12 Best Poison Ivy Killer | Check Before Buying!

Rainy seasons can encourage the growth of the notorious poison ivy, which are woody plants that mostly grow as vines but can also be shrubs low on the ground, which can create a layer of ankle-height leaves.

It’s important to eradicate and control the growth of poison ivy before it can cause harm.

So, what are the best poison ivy killers? Here is a curated list of the best and most effective products in the market:

To know more about how effective these products are, how to use them to kill poison ivy plants, their product dimensions, as well as essential information regarding poison ivy, read further this article! 

What Is Poison Ivy?

What Is Poison Ivy

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a native woody plant that grows as either a deciduous, perennial vine attached to trees or a small, upright shrub found in woodlands, pastures, home landscapes, fields, and farms.

As a vine, it latches onto trees or other objects that can provide the same support by developing adventitious roots and in most mature vines, extensive branches.

On the other hand, they can also grow as low-growing shrubs without any support. They often develop when they’re grown under full sunlight.

This plant consists of compound leaves with three leaflets. The leaflet edges are either wavy, smooth, toothed, or lobed and may resemble oak leaves. Generally, mature poison ivy plants can produce flowers and white, waxy fruit. 

Can Poison Ivy Kill You?

Can Poison Ivy Kill Youv

Poison ivy can kill you, but only when ingested and left untreated. 

The entire plant—its stems, roots, fruits, and leaves—contains a colorless, irritating oil called urushiol. This oil is composed of highly potent compounds that can cause allergic dermatitis when in contact with people. The oil can be picked up on clothing, equipment, pet fur, and other objects. Even dead poison ivy plants can still carry urushiol. 

People who are extra sensitive to poison ivy can develop skin rashes, accompanied by itching and blisters or bumps, within hours after direct contact or inhalation of the smoke emitted when burning poison ivy. The rash is generally not contagious unless a person passes on the oil to someone else by way of direct contact as well. 

Can Poison Ivy Kill Dogs?

Poison ivy cannot kill dogs. Only humans and possibly other primates are the only animals that could be affected by poison ivy. Pets such as dogs and cats, as well as other animals such as birds, snakes, deer, insects, and squirrels will not be affected. However, pets can be carriers of plant oil which can be passed on to humans.

Can Poison Ivy Kill a Tree?

Poison ivy vines cannot harm the trees they are attached to. Unlike weeds, they don’t suck the nutrients out of trees. However, they can block out sunlight, which can potentially weaken the tree’s photosynthetic ability. Moreover, when poison ivy vines accumulate on a tree branch, it can eventually cause it to break apart from the tree.

Buying Guide for the Best Poison Ivy Killers

Buying Guide for the Best Poison Ivy Killers
  • Active Ingredients. Since poison ivy plants have extensive root systems, you should choose herbicides with active ingredients that are known for effectively killing the plants. The most popular and effective ingredients are glyphosate, 2,4-D, and triclopyr.
  • Coverage. Choose a product based on the dimensions of the area you wish to treat. Most herbicides usually go in liquid volumes of 16 to 32 ounces. 
  • Type of Solution. Poison ivy killers either come in concentrates or ready-to-use formulations. It all boils down to how much time you have to kill: if you need a quick and convenient solution, purchase ready-to-use products. Otherwise, you can use concentrates if you wish to add other herbicides, surfactants, or spray-thickening agents.
  • Effectiveness. Visible results, such as yellowing or wilting of leaves, should be seen as soon as possible, preferably around 1 to 6 weeks after application. Take note that killing poison ivy plants will take longer than this.
  • Rainproof Capacity. Most, if not all, herbicides can remain rainproof after application. The best products should offer at least 8 to 24 hours of rainproof time. 

12 Best Poison Ivy Killer

Roundup Ready-To-Use Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer

Active Ingredients: 1% glyphosate, 0.1% triclopyr

Specifications: Not only is this product capable of killing poison ivy, but it can also effectively eradicate over 200 types of invasive or dangerous grasses, weeds, and vines, such as wild blackberries, kudzu, poison sumac, and poison ivy. Once sprayed, visible results can be observed after 24 hours. It’s also rainproof 30 minutes after application! 

How to Use: 

  1. At the end of the hose, insert the plug into the knob on the cap until it clicks, then twist the knob to “ON.”
  1. Extend the wand, twist the nozzle, and spray on the leaves of the plant until they’re thoroughly wet. 
  1. If the plant is growing upwards on fences, poles, or tree trunks with mature bark, cut the vines to a height of about 3 to 4 feet before spraying on them. If they’re growing on shrubs or immature tree trunks, cut vines at their base, then spray regrowth.
  1. The plant should start turning brown in the next 24 hours, but you have to wait for a few days before they completely die.

