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How To Identify Poison Ivy

Last updated : 25 November 2014

I hope you enjoy and learn from my Poison Ivy Video.  My new property has more than it’s fair share of Poison Ivy and I am highly allergic.  This is going to be a challenge, but I’m not one to be deterred easily so I’m sure I’ll trudge ahead and pay the price later.

I know there are people who get really confused trying to identify Poison Ivy, or maybe you’ve never actually seen it or knew what you were looking at.  If this video some how prevents at least one person from getting  a major out break of Poison Ivy, then this video was worth doing.  Enjoy the video.  -Mike

I added another post on how to get rid of the poison ivy after you have identified it!  Click HERE!


    • Frank S says

      I am also very allergic to poison ivy. What has helped me thru the years is after I have done weed wacking, wood cutting etc. is to (as soon as possible) get in a cool(not hot water) shower and use dawn dishwashing soap on a wash cloth. Also use a nuckle brush on your hands(in between fingers, etc.) forearms etc. lather up well and let the dawn stay on your skin for awhile so that it can get the oils of the poison ivy off your skin. Again please use cool water. Hot water will open your pores and let the poison ivy oils in. Scrub up real good and don’t miss any parts of your body, exposed or otherwise. Hope this helps…P. S. Mike keep up the good work on your videos, their GREAT!

      • Jeanie says

        Washing in a cool shower with a detergent is key to getting the oils off your skin. But be careful not to scrub too hard with your fingernails or a brush. This can make small breaks in the skin and introduce the oils into the next tissue layer which can cause a more serious reaction and even an infection. There is a difference between a reaction and being truly allergic as in an antigen/anti-body response. Most people have a reactive dermatitis which is the redness, blistered skin, and itching. Some people additionally have swelling, difficulty breathing and an exaggerated irritation of the skin and may even travel systemically to other parts of the body which would be the allergic reaction. Some argue that this reaction is from the oils being introduced into the bloodstream from breaks in the skin, ie. itching or scrubbing too vigorously or from inadequate removal of oils from your hands as you itch various body parts. As a nurse I’ve cared for people who have inhaled the burn pile smoke and have had serious problems with their lungs.
        I love reading the posts and watching the videos. Thanks for your webmails!

      • LORRIE C says

        I am also allergic to poison ivy and have alot around my home in Indiana.I have learned to wash up in rubbing alcohol after exposure and I do not break out then.Also have washed with lye bar soap and it works too.Thanks for all the tips!

    • Albert says

      Mike… That’s not poison Ivy… it’s called Virginia Creeper, a close relative of Poison oak.. It does happen to produce the oxylates crystals that cause the reaction in so many people.

      I don’t know how to post a picture to this forum, but I’ll send a picture of poison ivy if you will show me how.

      • Karen Kimble says

        Even though the first plant was Virginia Creeper, do not be misinformed, Virginia Creeper can give you a rash as well.

        Best solution for a big patch is a goat! They love to eat that stuff!

      • Julia says

        he showed the difference in Virginia Creeper in another or possibly same video. It has 5 leaflets and yes it does scare people. Just remember this quote: leaves of 3 let it be

  1. Christine L Meyers says

    I am also very allergic. You are too kind to stand that close to show people what it is!
    Hope you did not get any! Thank you for your website and all the information you share.

  2. beachdogkeith says

    If you burn it, be very careful not to breathe the smoke. Poison Ivy can inflame your lungs and give you a very serious problem up to and including death for those that are highly allergic.

  3. MonikaWood says

    Thank you so much for this video! I am very allergic to poison ivy have been all my life. We just moved on a new piece of property in the country and have had to clear the land as we go. I have been hospitalized for contact with the poison ivy. This video was great to show my children so they will see exactly what it is because even them coming in contact can contaminate our home. Also people please be aware that burning poison ivy can be very dangerous to your neighbors if they have a poison ivy allergy. The fumes of the poison ivy oils can get into their lungs and cause anaphylactic shock quite quickly. I know this from experience. Thank you Mike for making this video and putting yourself in harms way to educate people of this vine!

  4. Donna Hill says

    My prayers are with you! We bought 2 1/2 acres 4 yrs. ago and half of it is wooded (a mountain!) and at the woodline was a lot of poison ivy. I am very allergic to it too, and I did get it. I sprayed it with two different poison ivy killers (Roundup and I think one made by Ortho) and got most of it the first year. Got the rest of it the second year. I’ve since walked in the woods without getting it but I don’t really know how long it takes for the dead vines to become harmless. Best of luck with your new property and your “mission” against that stuff. Be careful! Thanks for all your tips, too. I really enjoy them.
    Sincerely, Donna Hill

  5. Chris Lawson says

    I really enjoy your short videos. I am just starting out gardening and have a lot to learn. I definately need to be able to recognize poison ivy since I am surrounded by wood. Thanks for the great information.

  6. Judy Stroud says

    THANKS! I have the creeper all over some front shrubs, couldn’t Round Up for fear of killing the bushes and was afraid to pull it out, even though I’m not allergic (first time for everything). I appreciated the video.

  7. Jeffery Batson says

    Thanks Mike, living her in North Carolina, we have a lot of the poison ivy, but growing up in Chicago I was never exposed to it and no one around me has ever pointed the stuff out to me. I will show this video to my neighbor to give him some education. Always with respect, your friend.

  8. Jan says

    Thanks so much! I didn’t really know what to look for! Your video is a winner…. and so are you! Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Frank Cassianna says

    Thanks Mike for getting in harms way, I appreciate your videos and your knowledge. I’m retired and recovering from back surgery. Thinking of starting something in my backyard, but money now is an issue. So, I’ll be saving up for your re-design of your growing business

  10. Laura Carmichael says


    Thanks for the video. It cleared up a lot of confusion regarding what poison ivy looks like. Thanks again!


    Laura Carmichael

  11. chris says

    Thanks for the Poison Ivy lesson. My husband always gets it and now he knows what it looks like and hopefully will keep away from it. I always when I have been exposed to the Ivy wash with dish soap (like Dawn) and then rinse with cider vinegar. So far I have not ever had Poison Ivy even though I was pulling it up by the roots one early Spring and it finally dawned on me it was the ivy so I did the wash and rinse of above and never got it though I should have been covered with it. Also there is Homeopathic medicine that helps with Allergies to the Ivy. Read about it and see if it could help you so you wouldnt be so allergic. Worth a try since most of England and all of Europe swear by it. Thanks again.

  12. THOR LEBLANC says


  13. hr says

    On poison ivy the first two outward leaves are very close together on the stem. The middle leaf”s stem is noticeably longer. The new leaves at the start of the vine. are small and get larger as the vine grows longer .

  14. Tim says

    My siblings used to get into poison oak when we lived in Oakland, CA during WWII. They suffered quite a bit, but I never “got” poison oak. One time, when I was just four years old, my eight year old brother and his friend picked me up and threw me into a bush/patch of poison oak. I grabed a branch of it and chased them for hours. Sweet revenge!

    Many years later I talked my wife and daughter in to walking with me up a small mountain near San Luis Obispo, CA. On the way down I passed through acres of the stuff with no problem for me. I advised my family to take a long shower in cold water and wash thouroughly and then hot water and wash again. It worked until the wife put their clothes in the washing machine. She used up about a quart of calamine lotion on her arms all the while using some rather strong language describing me and all my ancestors.

