

I think you’re on the right track with Cross Bow. It’s a reasonable cost broad leaf herbicide. With a hand sprayer you’re not going to get enough drift spraying the forest area to your orchard trees, unless you are extremely, extremely careless.

I have sprayed glyphosate and 2,4-d close to trees to control bind weed and never had problems with phytotoxicity on the trees. The problem always occurs when using powerized equipment close to trees where the control of the spray/drift is much much less.

I cleared a heavily forested area of a neighbor of poison ivy, not for money but because she was allergic to it. I sprayed lots of broad leaf herbicide from a pump up sprayer and didn’t kill a single tree.

I also agree with the varying senitivities of poison ivy. I do get it if I have a heavy enough exposure, but my skin doesn’t react to a slight brush.

At one time I hired a dozer man to do a lot of work for me. He would push out trees with lots of vines of poison ivy and never show symptoms. His wife would get terrible skin reactions from just doing his laundry. She claimed Preparation H was the best treatment for a rash.

For the record, I do know what poison ivy looks like and can identify it at a glance. The three leaves stand out to me. As the pollen sheds there is sometimes some red. I’ll walk around here and see if I can’t find some, although I’ve worked pretty hard at eradicating it.

Another side note on poison ivy, as a child and young adult I never got it. My cousins could come visit and just get covered in it . As an adult one fall I got a bad burn in the late fall that went from the tips of my fingers on my right hand to the top of my head. The next summer I got poison Ivey where the burn had been. It spread right to the edge of the burn scar and then stopped. I have not got it since but it sure was memorable.


Here’s a pic of poison ivy from an area away from the orchard I don’t “police” very hard.

Poison ivy doesn’t like to be cut, so if you’re skin isn’t very reactive to it, you could “mow” it down with a trimmer, just don’t wear shorts and be careful with the laundry.

I’ve cut two inch vines with a chain saw spewing the urushiol all over me and not shown symptoms. My son can walk through it in shorts.

1 Like

Tecnu works great! I wash my hands and arms in the stuff when I have been near poison oak/ivy. Burned some when I was a kid to get camp fire started. Almost had to go to the hospital.

1 Like

I got it from digging in an area in late fall and contacting some roots. Nasty stuff!

1 Like