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How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy

Last updated : 21 November 2014


I often get asked; “Mike, How do I get rid of poison ivy?”  And because I’ve got a situation on my property that has a really good stand of poison ivy that I have to deal with, I made you a video.  A while back I showed you How to Identify Poison Ivy.  This video is all about getting rid of it once you know that you have some in your yard or garden.

Most full service garden stores sell sprays that will kill poison ivy and I recommend that you spray poison ivy and kill it rather than try and dig it out and physically remove it.  Poison ivy contains an oil that is released any time the plant is damaged in even the slightest way.  The leaves, vines and roots all contain this super potent oil.  When the plant is damaged the oil is release in an invisible mist form and if you are close to the plant the oil gets on your skin and that starts the irritation that can quickly turn into an extremely and possibly dangerous situation.

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When you dig, cut and chop poison ivy to remove it you are certain to release a considerable amount of this dangerous oil.  Therefore I am suggesting that you do not try and physically remove the vines.

In the situation that I show you in the video I have been spraying this poison ivy throughout the growing season and I have successfully killed a great deal of it.  But some of these vines are growing way up into the trees where I cannot get the spray on the leaves of the poison ivy.  So I have resorted to cutting a very small section out of the vines, severing the largest part of the vines from the root system that support them.

This effort will kill the top part of the vine, but the bottom part that is still attached to the roots is likely to still be alive.  But next spring when the plant leafs out I can easily spray and kill the part that is still alive.  In the video I show you how much protective clothing I am putting on to make these four simple cuts.  As you’ll see in the video, I take poison ivy very seriously!  I’ve been infected many times and the older I get the less I enjoy dealing with a poison ivy rash.

Anytime that you think you might have come in contact with poison ivy you should wash all exposed areas of skin with a really strong detergent.  Most of us “older than you youngins” recommend Fels Naptha soap for removing poison ivy oil from your skin.  Fels Naptha is a heavy duty laundry soap bar used for pre-treating laundry stains but it is also the recommend choice for preventing poison ivy should you come in contact with it.  You should wash your skin as soon as possible after coming into contact with poison ivy.  Do not wait until the end of the day.

When I was in the landscaping business we always carried a bar of Fels Naptha soap in the truck.

Check this out!

Huge Poison Ivy Vine!

Huge Poison Ivy Vine!


Look to the left of my fist in this photo.  That huge vine is poison ivy.  I just discovered this as Duston and I were shooting this video.  That’s the craziest and scariest thing I’ve ever seen.   How long has that thing been growing?  I have to get rid of it but I am so allergic to poison ivy that I actually get nervous just looking at this vine.  Let alone cut into it.  Oh well, I’ll have to find a way and find the courage, I can’t leave it there.

Huge Poison Ivy Vine!

Huge Poison Ivy Vine!


Okay, I hope this post on how to get rid of poison ivy helps!

-Mike McGroarty

Comments?  Questions?  Post them below and I’ll do my best to get back here and answer them for you.


  1. Anonymous says

    Every year I say leaves of three leave it be,but every year I start pulling weeds and see i have leaves of three,this year was bad bad bad.too close to the right eye I had gloves on ,but must have rubed my face
    I wash with Tecnu Oak-N-Ivy . I find it works well.

    • John Haughton la says

      I talked with a nurse works emergency room
      -first thing the emergency room does is scrub down patient with Dawn dish soap. Best thing they have found.

      • Cecil says

        I hate to sound like a Dawn commercial but that’s what I use as well; and I am almost embarrassed to say how much I get poison ivy. Cold water, Dawn dish soap, and scrub, scrub, scrub.

        • says

          I discovered a long time ago that Tea Tree Oil kills the poison Ivy oils before it breaks you out. Since I started making my soap. I tried it out once again. I break out within 30 seconds of touching the ivy. Washing my fingers with TeaTree Soap works. Stops the break outs. Another thing that will work and everyone has it is Hand Sanitizer. Rub it on and get rid of the ivy oils on your skin. I do nature hikes despite how allergic I am both of the above works.

        • says

          Patti and all, I’d like to thank everybody that posted a comment on this topic. Lots of great information about poison ivy has been shared on this post. Thanks again, everybody!

        • Lorrie Creech says

          I use alcohol anytime I think I am exposed to poison ivy , this works very well. I have ivy everywhere in my yard it’s an on going battle.

          • says

            Be extremely careful about anything you might consider drinking as a remedy to anything. If it’s not medically approved don’t drink it. As I approve this question and I can’t see what it was in reply to so it could be perfectly safe, but be careful.

      • Johnny says

        The Dawn is useful for so many problems. It is exactly what we use along with alo. Off subject..the American Beauty Bush leaves rubbed on your clothing and skin repels insects. Dr Allen is working on this for the US Army at Ft. Polk Louisiana. They want it bottled for use in the field. I use it when hunting or scouting for wild edible plants.

    • Sandra K. Clay says

      Mike – One year, I cut the plant close to the ground and “painted” the exposed end that was toward the ground with a weed killer that I bought at a local greenery center. The killer was absorbed to the root and the poison ivy was not there the next year. Have another patch and will be doing it again soon. Might want to try this…the greenery recommended it. I wore gloves, cut the plant at ground level and painted…gone ! and it was getting bad in that area…

        • Larry says

          Mike, don’t know why, but seems I’m not affected by poison Ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, brown recluse, nor black widows! Where I live, I’m surrounded by forest… black oak, maple, hickory, and poison ivy everywhere. Every year I’m kept busy with fallen branches and pulling up unwanted growth, and every time I find these poison vines in the piles I throw on the burn pile. My wife always gets on my case because I don’t wear gloves, makes it harder to feel and grip what I want to pull up. Luckily, all of the terrain is mostly sand, so they come up fairly easy. I only have to watch out for the rattlers, copperheads, and cotton mouths. Had a rattler by the tail when I pulled up some poison oak in thick underbrush. A quick snap took care of it though.
          She’s desperately affected by those poison plants so stays away from me while I’m pulling them, but often still gets affected. Due to weather extremes here I haven’t been able to burn yet this year and the pile is getting quite large! Maybe now that it’s turned cold and we had one good rain, they may lift the burn ban, finally!

          • Jeannie says

            Larry and others, DO NOT BURN poison ivy. That could be why your wife gets it. Dispose it in the trash.

          • Ana says

            Jeannie is right. I have read that you are never supposed to burn poison ivy. It can make you seriously ill breathing it in.

          • Janis in ID says

            Your wife is a smart gal. If you are pulling up venomous snakes with the poison ivy vines, I would stay away, too!

        • brett sandberg says

          everyone remeber you must also clean your tools the oil residue can transit up to a year or more after contact.

    • Adrienne Blue says

      Mike and all readers.. Everybody with poison ivy in their garden should plant Yarrow (Achilles). On exposure to resins of poison ivy chew in the leaves spit out and apply to affected areas. This will prevent the outbreak. Also this plant heals everything including cuts from shears. It even healed my dahlia branches when they split. I used the leaves as an antibiotic and put a bandage of floral tape on the spit and they healed up.

      • Jessie says

        Also ‘jewelweed’ or spotted touch-me-not is helpful. I’ve used it, and it works. Jewelweed is in the impatiens family, has pulpy stems. Crush them up and apply to affected area. Works. I put some jewelweed in blender with a little baby oil and spread it on my arms after contact, helped stop the itch. Kept the extra lotion in the fridge.

    • Jessie says

      Mike, do be careful! That thing is a monster! I’ve seen lots of poison ivy vines on trees here in So. Jersey, but nothing like that.

    • C Huss says

      There is a product called Zanfel that works great. You can get it at the local pharmacy. Works like the same products they use on oil slicks. It removes the oil from poisen ivy off of your skin and takes care of it within a couple days if used correctly. It is a little pricy but worth every penny and if you have had poisen ivy you don’t care how much something costs if it gets rid of it quickly. I have tried everything and this is one of the few products that really works. They have knock offs on the market for less now as well. Works just as good.

    • glenne anne murphy says

      Getting goats- -putting up a smiple fence they will eat to the ground.Or put halter on one two/of them plus fresh water for them to drink,

    • Henrick Horton says

      Mike, I teach a construction safety course and I would like to use your Poison Ivy Video and Pictures in my presentations, with your permision of course.
      I do have 27 acres so I am also concerned on a personal level.

    • Linda Newberry says

      I have found something to help prevent the breaking out of poison ivy or poison oak, it is called “Rhus Stop”. I get it from my pharmacy but I have seen it advertised in rural newspapers. There are 3 vials that you take 1 a week and it cost me about $20. It works really good. I don’t get any on me now. Hope you can find some and use it you won’t be sorry.

      • Karen says

        I’ve been taking Rhus Stop for several years, and have not had an outbreak since. We have 20 acres, mostly wooded, and several very healthy stands of poison oak. After my last outbreak when I had to again resort to prescription steroids, I heard that our local utility company pays for the Rhus Stop for their linemen annually, because the treatments have been so effective. I was sold! You can find it available online by searching for “Rhus Tox Poison Ivy Prevention.”