  15. Sheri Parker, SW NH says

    Hey, Mike.

    Thanks for this Poison Ivy identifier reminder. (I became allergic last year for the first time at age 51!)

    Would you be willing to say about how to get rid of poison ivy, sumac and oak at some point? I know burning is NOT a good idea at all. Any help would be great!

    Thanks! Sheri

  16. Deb says

    Your tutorial on poison ivy was very good! I appreciated the fact that you actually took us into the field and saw what it looks like growing instead of just showing leaves. \
    I myself am not allergic but my husband is very much so! This has helped me to find and destroy what I can around our property so that he is safe when he does yard work.

    Thank you very much for your hard work, considering that you also are very highly allergic!

  17. Debra Belk says

    FYI Mike…when we were children, we never got poison ivy even when we worked or played in the woods. My mother’s secret was Clorox bleach. She always put a cap full of bleach in our bath water. I have continued that treatment to this day and I am 50 years old. If you come into contact with poison ivy (or even think you have) put a small amount of bleach in your bath water and scrub your skin thoroughly. It kills the resin. You can shower as usual afterwards if you are concerned about smelling like bleach. It really works!

  18. Ian Waxler says

    Wow.. I never saw that smooth leafed variety… a big shock after 1/2 century of stomping in woods… Would be nice to do the extremely, extremely common varmit POISON OAK next!! …

  19. Mike says

    I can’t wait to show this video to my son-in-law.
    As an outdoor neophyte he needs to learn this because we have ton’s of poison ivy in Louisiana.

  20. B Harris says

    Thank you for the poison ivy video. I’m in my sixties and never knew how to identify the nasty, but beautiful stuff.

  21. Harry says

    Be careful when you’re burning off land also. My granddaddy got into the smoke one time and almost died. They had to rush him to the hospital and do a tracheodomy on him. The land he was burning off had poison ivy and poison oak on it.
    That poison oak is tough stuff to kill. I’ve sprayed it and sprayed it, and it still comes back.Have you got any suggestions on how to kill it out for good ?

  22. dana says

    thank you !! I got into poison ivy this spring and oh my!! I have alot of virginia creeper also, so thank you for showing and distingishing between the two. Very informative – I love what you share with all of us out here.

  23. Nancy says

    This was very helpful to me. I’ve been killing Virginia Creeper thinking it’s poison ivy. Thank you very much.

  24. Randi Simon-Serey says

    This was really helpful! Seeing artwork of the vine is not the same as your pointing out details, especially comparing it to Virginia Creeper.

  25. rebecca peterson says

    Thanks as always Mike~~i work a few hours at a nursery/outdoor cafe and do some of the upkeep around the grounds. I actually got into some while cleaning beds and didn’t really know it until MUCH later. It was pointed out to me at a later time and my reply was, “wow, i knew I’d started scratching on my inner arms a few weeks ago, but was clueless as to why”. Well, fortunately, I must have a slight resistance to it, cuz I only had a few little blotches/welps and itched mildly for about a week and that was it. Your video is definitely a big help!

  26. Kat says

    Thanks so much for the video! I’ve never seen Poison Ivy, so this was really helpful. I live in fear of this plant, because I’m sure with my sensitive skin I would be highly allergic and have a horrible time with it, but now I’ll know what to look out for. We’ve enjoyed your new videos; great addition to your page.

    Thanks again!

  27. Don says

    Hi Mike,
    I appreciate the artical. The 3 leaf plant you described in the artical I have idenified in the past as poison oak & a 5 leaf plant simulative to the one you descrbed as poison ivy for years as I also am very alergic to them both. I have fortunately been able to stay clear of the rash & itch for several years now. No discredit to you intended but the 5 leaf plant & the 3 leaf plant that I have will cause me to break out & is making me itch just thinking about it.
    Thanks Don

  28. f battista says

    thanks mike for your information video on poison ivy . im sure you help more then one person identify this plant and stay clear off it. i know all about this plant had 3 very bad encounters with it . like you said it hides on you like a snake in the grass and its on you before you realize it . if your working in tall grass stop at your local drug store and get a bottle of ivy block gel. shower it of at the end of a work day. good luck

  29. kathy says

    I know poison ivy and I know virginia creeper. I have been trying to kill the virginia creeper in my yard for about three years. Most of it is gone. I just pull it up everytime I see it. Is there a better way –without buying a weed killer. I live on an Island and my yards are 80 percent dune grass. I’m trying to get it to 100 percent dune grass.

  30. Anonymous says

    I’m not sure if you have Poison Oak there, but the plant that you filmed and mentioned had a little serrated edge to it but you thought was poison ivy, I’d swear was poison oak. It travels up tree trunks like that and looks exactly like that, slightly jagged edges and all. I grew up in California and there’s a lot of it there. I’m so lucky to have settled in coastal Oregon now, and we have NO poison oak….I can hike with abandon. Thanks for the tutorial on ivy though, I’m not sure if we have that or not. I’ll be on the lookout.

  31. Cliff says

    If you are in the yard & know you came in contact, wipe the affected area with a solvent such as naptha, toluene, gas or diesel and then wash with Fels Naptha. Wash all clothing that comes in contact.
    Roundup won’t kill it. You need the salt in “Poison Ivy Killer” or mix it with Roundup.
    Nasty stuff. I get blisters just looking at it.

  32. Joan says

    Thank you so very much! I am highly allergic to poison ivy too and just shared your video with my husband to help him identify it so he can hopefully rid our property of it. Best wishes to you.

  33. Karen says

    I am allergic to BOTH poison ivy and virginia creeper and have to say the virginia creeper has a worse rash than any ivy I’ve ever had. Now our local nursery has warnings on the creeper that some folks are indeed allergic to it….just wanted to let people know it isn’t harmless to everyone!

  34. The Tinker says

    I have scars from it, there is no instant cure, ” SO DON”T GET IT”.
    being a hunter, in the woods a lot I have found I’m not the only one that has a problem with it .
    By the way if you burn it the smoke is as bad as rolling in it.
    when you know you are going to be in it, pack a bag with “rubbing alcahol ” soap and water.
    when you break for lunch, wash FIRSTwith the rubbing alcahol, THEN with the soap and water.
    wash all exposed skin, wear gloves if you wish but I don’t recamend it, they reinfect you with the oil when you touch yourself or when you put them on and off. wash when you come out for the day or at any break you take that you will be touching any part of your body or eating food or smoking, Internal infection can kill you from suffication and fever.
    the Alcahol will delute the oil on your skin and the soap will remove it. I have used an axe to cut poiison ivy from trees to build deer stands in the spring and summer wearing short sleeve shirts and beleave me it works.
    also if you eat the new pink leaves of the virginia creeper in the spring it will help you from getting the rash from poison ivy so bad. but it takes years to build up the resistance in your system.


  35. ANN BECKER says

    Posion Ivy can be sprayed with a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 Bleach any kind. Plants coated with the spray takes it into its system to the roots and will eventuallly kill the plant. Repeat sprays may be needed. Do in the hot weather so the plant absorbs the bleach mixture quicker. Cover your body, long sleeves, long pants, with no bare skin, TAKE CLOTHES OFF AND PUT DIRECTLY INTO WASHER. Put yourself into bath wash head to toe and add a cap of bleach to your water as Debra Belk suggested. If it rains start all over as the rain can dilute the bleach. this is the cheapest way to get rid of the poision plants, ivy, oak ,sumac etc, Commercial mixes work well , but are more expensive. Mike you are the most thoughtfull gardner to think of helping others who get really confused trying to identify Poison Ivy EVEN AT YOUR OWN RISK! My son is HIGHLY ALLERGIC and has to go to the hospital and then get shots later. WE FOUND THIS METHOD AFTER READING LOTS OF BOOKS AND SO FAR WE HAVE NOT HAD ANY PROBLEMS. THIS METHOD KILLS THE PLANTS AND IS ECO FRIENDLY!