Product Dimensions: 5.5″ (length) x 9.5″ (width) x 12″ (height), with a volume of 170.24 fluid ounces.

Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate

Active Ingredients: 2.3% diquat dibromide, 1.15% Fluazifop-p-butyl, 0.77% Dicamba*, dimethylamine salt

Specifications: This weed and grass killer works by entering plants through the leaves and moving down to their roots to ultimately kill them. Results can be seen in as fast as 3 hours, so if you desire to replant new shrubs, flowers, and trees on the weekend, you may do so. It is also waterproof for up to 15 minutes after application. 

How to Use:

  1. Since this is a non-selective herbicide that can kill any vegetation that comes in contact with the liquid, make sure to protect desirable vegetation and plants by placing cardboard or plastic on top of them. 
  1. You can mix the product in a tank sprayer, dial-type hose-end sprayer, or concentrate plus water type sprayer.
  1. Spray directly on actively growing poison ivy leaves. Wait at least 1 to 2 weeks before the plants are killed. If you accidentally spray on desirable plants, wash them with water immediately. 
  1. Avoid mowing, tilling, or raking your lawn 7 days after treatment. You can start replanting a day after application. 

Product Dimensions: 3.25″ (length) x 5.75″ (width) x 10.63″ (width), with a volume of 64 fluid ounces.

Ortho MAX Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer

Active Ingredients: 0.70% Triclopyr, triethylamine salt

Specifications: Able to kill over 60 types of weeds, tough brush, and woody plants, this herbicide can eliminate even the most stubborn poison ivy on trees, around homes, buildings, fences, cabins, and along trails. The formula is also rainproof in 2 hours and is capable of killing the roots of the plant. 

How to Use:

  1. Make sure to cover desirable plants and vegetation with plastic or cardboard to avoid injuries, as this is a non-selective herbicide. The same applies to or around edible feed, food crops, or any areas that are being grazed by animals. 
  1. Shake the bottle before adjusting the nozzle settings to coarse spray for poison ivy treatment.
  1. Spray thoroughly on the stems, foliage, and trunk to allow the product to get into the roots and kill the entire plant.
  1. The plants will be completely killed after a week or two. Retreatment is required when regrowth occurs. 

Product Dimensions: 5.5″ (length) x 9.5″ (width) x 12″ (height), with a volume of 170.24 fluid ounces.

Southern Ag Surfactant for Herbicides

Active Ingredients: 80% alkyl aryl polyoxyethylene glycol and other ethoxylated derivatives 

Specifications: A unique addition to this list and is not to be used on its own, this product is a supplement, specifically a surfactant that works as a wetting agent to increase the coverage, penetration, and effectiveness of any herbicide. It works by reducing the amount of water on the surface tension of any area you apply it into. 

How to Use:

  1. Use 1 teaspoon for every gallon of herbicide spray you use. For MSMA herbicides and round-ups, pour 1 tablespoon per gallon. 
  1. Mix together with a herbicide inside a spray tank or any applicable container, and apply treatment onto poison ivy plants.
  1. Results depend on the effectiveness of the herbicide, which is usually observable after a week or two.

Product Dimensions: 6.75″ (length) x 4″ (width) x 10.5″ (height), with a volume of 37.92 liters.

Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide Concentrate

Active Ingredients: 34.4% 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, butoxyethyl ester, 16.5% triclopyr BEE: 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid, butoxyethyl ester

Specifications: Not only does this herbicide control the populations of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, such as poison ivy, but it can also effectively kill unwanted vines, bushes, trees, and other pesky plants. Take note that this product works best when applied to nutrient-rich soil. 

How to Use:

  1. Cover desirable plants with cardboard or plastic. 
  1. Fill half of a spray tank with clean water and the other half with the product. Thoroughly mix while agitating the tank so that the product is evenly spread throughout the mixture.
  1. Before spraying, make sure the device is at low pressure to minimize drift toward desirable plants. While spraying, continue moderate agitation. 
  1. Avoid harvesting hay within 2 weeks as well as reseeding pastures within 3 weeks.

Product Dimensions: 12″ (length) x 12″ (width) x 6″ (height), with a liquid volume of 128 fluid ounces.

BioAdvanced Brush Killer Plus

Active Ingredients: 8.8% Triclopyr, triethylamine salt

Specifications: Specially formulated with penetrating ingredients, this poison ivy killer can kill over 70 types of brush and weeds down to their roots. It can even kill freshly cut stumps! Results can be seen within 1 to 6 weeks, depending on the plant. This product has a coverage of 4,000 square feet. Once applied, it becomes rainproof in 4 hours.