    • says

      How can I get rid of poison ivy that is growing in and around other ornamental plants, perennial and annual plants? I have a wonderful Nandia, aka Heavenly Bamboo bush from Virginia that has survived 30+ years of S.E. Ohio’s winter weather and I do not want to lose it or my perennials

        • says

          Hello Mike,

          I am dealing with the same situation as Rebecca. We have an organic vineyard and the ivy is making inroads in some areas.

          I don’t want to use chemical sprays around the vines but I must admit it is tempting when dealing with poison ivy. I have tried strong vinegar and other organic sprays, unsatisfactory.

          I have had success with newspaper mulch as you mentioned.
          This year I’m going to cover all the areas where I have spotted
          it with black plastic after everything freezes. Hate to loose the other good ground covers in those areas but it will fill back in quickly I’m sure. It will be worth it if I can get rid of the ivy.

          Thanks for everything MIke.

          Dave in the Adirondacks

  2. Pat says

    Wish my husband had followed your advice this past weekend. I’m on my way to pick up his Rx from the dermatologist as soon as the pharmacy opens this morning!
    Question:Does a heavy frost make coming in contact with the poison ivy any less potent?

      • Mary says

        I went to a health food store a few years ago
        and found a liquid in a bottle with an eye
        dropper for putting under the tongue that
        helps build an immunity to poison ivy. I use
        it every year and have not had a bad case since. I do still get small rashes around
        my wrist but it is not too bad and can be
        controlled with no serious spreading. Mary

        • Susan says

          I use the drops Mary mentioned AND THEY REALLY WORK! They are homeopathic. Also, if you think you have touched P.I. Tincture of green soap is invaluable for preventing its spread. Wash up with it with cold water AND use a cap full of green soap in the laundry with the clothes that may have the oil of poison ivy on them. GOOD LUCK! Also, for small vines, I have found digging it up with a shovel and placing it in a plastic bag to go in the trash helps get rid of the plant. Mike’s technique on huge vines seems to be the best!

          • Janis in ID says


            That will teach those dumpster divers, won’t it! Ha.

            “Hmmm….wonder what is in this bag………..EGADS!!!”

      • cassie says

        Frost won’t affect the effects of the posion ivy oil. My older brother got a rolling in the snow, had no way of knowing that there was poison ivy roots there. So, no forst won’t make it any less potent.

    • sharon says

      I had lived on a farm growing up and we heated our house with wood. Some wood had small bits of the vine left on the wood. I got posion ivy in the middle of winter. I get posion ivy if it is a windy day and I just walk past an ivy patch. If you burn the ivy you run the risk of inhaling it and then getting it internally. Use the posion and be done with it.

      • Betty says

        About 28 years ago I was driving past a burning brush pile. I had the vents turned on, pointed towards my face. There was poison ivy in the brush pile. The entire right side of my face was affected. It wasn’t pretty. I had always been allergic to it, but since then it takes very little for me to break out. My husband takes care of it at my mom’s house and doesn’t put his clothes in the hamper but washes them separately, then showers before coming anywhere near me. I’ve not had it in a long time thanks to our precautions.

    • TT says

      My husband works for DOT and cut a tree out of the road a few years ago in February or March. That was the worse case of poison ivy he has ever gotten. Doctor told him during the winter when it did not have leaves, the poison was more concentrated in the vines. He is very allergic. He carries a small bottle of 95% rubbing alcohol in his truck that he uses if he’s been exposed at work and can’t get a shower quickly. It seems to work fairly well at preventing an outbreak and only cost a couple dollars.

    • Jessie says

      Pat, poison ivy contains ‘urushiol’ the oil that causes so much discomfort, all year long. It’s in the leaves, stems, seeds, roots, all throughout the plant, at all times of the year, even in winter. One authority says that plants that have been dead over a year are still potent. I got poison ivy rash in February. Be careful, and NEVER BURN poison ivy! Be careful with firewood!

  3. Norbert Peissert says

    I usualy clip it at the bottom and let it dry out first. I put the whole plant in a garbage bag careful not to touch it. Make sure you mark it so the garbage man knows what it is. There is also a product you can spray it and the plants will die. However never burn the plants no matter how old

    • PeterB says

      Wondering if anyone would mention it, If you born it, the toxin will be in the smoke and you can inhale itand end up with blisters inside your Mouth, Nose, and lungs. I have a natural imunity but still ocassionally catch a light dose that thankfully it doesn’t last long. I have found that most brush killers will knock it out no mater what sixe the vine. On bigger vines I cet the consentrate and pour it on or spray it on without diluting.

  4. Craig Buback says

    You can also “paint” the exposed surface of the bottom part of the vine with Roundup or something similar which will help kill the root. Don’t know if it will do a lot of good for a vine this big, but it certainly helps with the smaller vines.

  5. donna says

    we really do not like to use poisons, as they are bad for environment, us and the wildlife..we have used black plastic to cover the poison ivy so it just ‘suffocates’ and dies but i also wondered if you had any non-toxic ways for getting rid of it, barring getting a goat..we have heard vinegar works but it has not so far for us…thanks

    • Geert says

      Dear Donna, I can’t resist pointing out your inconsistency. On one hand, you do not want to use e.g. Roundup in order to save the environment and wildlife. On the other hand, you want to use plastic. Plastic harms the environment and wildlife as much as anything. What will you do with the plastic afterwards? It probably will have poison ivy oil on it that can cause rashes just the same. And then the plastic goes in the garbage, because recycling does not pick it up. And even if it goes in the recycling bin, recycling staff can be severely hurt.
      You probably also use detergent to wash dishes and clothes. Did you realize that the most toxic (if one can call it that) ingredient in Roundup is a bit of detergent to open up the weeds’ cuticles? Other than that, Roundup decomposes into harmless elements as soon as it touches the soil.

      • Ernest Fields says

        Roundup will persist for up to 50 years in the soil/water where ever it’s put. New findings in the last couple years.

  6. bill says

    Thanks for the poison ivy video. I am rather immune and have a LOT on my 3 acre property. I also have dairy goats who head straight for the ivy when allowed and will eat leaves, branches and vines…even the woody growth with the tendrills on the trees. Wondering if vinegar applied to the leaves would also kill ivy? The large amount of migratory songbirds here eat and replant it like crazy.

  7. Kay says

    Hi Mike, you also might want ato try my method of applying a drop of full strength weed killer to the cut. I have found this to be very effective in killing the roots and keeping the vine from resprouting in the spring… making sure to get all around the cambium layer. Like you, I am extremely allergic to poison ivy. I, too, ‘suit up’ before tackling the beast!

  8. Jim Biddle says

    Mike – A couple additions from a serious sufferer. Cut the large vines at the ground, then paint or spray the freshly cut surface with concentrated herbicide. You should not get new growth in spring. After exposure, any liquid dish detergent is less irritating to the skin The “sample” size is easy to carry, and cuts the oil if washed soon after exposure.

    • Al Lyon says

      I appreciated the article. Soap helps lift the oils – but an added note: wash or shower in cold water, not hot. Hot water opens your pours and allows the oils to enter. Cold water is more effective as your pours will stay closed and the oil can be washed off your skin more effectively. Also, there’s a great product on the market called Tech Nu – it provides a protective skin barrier, and is said to also work effectively for drying up rashes.

      • Elise Morris says

        If you don’t have an allergy to rubbing alcohol, I suggest you rinse with alcohol first – don’t wash in cold water. Don’t get it wet at all – just rinse once or twice with alcohol, wiping dry with a paper towel. After that, wash if you wish.

    • Nathan McC says

      Yep, Jim’s approach is what I’ve used with good success at my forest property that was 50% covered with 3′ tall poison ivy in many areas with vines going 30′ to 50′ up the some trees. Called them aunt and uncle vines and there were a few grandpaw vines that were as big as my wrist that must have been very old. Just put extra long heavy duty garbage bags over my boots and jeans and walked to the trees and cut the big vines a foot or two off the ground and IMMEDIATELY sprayed with 49 or 51% glyco herb. Kept it in a small spray bottle and refilled as needed. 3% solution works well for the smaller stuff.
      Carefully remove bags while turning it outside in and discard. Used an old hatchet and just sprayed with dish soap and just chopped sandy ground until it looked shiney and clean. I’m very allergic so I’m careful and have gradually gotten 10 or 12 acres mostly erradicated over the last 10 years and only got a couple of small patches. I did it by using a sprayer with hose in the back of an ATV and creating paths I could then branch off of the following season.
      This approach let me kill the poison ivy, but spare most of the virginia creeper that I also have.

  9. grace says

    Hi, Mike. Sure hope you didn’t get that nasty rash of poison ivy. I did notice in the video that a small white dog was roaming the area. I would also recommend that the dog be washed down as well. Many claims about animals bringing the p o oil into the house and onto the rugs and furniture lead me to believe that although the animal is often not affected, the oil is transferred to humans via their fur/hair. Hope you avoided the rash, my son gets a nasty case every year from mountain biking in the woods. It is not pretty. Would a solution of vinegar, say 10% work? I have recently noticed that I have been able to kill weeds in my yard with a dose of 5% vinegar, full strength, placed in the heart of the plant. It can kill grass, etc, so I wonder if it would be effective on p.o.?