  36. Eva says

    In colder weather you may not see the leaves and a way to recognize poison ivy is this “Hairy rope… stay away, Dope!”

  37. Cindy Conley says

    Thanks for the vidio MIke! I have some virgina creeper growing up the side of my house and thought it was poision ivy. So glad it’s not, but now I can get rid of it without being afraid to touch it. Is that your new tractor I see in the background??? Looks like a Kubota?? I’m so envious :)

  38. robin says

    I found it the hard way, myself:( I found out that once the oil is on your clothes and you then touch the spot on the clothes, you can get reaction from that as well. I noticed that it has also some golden red berries on the vines–stay away from all of it.

    When I see it, I cover up!! I keep thick cowhide gloves that go up to my elbows on hand in a plastic bag and I’m quick to get them out when I see the stuff. The reaction will last for a month and oh what agony!!!

  39. Charlie says

    Thanks for helping people with the identification issues. It is good for all of us to be aware of these noxious plants. I used to live in Michigan, and could ID poison ivy, but a few years ago, moved to Oklahoma and learned the hard way that the Virginia Creeper that grows here is just as noxious as poison ivy! Most Okies don’t know about the three leaf version! I am very susceptible to the resin of all these plants, so I tried using the new skin wash, “IvyBlaster”, to wash away the resin, urushiol out of the skin and it helps the body heal the rash. I use it everytime I get an “itch”, including bug bites, and have been able to stop the rash everytime within hours. The pretreatments are good to use, and need to be re-applied often, but if they fail and the rash appears, IvyBlaster is the best!

  40. Dennis says

    Found to be most informative, understand your comment “three leaves leave it be”, but when found in an area where it must be removed give a method. Thanks

  41. Anonymous says

    Don’t burn it. My husband and son, who have low reactions to it, put on gloves, plastic bags over their shoes, and Tyvek suits available at the hardware store and pulled it up by the roots and bagged it into the trash. After one season of pulling it up assiduously, we have only a couple of shoots to pull up this second year. DO NOT GET ANYWHERE NEAR POISON IVY WITH BROKEN SKIN. I made the mistake of pulling on some roots and vines of an unidentified plant (PI!) after getting scratches on my forearms pulling those little invasive roses — and the resin went directly into my blood stream. It took steroids to lick the rash and hives I got that time. And a friend’s husband did exactly the same thing down in N. Carolina with the same bad results. Maine Gardener

  42. Maine Gardiner says

    Don’t burn it. My husband and son, who have low reactions to it, put on gloves, plastic bags over their shoes, and Tyvek suits available at the hardware store and pulled it up by the roots and bagged it into the trash. After one season of pulling it up assiduously, we have only a couple of shoots to pull up this second year. DO NOT GET ANYWHERE NEAR POISON IVY WITH BROKEN SKIN. I made the mistake of pulling on some roots and vines of an unidentified plant (PI!) after getting scratches on my forearms pulling those little invasive roses — and the resin went directly into my blood stream. It took steroids to lick the rash and hives I got that time. And a friend’s husband did exactly the same thing down in N. Carolina with the same bad results. Maine Gardener

  43. Twocents says

    My son-in-law, in the past 2 years, has had poison ivy 4 times. He says he can identify it – I think not. He couldn’t even get another from the doctor because he said it would cause brain damage having shots too close together!? And every time he gets it, it takes longer to go away – and I’m talking all over his body – the oil from the plant spreads to other parts of your body that you touch. I just stay covered and avoid any plants that have 3 leaves – better safe then having a bright red rash all over you ……………

    • Cindy in Vermont says

      I used to get poison ivy rash badly but began taking Rhus Toxicum in pellet form, homeopathic treatment. Can be taken when you get into the stuff and helps to clear away quicker but i began taking it and now find myself resistant to getting it. We live with poison ivy all around the house. Cat used to bring it to me. I may be a little off on the name, the Toxicum part but the Rhus is correct. Can abe found online at or in health food stores. Good luck. By the way, severe rashes that last a long time and leave scars probably is from wild parsnip. Sap from that plant mixed with sun and sweat is a miserable combination. Eat roots but don’t get the plant sap on you in the day light. great plant, nasty reaction to everyone, no one is immune to parsnip.

  44. Gary Peterson says

    Thanks for the video and all that you do…I have learned more from you about gardening than from anyone else and I’m from Iowa! God Bless you for sharing

  45. Cheryl says

    It changes seasonally too. Also a very important note is that you might be alergic and not know it. People’s tolerance to it changes and you might be alergic now even though you didn’t used to be. Always be aware!! A GREAT after the exposure product is called ZANFEL. It is expensive but it is so worth the money. It’s cheaper than a doctor call.

  46. Clare says

    I actually got poison ivy this past January. Our town was cutting down trees on the side of the road and a group of us were loading the logs into our truck. I picked up some wood but my boyfriend said it was a vine and it wouldn’t burn well in our fireplace. That night my face swelled up and the dermatologist I went to the next day couldn’t identify it. Well, that was a poison ivy vine that had just been cut down so the oils were running. It wasn’t for a few days when my arms, hands and legs stated to itch that we realized what I did. So, don’t think just because it’s not summer you can’t get it.

  47. Nancy says

    I had had poison ivy several times and then I found out about Rhus tox. If you have any idea that you have been exposed to any one poison oak, ivy or sumac start imediately taking Rhus tox (4 little white pills under your tounge, children take 2) every 4 hours and you will nip this in the bud right away. I bought my Rhus tox from Luxties Homeopathy. I purchased on line and received it very quickly . I have told many people about this and they thank me for this tip many times over. Try it and you will be giving this tip out too!

  48. Nancy says

    Thanks for sharing with us, Mike. Way back in Biology I over 30 years ago I learned the “leaves of 3, let it be” saying. I still am not totally successful at spotting poison ivy. I would like to add one other thing about it. NEVER BURN POISON IVY to get rid of it. Apparently the part that people are allergic to becomes airborn if you burn it. I nearly killed an elderly neighbor when I burned a patch of it as a new bride. She was working in her yard. She endedup in the hospital with poison ivy in her eyes, ears, and even in her mouth and lungs. Being severly allergic to poison ivy, this attacked her without her knowing it.

    Thanks again,

  49. tarheelgraver says

    Thanks for the great video! I hope it helps lots of people identify this nasty plant. Concerning the Virginia Creeper- my brother is allergic to it, but I’ve never had a problem. In the south a lot of people incorrectly call poison ivy poison oak. My understanding is that poison oak has rounder leaves and grows on the west coast. Poison ivy is an east coast plant.