How to Use:

  1. Determine the spray area and prepare a solution according to the type of sprayer you’re going to use. For pump-up tank sprayers and dial-style hose-end sprayers, add half a cup of product to a gallon of water. For concentrate plus water hose-end sprayers, pour in the product up to the fluid ounce mark while filling water up to the gallons mark. When using against stumps, do not dilute in water.
  1. Adjust your sprayer nozzle to a coarse spray for more control and spray towards weeds and poison ivy plants you want to kill. Make sure the foliage is thoroughly wet but avoid excess spraying. 
  1. If you purchased the ready-to-spray variant, simply connect to a hose, turn it on, and spray at weeds while walking backward at a steady pace. 

Product Dimensions: 2.55″ (length) x 4.73″ (width) x 11.25″ (height), with a liquid volume of 32 fluid ounces.

Bonide 506 Poison Oak Ivy Killer

Active Ingredients: 0.6% 2,4-D, dimethylamine salt, 0.14% Mecoprop-P, dimethylamine salt, 0.07% Dicamba, dimethylamine salt

Specifications: Aside from being able to control poison ivy and poison oak plants, this product is also able to kill a variety of other broadleaf lawn weeds, such as ragweeds, thistles, dandelions, stinging nettles, and creeping charlies. Not only that, but after application, it can remain rainproof within hours. Results are visible after a few days, with complete eradication achieved in up to 4 weeks. 

How to Use:

  1. No mixing or pouring is required before application as this product is straightforward and is already ready to use.
  1. Shake well, then spray directly on poison ivy and other weeds in short bursts. Make sure the foliage is sufficiently wet without allowing any excess product to drip. 
  1. Repeat in 30 days if necessary, such as when regrowth occurs.

Product Dimensions: 4.8″ (length) x 2.3″ (width) x 12″ (height), with a liquid volume of 32 fluid ounces.

ECO Garden PRO – Organic Vinegar Weed Killer

Active Ingredients: 8% acetic acid, 5% sodium chloride

Specifications: If you need a herbicide with a convenient, ready-to-use, and environmentally-friendly formulation that’s safe for pets and children, this product is the best choice for you. Immediate visible results are seen within 24 hours. Aside from poison ivy, it can be applied to moss, clover, dandelions, crabgrasses, and other types of pesky weeds and grasses.

How to Use:

  1. Cover desirable ornamentals, grasses, and other plants with plastic or cardboard.
  1. Fill a trigger sprayer or garden pump with the product.
  1. Spray toward poison ivy plants and other desired grasses and weeds until they are fully saturated with the product. For best results, apply on bright and sunny days, especially during the morning.

Product Dimensions: 10.55″ (length) x 6.34″ (width) x 5.08″ (weight), with a liquid volume of 1 gallon.

The Scotts Ortho Max Poison Ivy Tough Brush Killer

Active Ingredients: 8% triclopyr, triethylamine salt

Specifications: Other than poison ivy, this concentrate can kill over 60 types of tough weeds, brushes, and woody plants. 2 hours after application, the product remains rainproof. Yellowing or wilting can occur within 2 to 6 weeks, and total plant death occurs not long after. Application may be needed for hard-to-kill weeds.

How to Use:

  1. Shield desirable plants by using plastic or cardboard.
  1. When using a tank sprayer, add 4 fluid ounces of product to a gallon of water. If you’re using a dial spray, set the dial to 4 ounces, then for each gallon of spray, add 4 fluid ounces to a sprayer jar without adding any water. 
  1. Remove the cap from the bottle and keep it for storage. Use the coarse spray option to reduce spray drift to desirable plants. Spray the surface of the foliage until it’s thoroughly wet but not dropping. 

Product Dimensions: 2.54″ (length) x 4.76″ (width) x 11.56″ (height), with an liquid volume of 32 ounces.

Brushtox 75260 Brush Killer

Active Ingredients: 61.6% Triclopyr: 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid, butoxyethyl ester

Specifications: This herbicide can control unwanted broadleaf weeds and woody plants, such as poison ivy found in forests, farm buildings, pastures, rangelands, and other potential sites. The container can treat up to an acre’s worth of pesky plants and can even control the resprouting of stumps. Unfortunately, no information is given on its rainproof abilities, if any.

How to Use:

  1. Place a sheet of cardboard or plastic over desirable plants, as this is a non-selective herbicide.
  1. For spray tank use, dilute 1 to 4 quarts of the brush killer to 5 or more gallons of water per acre. You can add a spray thickening agent, surfactant, and additional herbicide before adding the product if desired. Follow the label for the exact amount of product to apply per acre.
  1. Avoid harvesting within 2 weeks after application.