    • Sharon Klein says

      One of the worse cases(poison oak)I’ve seen was my 16 year old son working on his car in northern CA one summer. He had his shirt off and when his dog came running out of the woods he leaned over and gave her a great big hug. The next morning he was covered with the rash from his beltline to his chin, both arms included. Be careful out there!

  10. Caroline says

    Dear Mike……I just went to bed last evening thinking of how in the world can I get rid of the patch of poison ivy in my flower garden…..I am now infected very badly and had to get a shot and take RX etc…just from cleaning it out last week.
    So I get up early this morning and check my email and …..the answer to the problem is now solved……Thank you so so much for your emails…..I do so look forward to them.

    Caroline from Hillsboro,OH

    • Lester White says

      I bought a tube of Cortaid Poison Ivy Care. It is a removal scrub. Rub it on where it is itchy and wash/shower it off.
      This also works on Poison Oak and Sumac.
      I bought it for about $10 and it works!

  11. EJ says

    The way you showed how to get rid of poison ivy will work. But you have to keep at it. We moved to a wooden lot and had lots of poison ivy. I did just what you did, and it seems to be less & less each year to watch out for. Kep the hints coming, I did enjoy them.

  12. Barb says

    Thanks! My hubby got P.I. In his lungs from standing in the smoke at a bonfire years ago… Put him in the hospital for quite awhile! He is horribly susceptible to P.I., even had the shots for years to help.. So, I get to be the P.I. Police on our property ! I was going to try cutting a chunk out of the vines, but hadn’t thought about not disturbing it after…. I was going to yank it down and spray the devil out of it! Now, I will leave it and work on the base in the spring. Thanks again for posting this!!

  13. Geert says

    Mike, in the first place, one should not let poison ivy grow up the trees. You spot and spray poison ivy when it is young. Like you, I walk my yard, and when I spot a small vine, I immediately get my roundup of Brush be Gone and spray it. Nowadays, I rarely have any poison ivy coming back.
    Even if it has grown tall, I would first spray the whole lot with a heavy dose of Roundup. Roundup travels to the roots and kills poison ivy like any perennial from the roots.

    • MommaBear says

      Many people have wooded and or large properties that cannot be patrolled so easily, as you suggest. Also, many people will find the poison ivy vines already in place on the property when they first move there.

      You mentioned “Brush be Gone” and “Roundup” as if they are the same thing. They are not. Roundup works well on grass and small annual weeds, but not as well on perennials, shrubs or woody brush – that’s what Brush B Gone is for. I would definitely recommend BBG over Roundup for poison ivy. Roundup might work on small seedlings, but will not do much damage to larger plants.

  14. Carol Bliss Streeter says

    Thanks for the info. I am highly alergic and have been battling poison oak in my backyard for years. This should help! By the way, I always go directly to the washing machine and undress there, putting everything right in the washer so there is less chance of getting it from my clothing. Also, if you do get it, WalMart (and probably other places) sell a product called TechNu which will help if you do get poison oak or ivy. It is a wash which helps dry out the blisters and calm the itching.

  15. Lucille McNichols says

    Yes I also have done this and it all works. Should you get some contact, another great remedy is Jewelweed. If you rub it on immediately, you may not even get a rash. It also calms and soothes after a rash has developed. It worked better than steroids for me. It can usually be found in the same vicinity as the poison ivy.

    • Jamie Shafer says

      You can make a decoction of jewel weed and keep it in the refrigerator over the winter. I know folks who have done this and it works in cold weather when the plant is not around. I haven’t done it but I believe you boil the plant parts – stems and leaves – in water and store in a glass jar.

  16. Kay says

    Do not ever burn poison ivy. The poison plant oil called urushiol can burn, and you can inhale the toxin. This could cause a very severe allergic reaction.

    According to the Wildland Firefighter Magazine website, inhalation of burning poison ivy and oak plants is common among firefighters although much less common among the general population. The heavy particles of the smoke contain urushiol, which will fall down in soot form and can be inhaled. The lungs can swell, cause coughing, and extreme irritation and swelling in the throat. It can also cause blisters that break and run. If you think you may have inhaled burning poison ivy or oak, seek medical attention immediately. Only a medical professional can administer proper treatment in such a case.

  17. Eva Caye says

    A chemist friend says to do what Jim Biddle suggests. Get concentrated herbicide and paint it on a leaf, or a few leaves if the plant is very big.

    Another “natural” remedy to poison ivy is to take a watery clay (plain clay, not potter’s clay) and have a bucket by your back door to, say, actually step your feet in. Let the clay dry for a while. It absorbs the oils.

  18. dean creps says

    hey mike, tell all your people that if they get poison ivy to cut open a fresh clove of garlic and rub it on the rash catch it early enough the rash will be gone. this works better than jewell weed

  19. Julie says

    I even got poison ivy in the winter when I’d not been out anywhere near the huge patch we had near the house which we had just moved to years ago. I get poison ivy easily, so have become adept at recognizing it even without the leaves, and this patch had the usual clusters of white berries. I finally figured out that I had gotten it off our dog’s fur. I also learned that it grows differently in the cold Minnesota climate than it does in southern Iowa–it doesn’t vine in that part of Minnesota, while down here in Iowa where I’m living now, I’ve had vines larger than my calf growing up trees. But not for long. Heh.

  20. Sue says

    Thanks for all your videos and helpful hints Mike. Always enjoy seeing all your ideas. Poison Ivy is a real problem. I agree with Jim. I have had very good luck cutting the vine and brushing or spraying brush killer on it. I keep a jar of straight brush killer in my toolbox and have a small paintbrush in the jar, so it’s easy to pull it out and do a small job. Great when I find something in the fence rows, etc.

  21. Roger says

    Jewel weed works great on all kinds of poison plant rashes. Crush the stem and apply the juice to the infected area. Also, generally what grows near poison ivy cures it. Additionally, if you spray the P I plant with a strong solution of salt water 3 times (atleast) it will kill it. I cut the vine and pull as much of it off the tree as I can then discard it in a plastic bag into the dump. Then I use something like Ortho weed killer and or salt solution and leave it. The stuff that grows on the ground I spray with the salt solution and or weed killer. Remember when taking off your gloves and cloths that the oil is on it too. Dispose of the old gloves and cloths in a large plastic bag into the dump. I fortunatelly am not suseptable to any of these poison plants. In the fall I eat a few of the poison Ivy berries to build up my imunities. That was told to me by an old woman when I was a child and I never got it. NEVER BURN THE PLANT the smoke has the oil in the vapor and you will get it in your lungs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Hedy Caldwell says

    Mike: We got RID of all poison ivy on the farm by letting our goats EAT IT! They repeatedly ate the leaves off (they did the same with floribunda rose, did not get poison ivy on themselves or us, and we virtually had no poison ivy as long as we had goats. However, goats and fruit trees, shrubs, and vines cannot grow on the same property! The goats will eat them all. And they will do the same to Kudzu!

    I have used your technique as show here with success. If the vine and the leaves in the top of the tree are big and several years old, they are producing berries. The birds like the berries. The birds and the vines strew the berries all over and the poison ivy starts little plants in the grass. Experience talking here.

    Thanks so much for your videos. They are so very helpful.

  23. says

    As to poison ivy and smoke/fire. As a child, a person used 2 yr old dried firewood for a campfire. The smoke was terrible and I was only wearing a bathing suit. Needless to say, I was covered in poison ivy. If I’d rolled in poison ivy I don’t think I could have gotten it worse. For the next several years, I only had to look at it to break out. The doctor said it was in my system and as he figured, I only needed an incentive to have a full body rash. This was back in the early 50s. Today they say the poison ivy oil is carried in the smoke and somebody burning a log with a vine on it can be over a block away and the oil will transport via the air. Poison ivy remains active in dead vines for several years I think. Also, don’t forget raking leaves can easily have them in their, too.

  24. Pam says

    Hi Mike, I think anyone who has experienced poison Ivy will take note thanks for the update on this. Had I know to wash all my cloths afterwards maybe this would have saved me some grief. I suffered so much before I actually new what I had. I went to two doctors so unless you live in a wooded area people in the city have no idea I found. I got mine from cleaning a yard. The client didn’t even know she had it. Pam

    • Lorbee says

      Pam, I hear you–I get it so easily it is ridiculous. Some people have natural immun. and the young man who did weeding for me had been in the service and thought some of the innoculations they gave him made him immune–he never got it and I always did. You can identify it no only by the manic itch it produces, but the bumps appear to be in straight ‘lines’ almost looking a little like a cat scratch. I swear I’m itchy just thinking about this miserable stuff. Don’t just wash your clothes, also take a shower and wash your hair too. Good luck!