    Several products that I recommend are “tecnu” products made by Tec Labs, and “Poison Ivy Pills” made by Washington Homeopathic Products. I would suggest that every outdoors-person keep “tecnu” in their backpack or tackle box. It can be used to cleanse and decontaminate skin and clothing. The “Poison Ivy Pills” are homeopathic, so they contain a small amount of PI leaves. They’re tiny little pills that melt on the tongue and are supposed to help build your natural resistence to urushiol. Also, a lot of folks here in the south swear by Jewelweed. The leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin. Tecnu and Poison Ivy Pills can be found at most drugstores.

    I’d also like to warn everyone about contamination from their pets. The plant oils get on pet fur and can be transferred to you. Thanks to everyone that posted. Happy gardening!

    • Lynn says

      it does not matter…the same oil urushiol is in both & that is what people are allergic to. same goes for poison sumac.

  50. Anonymous says

    I was in my 40’s when I began to react to it and got weeping blisters all over my body and would require shots to dry it up. I now keep a bar of lye soap (available at folk-craft sites) and if I see that first tiny bump or streak on my body I wash with it, rinse, then leave a soapy film; repeat every hour or so for a couple of times and it disappears completely. Thanks for the video.

  51. Anonymous says

    From my experience, for poison ivy, three shiny leaves is only the first stage of identification. Also observe that the connection NODES of the leave stems to the main vine are usually RED or DARK RED IN COLOR. This is a vital clue to identification. The size and shape of the leaves can be deceiving, but they usually are shiny. Also, poison ivy usually grows within some shade. Rarely grows in full sun. This information is for poison ivy only. I have no experience with poison oak!

  52. Mary says

    Like you I am very allergic to poison ivy, but I seldom get it anymore. There is a company named Boiron that manufactures homeopathic remedies. Their remedy for joint pain (that is improved by motion) is actually made from poison ivy. These tiny pills come in a tube about the size of a chapstick, you take about 5 of them and dissolve them under your tongue. What I have discovered is that not only does it help my aching shoulders, it acts like a vaccination to the poison ivy. If I take it before I go into the woods, and as soon as I realize I have come in contact – then I don’t get the rash. If I’m careless and already have developed the rash and then take the little pills, it seems to speed up the drying process and is a whole lot less painfull than the full strength chlorox my mother always dumped over it, after she scrubbed it with a brush to open it up. You can get these tiny wonders from a health food store – they cost about $7.00 a tube. There are many different kinds so you have to look for the Rhus toxicodendron on the tube. While you are in the health food store – look for a product called Ivy Dry – this is a cream you rub this on the rash and it helps speed the drying too. I’d rather prevent it than heal it though so the homeopathic remedy is my choice. There are other homeopathic brands but Boiron is the one I am the most familiar with.
    PS – I really enjoy your emails. Since I spend more time behind a desk than in the garden, I live vicariously through your emails.

  53. Geo. in Hudson Valley, NY says

    Frank S, Donna Hill, Thor L — good comments. Frank’s advice, “(as soon as possible) get in a cool(not hot water) shower and use Dawn dishwashing soap …” is great advice — I use Dawn to wash up always after working near the woods and I try to clean my tools and gloves and boots as well. The oils stay on clippers, loppers, rakes and shovels, gloves and shoes and clothes and jewelry forever. (Be very careful about rubbing your eyes or touching your face or swatting skeeters when working near poison ivy or after handling tools, gloves or clothes that might have been exposed!)

    Thor is right about poison oak — I think it is even worse than poison ivy, but I think the leaves look like oak leaves more than ivy leaves. Donna — congrats at getting the stuff out in 2 years. Up in the forests of NYS, this plant is horrible and returns over and over again.

    Mike — I think some people can be alergic to Virginia Creeper — i think I am. I think I also get a reaction to japanese knotweed when I break the stems and try to pull up those huge weeds. have you ehard of that before? Finally, Mike, when i lived in Bucks Co. PA, I saw an ivy that looked like tobacco. The leaves were over a foot each! Guess what? Right! It was poison ivy! My worst case ever came from working near that.

    Finally, another rhyme from my sister who teached environmental science: “Wooly rope — don’t be a dope — poison ivy” After hearing that, I lost all of my former curiousity about pulling on vines that had a hairy appearance. Have been a better person because of that advice!

  54. Cheryl Smith-Bell says

    Goats are the easiest way to clean up a place, dfg/.when there is a large area, if you have good fence! LOL They love it, and you will get it on you from them if you handle them. Even your dogs will get the oil on you.
    We had Nubian goats and I would get it on my forearms after catching them, but only if I forgot to go in and wash good. Our dogs also had long ears and they would get it on me and I would not think about washing and then I’d get it again!
    I found that I could mix a few cc of cortisone in pure aloe gel and use it every few hours the first few days and it would go away. Also if you’d use ice to scratch with it will break the itch cycle. Hope this helps someone!

  55. cliffordbigredog says

    Thanks Mike , I have a great deal of Virginia creeper here in the Blue Ridge Mtns Virginia, I thought it was poison Ivy. I;m not effected unless I get into it with a weed eater, again, I’m very careful now. I do have some in my strawberry patch, it blends real well, I have to keep it at bay for the kids.

  56. Albert says

    The easiest and safest way to remove any of the poison plants is called ROUNDUP. A strong solution with a little dish soap (Dawn) stirred in and then sprayed on the leaves with an old used spraygun like a well-rinsed windex bottle. Always wear latex gloves and spray with the wind to your back.

    The ROUNDUP will kill the vine in a week or so. Carefully pull out and burn the roots and dead vines wearing long sleeve shirt and gloves. Be sure to stay out of the smoke. Afterwards, bathe carefully and wash the inside-out clothes in hot water with strong detergent to remove the allergen. (Inside out clothes protects the person doing the laundry and will not diminish the wash)

  57. TrishSzyp says

    Rhus toxicodendron is very effective for treating PI exposure. Better still, if taken at the beginning of the season, a stronger dose (200c) will provide immunity for 4-6 weeks. 200c strength is not available over the counter and can only be obtained from a naturopath (Dr. of Naturopathy). and NO! taking more pellets of a milder strength like 30c or 30x will not give the effect of 200c. Homeopathy works on the principle of “like cures like” – so rhus toxicodendron is actually from poison ivy – works like an immunization. Thanks Mike for the wonderful videos and newsletter! I really enjoy it!

  58. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the video. I always manage to get into poison ivy. I also found another tidbit for mango lovers – the skin of a mango has the same type oil as poison ivy. I made the mistake of eating off the skin and got a nasty reaction on my face. I would like to know how to get rid of the ivy too.

  59. Anonymous says

    Hi Mike
    A friend of mine was calling wisteria poison ivy… Maybe I can show this to her and get her squared away.
    p.s. I was exposed to smoke with burning poison ivy in it (about 40 years ago), I am still very allergic to poison ivy (and yes, I can identify it).
    Thanks for the great videos, website adn especially for the weekly information that you take the time to share.
    L. White
    Pensacola, FL

    • says

      You’re welcome, I do this because I know people appreciate it and that’s enough to keep me going. My son Duston is now working with me and he does all of the video editing. I used to do it but could never make the time. So you’ll see a lot more video from us in the future.

  60. Maria says

    Thank you So much for makeing the video on Poison Ivy. I’ve always been afraid I would accidently run into the stuff. Anything I couldn’t identify I dug out and toss it out with the trash.
    Now that I know what it looks like . I am more confident working in my garden.
    If you could do some videos on poison sumac , that would be great……I don’t know what they look like either!
    Thanks for all you put on your site. Keep up the great work.