Product Dimensions: 2.27″ (length) x 4.5″ (width) x 8.94″ (height), with a liquid volume of 32 fluid ounces.

IMAGE Brush & Vine Killer

Active Ingredients: 8% Triclopyr (3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyloxyacetic acid), triethylamine salt

Specifications: If you want a product that effectively kills even the toughest brush, vines, weeds, and other woody plants up to their roots and allows no room for regrowth, this herbicide is the best for you. A bonus is that the treated area remains rainproof for the next 24 hours, longer than most herbicidal products! The only downside is that you have to wait up to a month before replanting in the same area.

How to Use:

  1. Cover ornamental shrubs, fruit trees, flowers, vegetables, and other desirable plants with a sheet of plastic or cardboard to avoid damaging them. 
  1. Shake the product well, then dilute 4 to 8 fluid ounces in a gallon of water to cover 500 square feet of area. If you want to spread it in a larger area, just follow the same ratio. 
  1. Leaves will begin to wilt or yellow, turn brown and drop within 1 to 6 weeks. 
  1. When applying to stumps, simply use the product straight from the container without adding any water.

Product Dimensions: 4.5″ (length) x 2.5″ (width) x 9″ (height), with a liquid volume of 32 fluid ounces.

Voluntary Purchasing Group Hi-Yield Brush Killer

Active Ingredients: 8.8% Triclopyr (3,5,6-trichloro-2-Pyridinyloxyacetic acid), as the Triethylamine salt

Specifications: This brush and stump killer is recommended for the complete eradication of vines, broadleaf weeds, and other unwanted woody plants found around homes, fences, buildings, cabins, trails, and other non-crop areas. A major disadvantage of this product is that rainfall within 24 hours after application will reduce the herbicide’s effectiveness.

How to Use:

  1. Cover desirable vegetation and plants with cardboard or plastic.
  1. For best results, apply the product when the leaves are fully grown and active. Air should also be calm to prevent any spray drift.
  1. When killing poison ivy as a vine, cut the vine first, then use a paint brush or a backpack sprayer to apply the product onto the vines without adding any water. When killing it as a shrub, apply the product as a full-coverage foliar spray by diluting 4 to 8 fluid ounces of product into enough water to make a 1-gallon mixed spray inside a tank or hose-end sprayer.

Product Dimensions: 2″ (length) x 3.25″ (width) x 7.25″ (height), with a liquid volume of 16 ounces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Vinegar Kill Poison Ivy?

Vinegar will kill poison, specifically horticultural vinegar, which is usually composed of 20 to 25 percent pure acetic acid or formulated with other ingredients such as water, citric acid, yucca extract, essential oils, Sodium lauryl sulfate, and molasses. 

However, its effectiveness depends on the size of the plant, as plants that have accumulated will need more than one treatment of vinegar. There is also a high chance that the plant can grow new leaves, so herbicides that have glyphosate as an active ingredient are still a better option.

Will Mowing Kill Poison Ivy?

Mowing will kill poison ivy, but it will take a lot of time. Poison ivy populations can be controlled by mowing close to the ground, then followed by plowing or with a cultivated crop.

The latter will starve the roots and pieces of stem that were buried in the process of mowing and can kill them eventually. This method, to be successful, does not require any follow-up herbicide treatment. 

Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Poison Ivy Oil?

Rubbing alcohol can kill poison ivy oil. Once exposed to poison ivy oil, immediately apply rubbing alcohol on the infected area, then wash it with water and soap.

Likewise, you can also apply rubbing alcohol on your clothes and other contaminated surfaces for good measure, but make sure you wear protective gloves while cleaning.  

However, if you have already developed rashes, avoid using rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach as treatment, as these products will irritate the rashes more and cause pain.

What Essential Oil Kills Poison Ivy?

Essential oils cannot kill poison ivy unless they’re formulated in horticultural vinegar. However, they can ease the symptoms of dermatitis that poison ivy causes.

You can use the following essential oils for instant relief and pain alleviation: tea tree, lavender, myrrh, calendula, frankincense, peppermint, eucalyptus, roman chamomile, oregano, cypress, chamomile, and helichrysum.

Poison ivy grows as a deciduous vine or a low-growing shrub. They can cause allergic dermatitis when in direct contact with people and even death when it is ingested and left untreated.

It cannot kill pets or trees but can cause injuries to the latter. You can get rid of them by mowing, using vinegar, or spraying herbicides.

List of Sources

Poison Ivy

A Poison Ivy Primer

Controlling Poison Ivy in the Landscape

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac for Trainers and Supervisors

How to Identify, Avoid and Treat Poison Ivy