  25. michele says

    According to my dermatologist, the oil of poison ivy/oak/sumak is like velcro–once it’s on you, it’s on you–YOU CANNOT RINSE IT OFF EVEN RIGHT AWAY. If you are allergic, each subsequent contact will be WORSE

  26. susan Creager says

    I have discovered that cutting and painting the root helps to destroy the crawling poison ivy and blasting it in the spring insures a greater kill. I get poison ivy blisters at least 3 times a summer. I use Dawn dish detergent after working in my garden and also Ivy Block ( prevents penetration of the oils) prior to going out into the woods and it helps. I don’t use steroids as it takes as long for it to clear up either way. Steroids have their own side effects I’d rather avoid. I use something called Techno wash and Ivy dry to dry up the blisters and reduce the itch.

  27. says

    I use a 3% solution of round up. And like you Mike, if it is “up the tree”, I cut it closer to the ground. I am immume to the oil, but still don’t allow it on me. The plant will die and over a season, the oils will become inert, but I just let them decay on their own.

  28. michele says

    OOPS! Got sent without meaning to. To continue. As you get more and more episodes, shots/pills will become necessary as your tolerance decreases. Also, you can become “allergic” at any time so don’t tempt fate. Finally, Virginia Creeper is another plant/weed which can mimic the same symptoms and is no less of a very itchy problem!

    • Jacob says

      You’re the first person I’ve ever heard of getting a rash from Virginia Creeper. Are you sure that’s what it is?

      • Ernest Fields says

        Poison Ivy uses Virginia Creeper vine as a support to go up into the trees where it’s roots grow into the tree bark to get it’s nutrients and water. A large vine as this can live for years after having a section cut out. The Virginia Creeper becomes contaminated by contact.

  29. D.C. Lytle says

    Hi Mike,

    Here in Oregon we have more poison oak than ivy, however we also have a local company that makes a product that really works to help you both if you get either one, and also as a preventative. You might want to check out the website:

    My husband is very sensitive to poison oak and he relies on this product.

  30. Kathy says

    I had some new poison ivy growing up a tree and I was concerned that the weed killer spray might hurt the tree, so I used my garden fork to get under the poison ivy vine and pulled it off the tree so I could then spray the leaves without hurting the tree. it seems to have done the job. I was careful to stand back while pulling the vine off and the long handled tool helped me do that. Love your posts, Thanks

  31. RJ says

    I didn’t get poison ivy until late in life while working in my yard, but even then it didn’t have a chance with using Black Walnut.
    If you are sensitive to poison ivy you can buy a bottle of Black Walnut either at Wal-mart, or a health food store, sometimes even the grocery stores and others will have it that carry vitamins and herbs . It cost anywhere between 5.00 to 7.00 dollars.
    You can take 1 or 2 black walnut before going out to work in the yard Or directly after or both; one before and one after.
    If you get it on your skin you can make a poultice (a paste) out of the black walnut by opening up a casule and adding just a bit of water to turn it into a paste and put it on the affected area of the skin.It goes away right away; relief within minutes!
    Black walnut kills the effects of the oil, parasites in the body, heals skin areas that are dry and so much more. You can find more info on the internet on the uses.
    I made the mistake of cleaning with ammonia without using gloves and it tore up my hands. They were drying, burning,peeling and cracking to the point of almost bleeding. I made a poultice of the black walnut, put it on my hands, put some gloves on (plastic or fabric) and within 20 minutes I was feeling the relief and healing. The issue was gone that day!
    I’ve been taring those vines down for years with no problem and I didn’t know they were poison ivy, so I burned them too with the rest of the wood I was removing.Never a problem with breathing or anything else. Hmmmm
    Take Care!

    • Sharon Klein says

      I have never been allergic to poison ivy until recently it seems to affect my fingers. After watching this movie, I realize I have been pulling these vines off trees for years and never knew what it was. I have used the method shown to kill the vine when it gets too high. Guess I’ll be more careful from now on.

    • says

      For those of you that still suffer from contact with Poisin Oak or Ivy, I can tell you there IS A FAST CURE TO GET RID OF THis nasty RASH!
      In my Higth school Freshman year, I came in contack with Poison Oak and then that same day got a horrible Sunburn on top of it at the beach. The rash was ALL OVER ME and even got in my blood stream! Most of that school year I suffered and went to doctors and no one could cure it or make it go away! EXCEPT….The Sweedish father of a friend of mine said ,,”I can tell you something that will have you completely cured within days and a week at max! So he told me to go down to the drug store and pick up a TINY BOTTLE OF SUGAR PILLS and chew up 6 pills on the hour for an entire day, and thenthe following day 4 times during the day. I DID and was cured within a few days completely! The majic pill? “Rhustoxicodendron Sugar Tablets!” (Tiny little pellets!” Only sold nowdays at Health food stores! Whats moe, I became immune to even driving by the plants with my car window dow during the pollen season! God Bless this big old sweedish man! Wish our medical doctors were as smart as he was!
      Blanche Lauver, Edgewood, Wa.

  32. RJ says

    Also, you can continue to take a capsule of the black walnut every couple/few hours until relief. I usually take one before I work on the yard and then one after. If I see a problem I’ll take one or two every 3-4 hours.
    No more problems!

  33. BJ says

    Good information! We have some poison ivy vine that is almost as large as my forearm, growing in one of our trees. I will use your technique and try to get rid of it. We have small areas due to birds “gifting” it to us. Beware of using mulch from tree trimming companies who will give it to you–it might contain poison ivy seeds, or roots.

  34. nancy becker says

    For poison ivy plants growing among my favorite flowers, I pull on a newspaper plastic bag over my hand and pulled up to my elbow. I reach down and gently pull out the plant, then I carefully pull off the bag with the plant inside! It has saved me many times from that bad itch.

  35. Phillip Andrews says

    Mike, thanks for the info. For the folks that don’t know, if you burn any part of the plant and inhale ANY of the smoke, it can do the same thing to your windpipe. Now that’s a real problem!

  36. Clare says

    Thank you for the info. As a pharmacist, using Dawn dishwashing liquid will remove any oil from the poison ivy, wherever it has settled. I always placed a small bottle in the shower in the summer so we reduced the incidence of the rash. Wash all clothes, including shoes, laces, work gloves, hats and glasses after dealing with the ivy. IF you get it and it starts to spread, make sure you wash sheets EVERY DAY for a bit. Once the oil gets on something, it will continue to infect until it is washed off. Washing in a machine will take care of the oil on fabrics.

  37. Susan says

    I also use homeopathic remedy Rhus Toxidodendron to reduce the rash time once it starts. If you know you are exposed, Rhus Tox may also prevent rash from starting. Jewel Weed also effective.

    I was exposured to dormant vines in the winter and had more than 6weeks of very bad rash. Steroids only slightly reduced the itch. Rhus Tox got rid of it.

  38. John says

    Thank you! Poison Ivy grows among my English Ivy. The English Ivy climbs my brick home. I would like to repace it with climbing rose bushes. How do I get rid of all ivy and prep the soil for roses?

    • says

      John, somebody else here mentioned using Ivy Block before you do anything with poison ivy. If you want to get rid of it completely to replant you really need to remove the vines completely. Not a job that I’d want to do, but if I had to I’d wear rubber rain gear and cover all of my skin. It is my belief that poison ivy has gone right through my pants. I’ve often had poison ivy on my lower legs, but only to the top of my leather work boots. Which leads me to believe that it passed through my pants but not my leather shoes. Unless it found it’s way up the pant leg. I don’t know for sure, but all I know is that any area that is not covered gets poison ivy.

  39. Beverly Holmberg says

    Do NOT wash in HOT water. Hot water opens the pores and gets the oils deeper and makes the situation worse. Wash with body temperature water instead.
    Also the homeopathic Rhus tox can be purchased at some drug stores and most health food stores. It works for 80% of people. Just dissolve two tablets under the tongue. It has been a life saver for me and my children. Before I started using Rhus tox I was at the doctor every summer for Prednisone (hard on the liver).
    If you know you are going to be into poison ivy, apply “IVY BLOCK” lotion to vulnerable areas(recommended by my doctor) before you go outside.
    Emphasis on DO NOT BURN. The smoke is almost deadly. If a neighbor is burning trash that might have poison ivy, leave the area at once.

  40. taz baby says

    Jewelweed is the only plant that will kill the oil from poison ivy. I keep a spray bottle with this just for that reason. Fill the bottle half full with leaves of the jewelweed and then fill with water. The older it gets the stronger it is.

  41. Ed Morrow says

    As usual, an informative and useful video.

    By the way, with that outfit you are set for Halloween.

    Thanks again

  42. Elise Morris says

    I have been using Rubbing Alcohol for years now, after my aunt told me that was her method to prevent a reaction to poison ivy. It has worked like a charm. After I garden, if I think I’ve come in contact, I DON”T WASH the area first! Don’t get it wet!!!! First, rinse it with rubbing alcohol. Pat dry with a paper towel, then rinse with alcohol again. Dry again with a paper towel. Then, if you want to wash it, go ahead. Since I’ve done this, I’ve not had a single bad reaction to poison ivy. Once, when I didn’t catch it early and I saw the early signs of a rash, I poured alcohol on it, and it didn’t spread or get worse.