    • says

      Patti, me either. I do what I can to steer away from it, but I don’t let it stop me from doing what needs to be done. Probably should, but I don’t.

  61. Jerry Gen says

    Thanks for that informative video. I’m going to show it to my wife so shecan recognize the poison ivy. Thanks again.

  62. roy says

    excellent video !!! I hope you would enlighten us with videos of poison oak and sumac which as poisonous as poison ivy. Thank You.

    • says

      Roy, I hear a lot about poison oak and poison sumac but around here I don’t think we have near as much of those two as people think we do. Personally I think they unkowingly get into poison ivy then swear that they have poison sumac. Just my thoughts.

  63. Gary says

    TY for the video….alas I found out the hard way that I was very allergic…after a big trip into the brush looking for mushrooms…drank lots of water, trying to get a kidney stone to move…I crawled around on my hands/knees, after finding the little grey mushrooms 2″ tall and hard to see….then deciding that I needed to relieve myself…had to have a doctor, give me a shot to get the swelling down.
    After doing some research I also have found that all the places that I USED to enjoy going to, have large sections of this dreadful plant…my best fishing hole, even the walk path(ON both sides)….be careful, if you see little trees growing in your eavetroughs, as the climbing vines can go up the downspout…and replant themselves in the warm humus that you have in the eavetroughs…..another bad spot to watchout for…your neighbors climbing trellis’s, with the beautiful climbing vines, with all the colorful little white berries ( this plant was huge…as she watered and cared for(with fertilizer)…thinking she had found a really pretty plant)
    Thanks again!!!

  64. Pat says

    When we moved to Arkansas, a local gave us this remedy. She was part Indian and said it was common with Indians. In the spring, have someone who is not allergic cut 4 poison ivy plants. Cut off the leaves. Chew the stems for a short time and then SPIT THEM OUT. Works on the same principle as the homeopathic remedy. I was very allergic before that time. Worked for me.

    • says

      Pat, this sounds like a dangerous game to play. I’ve heard of people getting poison ivy in their bloodstream as well as internally.

  65. says

    Thanks to all of you that commented on this video and the others as well. I would also like to thank you providing additional information that helps others. I reply to as many comments as I can, but with time beng the elusive monster that it is, sometimes I don’t get to many of them.

  66. California Lee says

    When I learned that oil-covered sea birds were best treated with Dawn, I started using it after every exposure to poison oak. As previously directed: cool water, rub in until you are covered with a white lather. I’ll try the suggestion to rinse with cider vinegar.

    Technu is expensive and oily. Don’t like it on my skin and it gets on my field notes and field guides.

    If you do get it, as stated, Clorox does help. What i like best is aloe gel with lidocane, meant for severe sunburn. The aloe gel is drying, as is calamine lotion. The lidocane stops the pain. Forget about those cortisone creams – they keep the rash moist and itching. Also, warm, not hot, bath using Aveeno (made from oatmeal). I’ve heard of some who went to a welder and had him use his Oxygen torch on the rash (not lit!) (Clorox works by oxidizing)

    To control: we noticed that my husband got better results using a concentrate in a sprayer than I got using the pre-mixed spray bottle. He probably added more concentrate than he should have with much better results. We use Ortho’s Brush be Gone.

    Learn to recognize it in winter. Stems are a bit orange, curve upwards, you can see some of the little adventitious root hairs (help it climb trees) at the nodes, and the white berries. My 12-yr. old daughter chased a ball into a thicket of leafless poison oak in December and her face swelled up so that she resembled a balloon with slant eyes painted on it.

    My aunt dog-sat for a St. Bernard that drank out of the toilet bowl. Guess where she got a bad rash!

    My father got a severe sunburn on top of a poison ivy rash – his back was scarred for life!

    Thanks to those who posted about homeopathic remedies, esp. the one for shoulder aches.

    Poison oak/ivy are in the same familty as mangoes and cashews. My husband’s face swelled and throat started to close up after eating a raw mango shake. In Panama, they make shakes from the flesh of the cashew fruit. I warned him against drinking it. Benadryl helps.

  67. Charlie says

    I’d like to warn those here that ingesting the Rhus as a method of immunization is a terrible risk, many people have ended up in the hospital with internal PI contamination. Being careful by covering yourself well while digging out the weeds and roots, then washing with strong detergents immediately after (it can take anywhere from one to thirty minutes for the resin to absorb into the skin!) Also, bleach is not an answer…VERY poisonous to our systems and can burn and scar the dermal layer, there is a skull and crossbones on the label for a reason!
    Using products that claim “drying up” the weeping blisters is a nice idea, but you need to REMOVE the resin from your skin, not just cover it. Zanfel claims the removal of the resin, but at $40 an oz. is quite expensive. With IvyBlaster, I only need to put a couple of drops on the rash, rub it on the infected spots until the “itch” goes away, then I rinse it off. It is amazing how fast the rash heals! I now use it on anything that itches, including mosquito and bug bites, and it actually makes the bite disappear! I keep it handy anywhere I go!

  68. Cathleen says

    Maybe someone else already added this, but I didn’t read every comment.

    There are TWO poems to remember:
    Leaflets three, let it be.
    Hairy vine, no friend of mine.

    Poison ivy has a distinctive hairy vine that you can see in part of Mike’s video.
    We spent this spring battling the poison ivy in our yard. We had mother vines that were as big around as a softball. We carefully severed them by not just cutting them, but by removing a CHUNK so that it could not reconnect itself.
    Everywhere we saw leaves, we sprayed them with RoundUp’s Poison Ivy killer.
    After a few days, all of the leaves from the mother vines we severed started raining down so we were careful not to mow the lawn until the leaves were completely dried.
    Once dry, the oil doesn’t cause (as much) irritation.

    I imagine that next spring we will see some more poison ivy popping up, but with the mother vines gone, it will be much more manageable.

    Oh, and don’t believe what some vets say that dogs don’t get poison ivy. They do!!
    It usually doesn’t penetrate their coats, but you can get it just by touching their fur after they’ve brushed up against it. Also, the dogs suffer just as much as we do if it gets on their more sensitive areas. Both our dogs had itchy snouts and itchy bellies last year.

    I hope this helps!

  69. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the great video.
    Can you someday do one on poison sumac?
    Would the liquid from plaintain plants help with the itch and rash from poison ivy? it definitely helps stop itch from mosquito bites!

    • says

      If I ever figure out what poison sumac looks like I’ll happily do a video. All of the sumac I encounter must not be poisonous because I don’t react to it.

  70. M. Ann says

    My husband had Poison Ivy last season, and it was an extremely bad case,,the oatmeal baths, and a person who markets creams and lotions at our local Farmer’s Market, Scranton, Pa., had Lavendar Palmarosa with Msm, and emu creams and they were a blessing…this is really important for all to know…Thank You so very much

  71. Denise Donahoe says

    After getting the itchy rash you can run very hot water ( as hot as you can stand and not burn you ) over it for a few minutes. It will itch like crazy while under the water. But afterward it will not itch for about 8 hours. It causes you to release many histamines all at once. I have been doing it for years after a pharmacy doc. told me about it.

    • says

      That’s interesting. I always did the opposite. I hope I never get to try it, but fat chance of that. I was at the nursery last night looking at an area that I’d like to clear and it has poison ivy vines with the biggest leaves I’ve ever seen!