  43. Barbara says

    Great information, Mike. It is good to know that cutting the vine below stops the growth above. I noticed you cut the vine high on the tree. When you spray in the spring will it not harm the tree?

    • says

      I’d start by cutting them to the ground and digging out the roots. After that you can keep working the soil until they are gone or spray any new growth with a non selective herbicide. The tilling will work just fine but you have to till before the new plants get a foot hold. If you just keep working the soil it will be completely weed and berry free, but not for long. You’ll get rid of the berries, but you have to plant something or muclh heavily to keep the area free of weeds.

  44. Lorbee says

    Thanks Mike. How I detest that vile weed. I wear gloves, long pants, long sleeved shirts, socks and shoes and last summer I still got it, but never actually SAW it in the beds in any of the beds in which I worked. It is sneaky and somehow was down mixed in with ground cover, I suppose. I seem to have a real allergy to the stuff and it usually ends up getting infected, no matter how diligently I fight it with a million different preparations. I also come in the house, remove all the clothes the washing machine and then shower and wash my hair! Still, I get the rash. This year seemed a little better than last, though, and I sprayed diligently with weed killer–from afar, wherever I actually could see it.

  45. Doug Hargett says

    I religiously use Tech Nu poison wash after working around poison ivy…even if it is “just in case” I was exposed. It actually dissolves the urushiol so it can be washed away. It is expensive, but it works great!
    I found out that I don’t break out until 4 days after exposure. The urushiol is a sticky, sap like substance that bothers the skin it touches. I’m not very allegric to poison ivy, but, I found out the hard way…I’m not immune either! Eventually the affected skin blisters to get rid of urushiol.
    Also, sometimes leaving the vines is not an option. We have had to clear large areas so we could get through them, or to build where the vines are. I found out the hard way weed whacking is the worst thing you can do—you spread the urushiol all over the place. I’ve had several employees who swore they were immune find out the hard way that they are not.
    Lastly, I’ve always read to wash in cool water, to keep the pores of the skin from opening up. One version of Tech Nu has pumice in it–not only does it help scrub the urushiol off, but if you are already itching at all, it feels wonderful and is actually good for you–you are removing the offending substance, along with safely scratching the area a little and bringing much releif! Ivarest Ivy Dry works wonders from there to heal any blisters.

  46. Doug Hargett says

    By the way, I’m not trying to promote any one brand or company, but just sharing some information that has made my life much, much less miserable! We work outdoors a lot, and I’ve seen unbeleivalbe amounts of poison ivy. Having an effective strategy in place to deal with it has helped tremendously.
    One more thing: the botttoms of my forearms are one of the worst places to break out–you don’t realize you’ve gotten into the ivy, and it is hard to see to clean thoroughly–so I concentrate on washing that area. Also, touching your face, like wiping away sweat, spreads the urushiol from hands and forearms to your face. I very carefully wash my face with Tech Nu as well.
    In a pinch one time, I tried to use painters hand cleaner. It has basically the same make up as Tech Nu–mineral spirits and lotion. However, that dind’t work as well, and with stakes as high as the suffering of poison ivy, I spend whatever it takes on using the best ivy wash I can get!

  47. michael mcdowell-wilder says

    good solution for the rash: betamethasone valerate USP, 0.1% put it on as soon as you itch, even before the rash shows up. it will stop the itch and dry up the rash. i get poison ivey rash at least 4 times every summer. no matter how careful i am, there it is! but i have it everywhere on my 10 acres…ill try the spraying thing, and just try to stay away from it! now, when i go to the drs, his first question is do you need more poison ivey cream? he knows me well! good luck everyone

  48. Gordon says

    I have gotten poison ivy wihtout ever going near it. I suspect that my cat wandered through it an I got it from her fur. The worst case I ever had was when I was a youngster and not knowing the ivy I used it for toilet paper out in the woods.

    Thanks for your presentation.

  49. Sharon says

    Thanks for the advice! I seem to be moderately sensitive to it, since I mostly just break out in it if I touch it, or make the mistake of getting my weedeater into it.
    If I brush my hand or arm against it, and wash with regular soap immediately and thoroughly that seems to work for me to prevent the rash.
    DO NOT USE A WEEDEATER ON OR NEAR POISON IVY!! It slings and spreads the oil all over your clothes, and it goes right through your clothes. I’ve had this happen even with thick pants on and heavy cotton socks – the oil gets slung by the weedeater cord and goes right through all of it to my legs. After learning this the hard way, and getting careless a few times after that, I now just totally stay away from areas that have poison ivy, when I use the weedtrimmer, but it’s sometimes hard to avoid 100% if you don’t always see it in the grass and weeds. I have also used large plastic trash or leaf bags to tie around my legs, to give me extra protection, in case I hit some by accident.
    Also be very careful about disposing of tree wood if a tree gets cut down or falls and has poison ivy vines growing on it. If you buy wood from a tree cutting company, look for signs that there may have been a poison ivy vine growing on it, and ask about this. If the cut wood is burned, and has poison ivy oil on it, it could be dangerous to inhale the smoke, as Mike has warned.
    We had a problem with this when one of our trees fell, that had these vines on it. I warned the tree company about it, before they removed the wood for us. I don’t know if they sold or used the contaminated wood.

    • MommaBear says

      My name is Sharon too :)

      Being a landscaper and having some very large and/or wooded properties to care for, as well as some farms with endless fence lines to weedwhack (PI LOVES fence lines), I run into poison ivy almost on a daily basis. It’s strange – if I pull a poison ivy plant, say with gloves on, but one of the leaves touches my forearm, I will get a rash. But I can weedwhack the stuff all day long, in shorts and t-shirt, getting it splattered all over my legs and even some on my arms, and not get a single blister. This is without treating my skin with anything or even washing it off until later that night. Go figure. I could understand that with someone who isn’t allergic at all to poison ivy, but I am.

  50. says

    Don’t forget your household pets, especially if that cat or dog is going to be on the furniture. The pets may play or hunt amid the poison ivy plants, get the oil on their fur, then transfer the oil to anywhere the pet comes in contact, whether it be your skin or your furniture. If I suspect contamination, I try to wipe everything down with a mild detergent, ie, Dawn.

  51. Green Man says

    For those who worry about the health and environmental effects of synthetic herbicides like roundup which has recently been shown to cause cancer in rats in a European study and morphological changes… Here’s the safe & organic way to handle it: a 20% solution of vinegar sprayed on the foliage will kill poison ivy and most other nuisance plants. It is available from sellers on Amazon and other retailers. Not the 10% vinegar for pickling… that won’t do it… get the 20% variety made for use as an herbicide!

    And… if you are going to cut the high vines it is very helpful to apply -before cutting- a generous amount of protective skin cream with Aloe Vera… it goes a long way to stop the poison oils from affecting you… and then they wash off more easily too. Some old timers (like me) used to put on any vegetable oil they had around (almond or walnut oil is best, but any kind of edible oil helps – and blend in some aloe if you have it) and then wash it all off with brown soap as soon as you’re done working.

    Thanks for taking the time to have a look at this post.
    ~ Green Man

    • Geert says

      Thanks for the tip. I will order the 20% vinegar. If it doesn’t work, I can always dilute it.
      Note however that If you overfeed lab rats with 20% vinegar, they may develop cancer and all sorts of other ailments too. But in the name of animal rights, try it on yourself first.

    • Lisa says

      Please note that 20% vinegar is still an acid and the concentrated strength can burn your skin and other plants. So please be careful to use proper safety gear when applying.

      Although this is considered an organic solution, it is still classified as a chemical application and can still cause harm if care is not taken.

  52. Beth Wells says

    Poison ivy has never given me a rash or even made me itch. However, my husband would get huge water filled blisters from the stuff. A side note — the roots of poison ivy is where the American Indians got their black paint/ink for their pottery.

  53. john h says

    mike- dont know if you have ever been told this, this works every time. now that you made that cut, take your hoe or whatever and pull about 5 inches of the vine on the root side out away from the tree.wrap a paper towel or some news paper around the end of the vine. keep in place with a twist tie. soak the paper with your favorite brush killer, now put a large baggie over it and secure with twisty. the vine will wick up the liquid just as it did thru the leaves. (systemic) it just does it faster.. bye bye poison ivy. good luck

  54. Rich says

    Way over complicating the entire process. No need for herbicide in an area like that. It is this simple folks. De-crown the root and pull off all the climbers and any woody stems. where long sleeves and gloves while working. Bag it tag it put it on the curb. The parent plant will not return if you De-crown the root system. The vines make great wreaths for the people on your lump of coal list.

  55. George says

    All good advice above….I have found that Dawn dishwashing detergent is great to take a bath with after exposure. The larger vines can be cut with a small chainsaw….turn the saw upside down when cutting and it will not throw the particles back at you….then put concentrated roundup or similar on the fresh cut end. Poison Ivy and poison oak are basically the same thing with a different leaf structure.