    • Donna says

      Be careful with the hot water. I used hot water on my rash because I read that it reduces histamine that causes the itching but that caused worse problems, thickening skin and my rash lasted for 4 months. After a trip to my dermatologist she recommended ice packs for itching and that worked. I read 1 post that said if you scratch with an ice cube it works, good advice but be gentle. The video was helpful. TY and the post were informative too. TY.

  72. Sue Gartner says

    Mike, Thanks for making the video. I also am very allergic and can appreciate the fact that you were getting up close and personal to the bad stuff.

  73. Pal says

    Mike: Thanks for the very informative video on poison Ivy. I will show it to my grand children. In 1950, in India, I had a contact with some plant in the mountains and got the rash. Another person hiking with me told me to look for a plant, the look alike of spinach close to the plant which gave me the rash and rub the juice of that plant on the rash. The juice neutralize it in a very short time. There the two plants are close to each other. I don’t know if that is true for poison Ivy, in the US. I like the idea of using the Homeopathic remedy Rhus Tox..

  74. donna gagne says

    A friend of mine uses bleach. I she spots a small patch starting on her hands of forearm she will dab it with a cotton ball with bleach on it and it dries it right up. If she has alot she gets stuff but for a little she uses the beleach. I have tried it also and it worked on me as well Use good judgement on trying it tho. Try a small spot first to be sure the cure isn’t worse the the rash.

  75. ron frederick says

    poison ivy and poison oak are the same plant. it grows in ivy form when it has something to crawl up. it grows in shrub (aka, poison oak) form when it grows in the open. while almost everyone can get poison ivy rash, i have never heard of virginia creeper causing any type of reaction unless you are specifically allergic to it like chocolate or peanuts.

  76. Mari says

    Thought you might enjoy this story. My seven year old son got poison ivy so bad on part of his face he looked quite the stunner. While at the pediatrician’s office seeking a shot for such a bad case the doctor quized my son if he knew what poison ivy looked like. My son looked perplexed but quickly told the doctor as the pointed to his face that it looke “like this!”

    I thought it was hilarious but the doctor was miffed. My son further went on to describe all the stages of poison ivy including the early pre-leafing stage. Our doctor then gave me a lecture on keeping my child away from poison ivy and I wanted to say living out in the country with woods everywhere I was glad we only have to come to him about once a year. Mild cases we treat at home but when it is systemic we have to get the shots.

  77. Patricia says

    The information on poison ivey is of tremendous help to me as I have never seen the plant before but have always been afraid of it. Thank you Mike for your time and effort in keeping your readers informed about the various issues. I read or watch your videos but don’t always have the time to leave a comment. Today I made the time to leave a comment!!!

  78. Carol says

    Thanks for the video. I have a question About your system. How large of an inside space can you work with for cuttings in the winter. I live in northeast Ohio as you do. Do you need growing lights etc.?

  79. Jeanne says

    Thank you for the video. All true and to the point. My neighbor has it every spring and summer and when I spot some now coming under the fence I put on the good vinyl disposable medical gloves and pull it up by the roots (being very, very careful to not let it get on my arms) and then discard gloves and all into a separate plastic bag before discarding into the trash so that they won’t get it or spread it either. I’m starting to itch just thinking about it. Thank you for all your info. It has been very helpful.
    -Northeast Texas- J.Y.

  80. Sam says

    Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, they all in the same family. It’s like Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, they all in the same family. If it has 3 leaves, it is poison. Remember what the 3 leaves stand for: I AM POISON. Three Words. I have seen Virgina Creeper growing with one little plant of poison Ivy growing with it. It grows together, but remember. I AM POISON . You dont have to remember nothing else.

  81. Jerri says

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for this video. I live in NC and it is everywhere here. I have tons in my yard. Here we see another plant that always grows in the same area as Poison Ivy, Jewel Weed. Many people make a poultice out of it and keep it handy as it is a neutralizer for the poison. It works for some, but not me. The Jewel Weed gets really pretty little orange flowers that are blooming right now actually.
    I am so allergic and the only thing that works for me is plain old cheap white vinegar. I splash it all over before I come into the house if I even suspect I may have come in contact with it, but if I start to itch I splash it on again, all over my arms and legs. I let it dry on, and then wash it off with Burt’s Bee’s soap for Poison Ivy. This combination works for me. Before I would have to go to the doctor for prescriptions to get rid of it, I got it that bad. Maybe this will also work for some of your other readers.

  82. Bonnie says

    Thanks, Mike-my huband has always told me it has to have blisters on the leaf to be allergic, but we ALL know that’s not the case. I’m sitting here now with it on my legs, ear, neck, stomach . In years past, I’ve had to go on steroids to get over an attack, but until then,I have another suggestion for you all- wipe affected areas with white vinegar. You’ll smell like a salad, but it does take away the itch for awhile, and since it ‘s an antiseptic, it keeps the area clean. Works well with itchy bug bites, too. There’s some really good tips on this site- I also hope I can help at least ONE person.

  83. Bonnie says

    Cats also get the oil on their fur-I had an outdoor cat , BOO, years ago- and I could’nt touch her ,or let her rub against me at all during the warm months, because I would get it so bad.

  84. Okie Albert says

    I was blessed by not being very sensitive to the stuff… I could clear brush or burn the poison ivy and it seldom made me break out in a rash. When it did, I found that a good hard scrub with Lava brand soap (with pumice) would cut through the oils and defoliate my skin, removing the sap containing the active ingredient.

    There is only one sure way to prevent getting poison ivy reactions… stay indoors and don’t pet the dogs.

    To kill out the vines, simply turn a herd of goats into the area. After a few weeks, they will have ALL of the brush under control to about 6 feet up. Goats will get fat where deer would starve to death.

  85. Frances Galbreath says

    I have poison ivy, but I have an invasive weed that is driving me crazy trying to eradicate it. This is a prolific weed that has taken over my one-acre garden since I bought extra compost in late spring from a commercial company. It has tiny seeds along the back of the multileaf midrib. Can you identify it for me? I’ve attached a photo, and I haven’t been able to find it on the internet. Your assistant mentioned it might be crownvetch, but it doesn’t look exactly like that. The leaf stems occur in twos, alternating on opposite sides on the main stem. How can I get a photo to you? (I sent one to your email address.)

  86. Bill Yost says

    Thanks Mike. Poison Ivy dosen’t take on me, but my wife breaks out if she is anywhere around it. Thanks to your video she now knows what it looks like.

    • Kathy says

      Bill, tell your wife I can sympathize with her. I know what poison ivy looks like, but my cat doesn’t. He’ll come in contact with it in his
      daily travels and then I get it from his fur. Just noticed a fresh outbreak on my arms yesterday and I know I haven’t been anywhere
      near a poison ivy plant myself.

      Kathy Anderson
      Mike’s Assistant

  87. Jeannette says

    Oh boy, do I hate Poison Ivy. I am very allergic to it also. Since I love the outdoors and am not going to let it stop me from working outside, I have learned to : Carry alcohol wipes in my pocket or pack, clean all my tools with Dawn, wear disposable gloves if I’m pulling weeds or raking and put them in a plastic bag in the trash, hang a bar of fels naptha or lye soap in an onion bag by the water spout, pour salt on any roots of it I find, never burn it, stay away from it if I can.
    The oil-urishiol-will stay active for years on tools if not cleaned.
    Thank you for all the wonderful remedies in the event I do get the rash. Thanks Mike for the video.