  56. Lorie says

    Yup, Mike, that’s how I do it. When I’m done I go in the shower and all clothes including my gloves go in the washer. (Nothing worse than getting that itchy rash off your gloves). Been fighting this for six years now and hardly have any problems now. (except what creeps over from the neighbors. Not much you can do about that accept attack when it comes.) From one who is winning the war, Lorie

  57. Roe says

    I’ve always hesitated to use an herbicide because after the PI drops its leaves, the dead-looking vine can still cause a rash. At least when it has its leaves, I can avoid it. Got a terrible rash one Feb. when I pulled up roots of PI unknowingly because there were no leaves to tip me off. My son, a forester, uses a product called Oral Ivy to avoid the rash. It’s just drops that you put in water and drink. I tried it, and I no longer get PI just by being in the vicinity. Of course, if I touch it, I break out but not nearly as bad as I used to.

  58. Darrin says

    Having been hit with poison ivy a time or two, I found that running the infected area under hot water, near as hot as I can stand it- CAREFUL NOT TO SCALD- brings instant ahhh relief, sometime lasts for hours.

  59. Harold says

    Very Good Praise the Lord I have never been bothered with the rash. So very thankful have a lot of it on the place, I try to get rid of some of it every year.

  60. Mel says

    I found a quick method for killing the P.I. vine base and root system. Drill a hole centered on the innermost core of the decapitated vine. I had a 1.5 inch diameter vine in which I drilled a 0.5 inch hole about 0.75 inches deep. Fill the hole with concentrated liquid herbicide. A medicine eyedropper will do the job neatly. (In order to avoid potential serious health problems to humans, don’t ever use that eyedropper for anything else). With smaller drill sizes, vines as small as 0.25 inches can probably be drilled.

  61. Ellie says

    We have poison oak out here in CA. When we bought our property there were old fig trees wrapped in it with vines as thick as a mans arm. An old vineyardist ( yes we live in the beautiful Alexander Valley, Sonoma County) told my husband to mix Roundup with Miracle Grow. It really works! Apparently the plants think it is food and it drinks up the poison better.

  62. Mike Purnell says

    I don’t know how I did it but I got poison ivy on my brain and the only way I could scratch it was to think of sandpaper or dish scrubbers. If you know anyone else with this problem you might suggest my solution.

  63. Dale says

    I’ve always reacted badly to PI. My Wife was immune for several years. She could pull vines and crush the leaves using her bare hands with no affect, but her immunity left her and now she has reactions to the oil. She can no longer “show off” to me by playing with the stuff.
    Thanks for the video.

  64. Phil from Philly says

    It should also be mentioned that poison ivy, once contaminated, becomes internal. I always take an antihistamine when I feel that I am in danger of or treating contamination. The antihistamine reduces any internal transmission to other areas and helps to reduce the area’s inflammation.

  65. Odie says

    A good tip for washing after exposure is to use cold water. This helps close your pores to minimize the amount of oil that penetrates into the skin. Warm and hot water open pores and allows the oil to get deeper into the skin before the detergent or soap has a chance to remove it.

    Poison ivy is insidious. If you have pets be aware that petting them after they have contacted poison ivy can cause you to have a reaction just as easily as if you came into contact with it yourself.

  66. Nicole says

    I was born in Europe and lived my youth there in the woods where apparently this vine is not growing. When I came to live here I got a really bad case of it -didn’t even know what did hit me ! – but my husband explained what it was and the doctors I had to see confirmed.
    Hub also told me that he got infected himself when he was young spending some vacations with his parents in the mountains of NC. His Father showed the problem to an Indian “who disappeared in the woods and came back scrubbing my arms with some kind of foliage” .
    Although we have the PI on our 5 acres, I got infected again but he did not although we were working in the same area.
    Now reading this I guess RJ (thank you !) gave us the answer to something we have always wondered…”what was it ?”. Must have been that black walnut !

  67. Lucky says

    There is a product called “Tecnu” that provides fast relief from poison oak/ivy. When used immediately after contact.

    On killing poisonOak/Ivy: The most effective method to kill the plant is to spray it with diesel fuel.

  68. Carol says

    HI Mike
    I am VERY allergic to poison ivy. When I find that I might have touched it (in my pacysandra) I immediately scrub my arms with Comet – that is a product used to scour pans that have a grease buildup after cooking.
    It works.

  69. CW says

    I’d put on latex gloves underneath those gloves and it probably would work better to have raincoat type material underneath or on top of the jacket as well. Toss the latex, wash the raincoat type material with the rest. Or take it to a hand held carwash, wash it down.

  70. Daryle says

    Smaller patches of poison ivy can be eradicated by covering the patch with 6-mil black plastic.
    Cover the ivy, apply weights to the plastic, and go do something else until next year.
    There are several forestry and/or hunting related catalogs that offer both treatments to prevent urushiol rashes and cleansers to wash off occasional contact with the oil. Since they do not advertise in this column, I won’t give their well-known brand name, which begins with “T”.

  71. Darlyn D. says

    Wash with cold water so you don’t open the pores of your skin. Every year I dedicate a day to poison ivy, get out the liquid poison ,mix it up, and spray, spray , spray! I walk thru my 8 acres and look for it so it doesn’t get on my cats or dog , as I have petted them and broke out also.

  72. jon says

    Last winter I ripped out all these thin vines on the ground trying to clear out a part of the woods. Not realizing it was poison ivy because the leaves were off. I got it all over my body. Couldn’t even go to work for almost 2 weeks!! Worst time of my life. My point being, don’t try to clear any area in the woods in the winter.

  73. Deb says

    My Mom is extremely allergic to Poison Ivy and makes a healing potion from Hoary Vervain weeds which grow in the ditches around her home in central Kansas. She steeps the leaves in water then applies the liquid to the poison ivy rash. She also drys the leaves and stores them in a plastic bag for later steeping and giving to others who contract poison ivy. It has worked better than the creams prescribed by doctors on everyone she has shared leaves with.

  74. Russ Burnick says

    Here’s some important info concerning the non-selective herbicide you’re using…….
    Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and GM maize implicated in ‘shocking’ new cancer study
    19 Sep 2012 | By Elinor Zuke

    The world’s best-selling weedkiller, and a genetically modified maize resistant to it, can cause tumours, multiple organ damage and lead to premature death, new research published today reveals.

    In the first ever study to examine the long-term effects of Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, or the NK603 Roundup-resistant GM maize also developed by Monsanto, scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumours and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females, compared with 23 and 14 months respectively for a control group.

    “This research shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts,” said Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist at King’s College London, and a member of CRIIGEN, the independent scientific council which supported the research.

    GM crops have been approved for human consumption on the basis of 90-day animal feeding trials. But three months is the equivalent of late adolescence in rats, who can live for almost two years (700 days), and there have long been calls to study the effects over the course of a lifetime.

    The peer-reviewed study, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Caen, found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup resistant GM maize, or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in drinking water, over a two-year period, died significantly earlier than rats fed on a standard diet.

    Up to half the male rats and 70% of females died prematurely, compared with only 30% and 20% in the control group. Across both sexes the researchers found that rats fed Roundup in their water or NK603 developed two to three times more large tumours than the control group. By the beginning of the 24th month, 50-80% of females in all treated groups had developed large tumours, with up to three per animal.

    By contrast, only 30% of the control group were affected. Scientists reported the tumours “were deleterious to health due to [their] very large size,” making it difficult for the rats to breathe, [and] causing problems with their digestion which resulted in haemorrhaging.

    The paper, published in the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology today, concluded that NK603 and Roundup caused similar damage to the rats’ health, whether they were consumed together or on their own. The team also found that even the lowest doses of Roundup, which fall well within authorised limits in drinking tap water, were associated with severe health problems.

    “The rat has long been used as a surrogate for human toxicity. All new pharmaceutical, agricultural and household substances are, prior to their approval, tested on rats. This is as good an indicator as we can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health,” Antoniou added.

    Roundup is widely available in the UK, and is recommended on Gardeners Question Time. But this also represents a potential blow for the growth of GM Foods.

    With the global population expected to increase to nine billion by 2050, the UN has said that global food production must increase by 50%. And a consultation led by DEFRA entitled Green Food Project recommended as recently as 10 July 2012 that GM must be reassessed as a possible solution.

    Some 85% of maize grown in the US is GM, while 70% of processed foods contain GM ingredients without GM labelling. In the UK and Europe GM maize is not consumed directly by humans but is widely used in animal feed without the requirement for GM labelling.

    Antoniou said there could be no doubting the credibility of this peer-reviewed study. “This is the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats.”

    Led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, the researchers studied 10 groups, each containing 10 male and 10 female rats, over their normal lifetime. Three groups were given Roundup – developed by Monstanto – in their drinking water at three different levels consistent with exposure through the food chain from crops sprayed with the herbicide.

    Three groups were fed diets containing different proportions of Roundup resistant maize at 11%, 22% and 33%. Three groups were given both Roundup and the GM maize at the same three dosages. The control group was fed an equivalent diet with no Roundup or NK603 containing 33% of non-GM maize.

    A spokesman for Monsanto said: “We will review it thoroughly, as we do all studies that relate to our products and technologies.”

    • Don't Drink It says

      Great information.

      I guess we’ll all have to be sure our rats don’t drinking Roundup.

      Seriously, I don’t think anyone (our their rats) drinks Roundup.

      The benefits of this miraculous chemical far outweigh the potential harm that could come from drinking it.

      These “studies” come out constantly, usually with a huge publicity campaign. They are also constantly debunked, but with much less publicity.

      Until you start drinking Roundup, the benefits of wiping out poison ivy very likely are greater than the danger of any albino Sprague-Dawley rats in the area developing mammary tumors.

      • Ace Virginian says

        Study is talking about Genetically Modified Monsanto Corn being fed to the rats. They were not made to drink Monsanto Roundup straight which I believe will kill them instantaneously.
        People are making tons of money growing these GM crops and they like to belittle such studies. Hurts profits..
        CA already has GM labelling law in works.

    • Lisa says

      Your post is more directly regarding genetically modified food crops and their effects on rats in food crops instead of it’s use for poison ivy. Although the information is shocking more because of the gentic modification it is causing in the wild, when Round-Up is used in accordance to the label (a legal contract), it safely breaks down in the environment within a very short period of time (normally 7-10 days).

      If one applies Round-Up by brushing it onto the poison ivy, the spread (mostly by wind) to other plants is very minimal to none and once the plant dies it takes a short period of time for the herbicide to completely break down all traces. Compared to organophosphate herbicides, Round-Up is far more environmentally friendly when used in accordance to its labeling.

      I agree that you wouldn’t want to use Round-Up in your vegetable garden on food crops. Frankly we aren’t talking about treating a vegetable plant, we are treating poison ivy. Should you be treating poison ivy in a vegetable bed, the paint-brush method to a damaged main stem of poison ivy is the most effective and least toxic control recommended by Purdue University.

      On a personal note, I agree that the gentic modification in crops in order to withstand direct spray resistance to an herbicide is scary. It is part of the reason that I grow my food organically and attempt to limit the amount of convenience food I use whenever possible. This is the reason to keep an eye on the main debate going on in California over labeling genetically modified foods. It is a first step in having a voice for your point of view.

  75. JEAN ANDERSON says

    My newspaper comes in red plastic bags. I catch P I when it’s small, put my arm in the bag, and go to the root. I slide the bag from my arm over the plant and pull it out, twist the top of the bag and discard. For this size I don’t believe it is disturbed enough to scatter its oil. It works for me.

  76. RussE says

    You make something so simple seem so complicated. Just cut the poison ivy vine at ground level and spray the stump with glyphosate (at least 20% active) and it’s gone. Just like that. No muss, no fuss.

  77. Cheryl says

    I saw poison ivy that big at Lake St. James, in NE Indiana. That was a long time ago…probably the late 60’s. But that park is a “no kill” area–they don’t even allow you to swat a fly…lol…and they don’t disturb anything in the forest area. So I suppose the poison ivy we saw has vines the size of tree, by now! ;D

  78. arnoldo solis says

    Where I live there’s no poison ivy, only drought. I have planted hundreds of hibiscus and sold them well, but conditions here in Grulla Tx are rough, no rain. I enjoy yourcomments you have been helpful,keep them coming.

  79. Wiley R says

    Painting the stub with poison ivy killer is much more effective this time of the year (fall) because the sap is moving toward the roots. You might even try scraping the skin or cutting a chunk out of only one half of the vine, treating every few days until a hard frost or freeze makes it go dormant. Either way I’d treat the wound several times since ivy is so persistent.

  80. Wiley R says

    As far as vinegar is concerned, distilled white vinegar might work for new, spring sprouting P I but the amount of poison needed if you’re careful is probably less invasive than the amount of vinegar needed.IMHO.

  81. Susan says

    My 3 now grown kids were raised on the north side of Chicago and were never exposed to PI. Neither was I until moving to 30 acres in southwestern MI where the woods are poison haven. One day, my son took his little sister (who’a Uber Urban) out rabbit hunting when she was attracted to a “pretty” plant and wanted to bring a bunch back to me to put in a vase.
    Her big brother told her it was poison ivy. Thankfully none of us are effected by the stuff. They didn’t get a rabbit either with all the chatter.

  82. louise says

    knew of a family whose daughter (their great aunt) died after drinking the milk of a goat who was used for clearing a big patch of land out in NW WA. Supposedly she drank some milk from one of the nannies and she got internal poison ivy. I figured she must have handled it at one point though they swore she was a little girl and had no contact with the goats. If this possible?

  83. Bluff Bunny says

    Makes me sad to read all these hints- I USED to have a problem with PI but moved to Alaska and find there is none in Alaska! No poison oak, either. And NO SNAKES as well!
    All good reasons to love it here.
    But I used to get it every year and HATED IT.

  84. Lester White says

    When I was a kid we lived on a small farm. We built-up a good sized brush pile all summer long… Poison Ivy got into it, when we burned the brush pile I caught Poison Ivy from head to toe. I am still Very Allergic and Cortaid Poison Ivy Care Removal Scrub usually works in just one application.

    • MommaBear says

      Not even close. When we bought our previously-uninhabited property here in PA, there were several poison ivy vines thicker than my arm. I couldn’t even get the loppers open wide enough to cut some of them – we had to use a chainsaw for those.

  85. Kathy Franklin says

    I’m sending a solution to getting rid of poison ivy. A newscaster on FOX 2 TV in St.Louis uses this method. You need a plastic bottle like from dish detergent, electricians tape and extra strong poison ivy killer. Put the killer in the plastic bottle about 3/4 full, cut the stem of poison ivy and put the stem that goes into the root into the plastic bottle. Next put electricians tape around the stem securing it into the bottle. It will go to the root and kill the poison ivy from the root to the end.

  86. says

    I just read all the comments and ideas on how to get rid of poison ivy. A thought came to me to combine a couple of the ideas with one of my own. (I have no idea if this will work but will try it on some poison ivy in my own yard.)

    Take Ellie’s idea of making a solution of Roundup weed killer and Miracle Grow. Ellie did not say what percentage so let’s just assume 50/50.

    Then use a hypodermic needle to inject the solution into a plant.

    No chopping or cutting of the plant, no spraying of poison or diesel fuel all over your property. Just a tiny little hole.

    Of course, wear protective gear and label the containers and the syringe.

    So folks, give my idea a try and report back here. I will, too.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    My history with poison ivy: in the 1950s when I was a kid growing up in Lorain, Ohio (near where Mike’s nursery is now) I used to break out with huge awful blisters. Back then all the pharmacy had was a thick goop one rolled on with an applicator that looked like an underarm deordorant. The goop dried into a thick crust that would dry, crack and peel off. Gross. Now that fifty-odd years have gone my sensitivity has reduced to the point where I only break out in one or two bumps. Thank goodness.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    If you have a homeopathic pharmacy in your area ask if they have some pills to take every spring that will help you resist poison ivy’s attack.

    I’m not sure if it is true but someone once told me those homeopathic pills contain a bit of the poison ivy plant. Taking the pills in the spring evidently helps your body build up a resistance to poison ivy.

    Terry Thomas
    Dunwoody Organic Gardens
    Atlanta, Georgia USA

  87. Marci says

    Mike, I got a BAD case of PI and scabies trying to get rid of honeysuckle over my back fence (Fairfax,VA) I was a sick puppy, but Fairfax does not fool around. The day after notifying them that the woods behind my house (and neighbors’ also) a team came and sprayed the whole block, on the county side and fences and 24 hrs later vines were pale then dead. Before spraying they notified homeowners to inform us not to have animals,children,etc for 48hrs in area sprayed. Every year they came and we never saw or were harmed again.

  88. Valeria says

    I’ve scanned the comments and there is a lot of great suggestions for killing PI and the great warning NEVER to burn it.

    only one person mentioned that the “dead looking” vine can still cause a rash. Urushiol oil will cause a rash whether or not the plant is alive. Alive or dead, Poison Ivy is poisonous, and only humans, and maybe gerbils, are allergic to it, so your animals can eat and play in it and bring it to you without being affected. Jewelweed was mentioned and interferes with the urushiol oils ability to interact with the skin and reduces irritation. Dead Poison Ivy is still dangerous. A splash proof hazmat suit with boot guards,and a pullover hood should be a good protective suit when removing Poison Ivy that is reachable like wrapped around tree trunks or growing through fences. They are easily found on amazon and other sites. But killing and leaving it is only a good option if no one will accidentally come it contact with the dead plants remains.

    • says

      Valeria, good suggestions. I know the Urushiol is dangerous after the plant is dead, but at some point that dead wood and the oil should dry out. I just don’t know how long that can take.