  88. Hugh Pierce, Vermont says

    Thanks for the video! I have no problem finding the darn stuff but you say Round-up doesn’t rid the oils of the plant? How then, do you kill this plant? My entire family is allergic to the vine and I have been using Roundup. Can you suggest something else?

    Thanks, Hugh Pierce, Jericho, Vt.

  89. Mary, Arkansas says

    Thanks for the video…I was very careful just yesterday with my suspicions. You just confirmed what I thought was poison ivy! Evidently I am not allergic to it. I have been in the middle of it number of times without precautions! My husband & son however have not been so lucky!

  90. Belinda, CA. says


  91. Lee Becker-Strohm says

    Hi Mike: Mike, generally where ever you find Poison Ivy, you’ll find the Jewel weed. If you happen to get the poison ivy OILS on your skin, find your jewel weed. Yank that sucker out of the ground, crush it between your hands to break open the stems that will release its liquid. Take the crushed wet plant and rub it over where the poison ivy is on your skin. RUB RUB RUB!!!!! If you happen to get into a nest of nettles, do the same thing. ” I ” am proof positive that this stuff works!!! IF you are not able to find the jewel weed…be SURE to take a really good good shower before going to bed. . Hope this helps!!!
    Lee in KY

  92. Lorsonline says

    About 9 yrs. ago I got a a very severe dose of what the MD said might have been both Poison ivy and oak. What I had on my arms they said was not the same as what was on my legs. It was infected. No lotions, potions or Rxs seemed to be curing it. I nearly went crazy trying to rid myself of this CURSE which it really is–it’s from the devil, I swear. If I am outside working in the garden areas now, I have on gloves, long sleeves, long pants and my feet are covered with rubber garden shoes. When I come in, I take a shower and wash my hair too. Someone asked how to get rid of it–roundup is really not adequate, in my opinion. We had a thick, heavy bunch of it growing up a pine tree when we lived in NJ and I had a professional week control company spray it and kill it fully when they were there for their routine weed control in our stone landscaping. Funny thing is some people seem to be immune to the stuff and others only need walk by it or breath near it. As I said, it’s the weed straight from hell.

  93. Mike Hughes says

    I had an uncle tell me once. If I wanted to get rid of my allergy to Poison Ivy to put some leaves in milk and drink it. I did and boy did I get an infestation of it in my digestive tract. Very painful as I remember. Poison Oak looks very much like Virginia Creeper. It has 5 leaves as well. I have to watch out for it as well.

  94. Rose Ferguson says

    One day, when I had a bad case of ivy blisters, I wrote down every idea
    From the Internet that might stop the itching. I accidentally noticed that
    Tom’s of Maine anti-perspirant in my cabinet had many of the ingredients on my list, being absolutely crazed with itching, I would have tried ANYTHING on it, so I rubbed the deodorant stick on the rash. Within a short time, the itching stopped ! Being that this could have been a coincidence, I waited until the itching returned, hours later, then I rubbed it on again, same thing happened …. Itch disappeared. I wrote to Tom’s of Maine about it, but they never answered. The product I used was Lemongrass natural long-lasting deodorant roll on with zinc ricinoleate, aloe, witch hazel, clay, chamomile and coriander. I wish someone else would try it, so I could find out if it really works for others, too.

  95. Andee says

    Do NOT eat poison ivy. I have been told for years that if I chew up three leaves, swallow the juice & spit out the leaves, I would become immune to poison ivy. This year I decided to try it because with all the rain we got during the spring, we are overrun with it. I chewed one leaf. I had a rash on my lips, in my mouth, down my throat, into my esophagus and in my stomach. The was back in May. I am still having stomach problems because of it. I don’t know if I became immune because I have avoided it all summer long. I am not going to test it out to see.

  96. Andee says

    This is nothing to do with poison ivy. I have tiny daises growing in my front garden and I can’t get rid of them. I have tried pulling them up, but I get more. I try to get all the roots from each plant, but they are spreading all over my garden. I even tried Round UP to no avail. Please tell me how to get rid of these weeds!

  97. Sandy Washburn says

    Just want to thank everyone for the great comments about poison Ivey. Just bought a lot of land here in Alabama (poison ivey grows and grows like wild fire) started clearing it off. All of these comments will help as we (I know we will) get into some of it.

  98. Phyllis says

    I haven’t read all the sites but poison ivy is readily identifiable in the fall. The leaves turn red and it has beautiful red berries. That is sometimes the only way to find it since it grows among many other things. You also may get rid of it one year but keep looking for it in the same place a year or so later – it comes back!!

  99. Garry A. says

    Here’s a tip that might help with the woes of poison ivy. Find someone willing to tie their milk goats up in a poison ivy patch or pick it and feed it to them. I prefer the latter since it won’t get on their udders and cause a problem when milking. The goats will eat it like it’s candy, then drink the milk after it’s gone through their system. It’s not only good milk but prevents you from catching the poison ivy. Believe me , it works.


  100. says

    In my younger days, I too was extremely sensitive to Poison Ivy. However, one summer I worked for a crude oil pipeline to earn money for college. They made a serum available that I took, mixed with water, on a specific schedule. To this day I have never had another case of poison ivy reaction.

    Guess it worked … spent that summer wading in the stuff and never had a reaction. Nor have I had a reaction since that summer.

    Now why don’t we see anything like that in local stores? It was available over forty years ago.

  101. Esther says

    Thanks for the video. I always get poison ivy and it is not very pleasant. As a child I only identified it as growing along the ground. Now in my new yard I did find it grows up the trees and looks different like you stated in your video. Thanks so much!

  102. Steve Tennessee says

    Mike: great video, we have a plant here they call a jew weed, you can boil it and it will make poison disappear on you. Thanks again, Steve in Tn.

  103. Kathy says

    Okay, I read all of these posts and I didn’t see the one thing that helps me when I get poison ivy. It doesn’t make it go away faster (usually takes about a week), but it helps a LOT with the itching. I take Loratadine (generic Claritin) once in the morning and once at night. Loratadine is much cheaper and you can usually buy it at low-cost grocery stores like Aldi’s. By the way, anytime you get warmed up (like when you’re sleeping at night) the itch will increase. I get up and run cold water on my hands, wrists, arms, whatever, and it calms the itch down.
    I have used Xanfel and it is great. It is expensive, but you really only have to use about a 1″ squeeze out of the tube.
    Yes, I know what poison ivy looks like, but I’m a professional gardener, so sometimes I just have to deal with it. I find that if I can just pluck it from the ground with my fingertips, I don’t usually get it (tips are calloused). Also, if you walk in it, you can get it when you tie your shoes later! I have been known to throw my work boots in the laundry in desperation! Nasty stuff. Thanks to others for the hints about alcohol wipes and stuff. MAJOR thanks to Mike for thinking of us and making these great videos!

  104. greybeardmike says

    I use a product called Oral Ivy by Boericke & Tafel. You can buy it on You can use it as a preventitive or to reduce symptoms after exposure. I start taking it every spring and never get a reaction anymore. It just takes a few drops in a glass of water every day for a few days to to a week to build up the immunity. This works great for me — check it out.

  105. Carol Johnson says

    Mike, I have several HUGE Myer Lemon trees and I do not know how to prune the. This year they are just covered with lemons and are just hanging on the ground. My friend that use to help me passed away and my trees are just pitaful and i dont know what to do. I live in lower Alabama.I sure could use your help!!!They are begining to turn but I have had to cut lots of them off due to hanging on the ground. Please reply. Thank you. [email protected]

    • Carol Snyder says

      I don’t know about the pruning of meyer lemons but I do have a suggestion about all the extra fruit. when I lived in Az the food banks knew people who would come and pick the fruit to donate so you might want to give them a call when you have more than you can use.

  106. Rod Hoskin says

    This isn’t about poison ivy but I didn’t know where else to ask. I want to kill off most, (if not all) of my invading hordes of vinca major.
    I’ve trie Bayers brush kiler, Round up, and even some lantern fuel ( No matches were struck in this experiment) the only thing that seemed to do any damage was the lantern fuel.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Rod.

    • says

      Rod, I wouldn’t use the lantern fuel it will contaminate the soil. I’d physically remove as much as I could, rototill the soil, then spray a generic herbicide that contains glysophate as needed until the vinca is gone. You have to spray when the new growth first emerges and is soft and tender. Once it hardens off it’s not as likely to absorb and translocate the herbicide.

      Of course you can skip the herbicide, remove all the vegetation, til the soil really well, put down cardboard and a heavy layer of mulch over that. That should do the trick.

  107. Mike Beasley says

    Thanks for the info about poison ivy. I always get it every year! We have a new bush that has showned up and I was told it is worst than Poison Ivy. It’s a small looking flower very pretty, andit’s orange and yellow in color. It’s also growing on a vine. The flowers are about 2inches in diametor. Do you have any idea as to just what this may be? Also one of the best ways to get rid of Poison Ivy is a product called TechNu Xtreme. This has worked so good for me. Thanks Mike

  108. Judi says

    For any of you who want to get rid of poison ivy or other weeds and you are EVER going to grow something you plan to eat–herbs, roses, veggies, etc. — pour boiling water with a big handful of kosher or rock salt mixed in just on what you want to kill. Sometimes it takes multiple treatments but you will not poison yourself, your family or pets.

  109. says

    I follow the rule of thumb “Leaves of three, let it be”. I don’t have an allergy to it though, fortunately. But I can never pick out sumac (spelling??). Can you do a video on identifying sumac? I have a lot of Virginia Creeper around and the spikey vines are nasty. The tiny thorns are way worse then rose thorns and seem to reach out and grab me if I even get near them. Even though they may not be allergens, they are painful to get near. Thanks Mike.

  110. gerry gray says

    I have been trying to send a reply to this posting, but it is not being accepted. When I cut and paste the reply, only one sentence appears. I will send the comment, and a power point and notes from a class I taught to 4H members two weeks ago about how to identify poison ivy year round, by separate email. You can get poison ivy rash by touching any part of the plant, its leaves, bark, roots (and vine, which is covered by aeril roots), and smoke from burning poison ivy. You can also get the rash by touching anything that has touched poison ivy (pets, gardening tools, clothing).

  111. Marie Shen says

    Mike’s right about the Virginia Creeper and poison ivy. There are company’s that will clear it or sell you special clothing and chemicals to deal with it If there’s not too much put on long rubber gloves and pull it out by the roots and have an open garbage bag to put it in turn the gloves inside out and get rid of it don’t burn it period!
    There’s stuff on the market with menthol in to wash with after an encounter with the nasty stuff.

  112. Leisa says

    Thanks for the video on poison ivy. I grew up in the country, and was well aware of poison ivy, but I have lived in the city for almost 30 years, and now I am not so sure. What is poison oak? I remember being told about both poison ivy and oak, but could not teach my daughter about them on a recent trip to visit relatives.
    I love reading your garden tips, and get a kick out of your videos. Keep them coming.

  113. geri says

    Thanks Mike this was terrific and very helpful. Yes this sucker is very Deceptive. I love the RULE.
    My son is highly allergic to it and he also told me when you cut it down you can also breath in the oils released into the air, and can get into your lungs, then u can really get into BIG problems.

    Love you and your wife.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all,


  114. geri says

    Opps!! forgot the first part to put on this comment: What to do with the Jewel Plant if you touch Poison Ivy:

    If water isn’t available, try looking for a plant called jewel weed growing nearby. Jewel weed can completely neutralize the Urushiol antigen when applied to the affected area. This plant has small orange flowers on it and is extremely effective against poison ivy and other skin rashes. To use the plant, slice the stem open, rub the cut ends on the exposed skin area. Let dry on the skin.

    This weed or wildflower is a prolific grower and invasive plant, so don’t try to cultivate it at home, unless you have a spot near a woods where it won’t get into your other garden beds. The season for jewel weed is May through October and during this time, it can be cut and gathered, dried or made into salves, tinctures and soaps

  115. Carol Snyder says

    better late than never Mike, LOL, I already had a really nasty case of poison ivy three times last summer. But at least after watching your video I’ll know what NOT to touch. I really enjoy your videos and tips.

  116. Kathleen Cash says

    Also, people should be aware that poison ivy should not be burned. The toxins can get into the air, and if you breathe them, you can get poison ivy – on the inside!

  117. Cristina Mattson says

    You have been a real inspiration to me…I read and see your videos…I have had multiple sclerosis for over 20 years.. I find great joy and a sense of beauty while I do my yard work..I love the outdoors,,
    Thank you for actually showing me what poison ivy looks like..I though it had fiv leaves like the creeper plant.. Would you know if regular ivy growing on trees eventually kills them? Would it b my goal to cut the icy off the trees.. I like ivy as weeds do not seem to grow amongst my patch..I will do anything to prevent me from having to stay bended for any period of time, hence hate weeding..

    Thank you for your willingness to help the little garners like me..Have a wonderful evening..Cristina

    • says


      I really don’t know if ivy will kill a tree. In all of my years in the landscaping industry I never saw a case where Ivy had killed a tree, but I honestly don’t know if it will kill a tree or not.

  118. says

    Mr McGroarty,, i have the red spider lily like most people have but I also have the golden spider lily do you have any gold ones they are fuller and last longer than the red. I read your articles all the time I am 74 years old and love plants very much. I would like to trade someone for a green Japanese lacy maple.


    Marjorie McGill

  119. says

    Show a comparison to a berry vine. Out back there are “brambles” whose leaves are groups of three but I think it has a purplish stem and is thorny but to me it looks a lot like some poison ivy.

  120. Linda says

    Thanks for the tips on Poison Ivy! I, too, am VERY allergic to it and any info I can get to stay away from it the better. Thanks for all the helpful tips you provide all year round and hope you didn’t get any ivy on you.
    Keep up all the great work!

  121. Grampa says

    I had some young vandals who thought it funny to vandalize my yard. I gathered some poison Ivy from the woods and put it on my garden ornaments I got from the dollar store. Sure enough they tore them up. I stood by the school bus stop with an officer and it was clear who was guilty for they were dancing and scratching and had the rash on their hands. They were taken into custody and charged.
    Nature provides for this makes a good way to prove who was responsible. If legal proof is needed the spoors will match giving proof they were at the scene. The judge laughed and made them repair my yard I think they learned not to mess with a senior.

  122. Harris says

    I like your video on poison ivy. One important thing that everyone should know is – Don’t burn poison ivy. Burning poison ivy will release the oils into the air, and be very dangerous to breath.


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