  89. Linna says

    Hi Mike,
    I learned a lot from your video on Poison Ivy…now can you tell me how to get rid of Stinging Nettles? I have them on a hillside at the back of my house and they are slowly making their way to the top of the hill and my back yard!:( What can I do…help please?


  90. Sidney says

    I had a poison ivy vine as big as that, maybe bigger when I moved into a house it went up a fence and actually looked pretty, but it had to go, of course. I bought lots of brush killer. Nothing else would kill it. I also chopped the thing down with an ax. I have scars on my arms because I got the lovely rash twice. (I’d never had it before) but by golly, I got rid of it. I kept a bottle of brush killer around all the time so I could spray any little sprouts.

    Now I live in another house. Behind it is an old abandoned church. There is lots of poison ivy and honeysuckle growing wild there. I’ve started keeping brush killer around again!

  91. dana harness says

    hey thank for the info we drill a little hole in it just make sure you don’t drill into the tree it best to do it at a 45 put a little salt and oil in the hold it will dry the vine up in about a week good luck and good gardening

    • says


      That’s actually a pretty good idea, I hadn’t really thought of that. But that sure would give me the distance I would need to be comfortable around that thing!

  92. vicki b says

    mike, you PI info very helpful. i found similar in a very old boy scouting manual…it works. manual discussed needing to find and remove 1′ section at the base of the ‘mother plant’-in our case was back 100’or so into wooded area behind our house. as for the rash, just wanted to recommend ‘Cortaid Poison Ivy Scrub’. I have been using it as a preventative for the last few years–knock on wood–no rash.

  93. Michelle says

    My neighbor had one this big, he cut it at the bottom near the root of the tree, poored gas on the cut. The poison ivy was so big, after it died, it looked like he killed half of his tree. The tree was only 1/3 of the 30 foot high foilage. It was crazy and it has not come back.

  94. Richard Guth says

    Your article on Poison Ivy,I pull it up with bare hands and no problem. Both myself and my older sister (no longer living) are able to do this with no ill effects. Go figure. I have seen her take a handful of leaves and rub them around and crush them in her hands and no ill effects. Don’t know why but sure makes it easier to get poison ivy out of my trees here in Virginia.

  95. Nick says

    I saw where one of your “bloggers” asked about stinging nettles. Best cure for them is to eat em’. I know some Germans who survived WWII eating them. Kinda’ like spinich they said. And, there is a fella in southern OH that makes a medical “patch” from them. He might pay to harvest them, or not.

  96. says

    Wow…wish I had seen this video a year earlier. I’m 42, but had no idea until now that poison ivy would grow vines like that!

    Last year when a tree fell on my property, I cut it into pieces with the chain saw…along with the vines growing on it. That was the most miserable two weeks of my life! I’m not that allergic to poison ivy leaves, but that vine sure did a number on me!

    Thanks, Mike, for all the great info you provide.

  97. Julie says

    Soap up with the Fels Naptha and allow it to dry on your skin before dressing to work on getting rid of poison ivy or oak. My brothers were all Boy Scouts and this was their method for prevention when out camping. Must work pretty good, cause they’re still using Fels Naptha forty years later on their hunting and fishing trips.

  98. Beth Bush says

    Hi Mike,
    I have found that technu is wonderful. You can apply to yourself and tools before and after attacking the poison ivy. The oil can live for a year! Another thing to do with it, is to cut a root and secure a can/bag filled with Roundup. The root sucks it up and dies!

  99. Jerry Duclos says

    Luckily when I get it it doesn’t bother me too much. A spot here a spot there, because I’ll wash with COLD water and soap ASAP. If there’s no soap, I’ll at least rinse off with a garden hose. I emphasize cold water because it cause your pores to close, and the oil will rinse away better. But I wanted to mention that I’ve got it from clothes months later in the middle of winter, so be sure to wash them also.

  100. Barbara Malone says

    Here in Ky I thought I had seen it all when it comes to poisen ivy. I was wrong. Were you able to take it out? Did you need a bulldozer?

  101. marion brown says

    The wife and I cleared five acres of briars sumac, ivy, and oak with no reactions at all. Five year later a neighbor,helping us harvest potatoes,pointed out a 6 inch plant in front of the wife. She avoided it even though she had never had a reaction. Her nightmare had now begun blisters and all! She has very little sence of humor so she don’t know I’m writing this. A few years later I came in from work and she was covered in wood chips. When asked where they came from she tells me she finally pulled those old grape vines I had left in a tree on the back of our property for years. Dressed in tee shirt “much too large” and shorts only. The rest of the story I will leave to your imagination. She did say the Dr. couldn’t help but laugh, I didn’t ” in front of her” MORAL of story. READ AND HEED!

  102. Marian Wilkinson says

    I have gotten PI too many times to count. Zanfel works the best. I have also had success rubbing a fresh banana peel (inside) on to the affected area for itching relief. One thing to always avoid if you have an outbreak: eating cashews. Cashews have the same oil as PI. I learned this the hard way. I had a really bad case of PI and ate cashews and the rash went systemic. I was in agony. Hope this info keeps readers from experiencing what I did!

  103. Gary says

    I have always have a box of Arm & Hammer Baking soda powder in my trucks/ It has always worked for me before & after I go into a area of the Ivy/ I have been in the landscape industry for over 40 yeara

  104. Carol says

    Mike – You have sent so many good hints, I would really like to know how to keep skunks out of my yard. My dog got sprayed last week, and I had found a formula online that really worked. 1 pint of peroxide, 1 box of baking soda, a couple of squirts of dishwashing liquid to a gallon of water. Dog is taken care of, but how can I keep the skunks from coming back? I brought the dog in the house to bathe her, and my house has reeked for the last four days. A neighbor told me to spray Listerine mounthwash on furniture and carpets, and that really did seem to help. But I want to keep those guys out of my yard from now on.

    • says

      Carol, often times, especially this time of year skunks come into your yard digging for Japanese Beetle grubs in the lawn. If you treat the lawn during the summer for grubs that usually sends the hungry skunks elsewhere to feed. Skunks go on a feeding frenzy this time of year to fatten up for the winter and they love grubs. If you have a skunk digging up your lawn or moles, chances are you have grubs in your lawn. The grubs are also chewing the roots off of your grass below the soil level. More about skunks in a few days.

  105. Paula says

    A couple thoughts: My boss’s 90 year old father swears by rubbing straight (undiluted) bleach on where you think you’ve touched poison ivy. I’ve done it, didn’t hurt my skin, seemed to work! OTHER THOUGHT: There’s a GREAT gardening book one can get from the library called “Never Kiss a Goat on the Lips” (he’s a terrific organic gardener which the book is all about – also his wife has goats and has gotten poison ivy from them! ;-)

  106. Hank Hajduk says

    My family doctor, a D.O., and very dedicated family doctor,that my wife worked for many, many years, treated me for a very severe case of poison ivy exposure.

    He had given me a “measles shot” ( say what ? )for the severe poison ivy condition. Apparently, the “gamma globulins” in the shot,( a term I hadn’t heard since the ’50s and ’60s ), were extremely therapeutic in stopping the itching by the next day, and the hemolysis ( the breaking down ) of the blood vessels under the skin, disappearing within 3-4 days
    Check with your own family doctor, ….they may not be aware of this, but should be.

    He also treated me for “canker” sores, those white pimple type sores on the gums that hurt like hell,….with a simple addition of a normal amino acid that my body was apparently deficient in…”L-Lysine”, which is available at any drug store or health food store, along with all other vitamins on the rack.
    These sores are predominant in the Winter, so I take a tablet every other day during that time, an usually only about 2X a week in the warmer seasons, and it works tremendously.
    Being an apparent anti-viral substance, it also appears that my incidence of colds and flu have been drastically reduced as well, and I’m now in my late 60s.
    L-Lysine is something I’ve been taking since the 1970s. It’s included in lip balms for sores at the corner of your mouth, but the tablet will do the same thing, and will prevent the sores BEFORE they occur, and at a far lesser cost.

    Hank Hajduk
    Wyandotte, MI

  107. Hank Hajduk says

    Correction: re: ” Hemolysis”

    I meant to say breaking down of red blood CELLS under the skin, ……not blood vessels. Sorry.

    Hank Hajduk
    Wyandotte, MI

  108. Janice Gerritsen says

    A Pharmacist taught me to rinse the skin that has been touched by the poison ivy with white vinegar or clorox, it neutralizes the oil. I’ve had to use it many times – IT WORKS!

  109. Barry says

    I need help on how to kill poison oak here in VA that is growing under several 5′ tall azaleas. It has grown up through the pachysandra ground cover which is also growing around the azaleas. Although it got established several years ago, I’ve controlled it somewhat by getting a tree service guy to pull it when they are here do some other work. It seems to be getting thicker and I suspect having it pulled has simply stimulated additional growth. It’s now about 18″ tall and very leafy. I’m concerned the over spray or leaf drip will damage or kill the landscape plants. Suggestions would be most appreciated.

    • says

      If you can find where the poison ivy is rooted into the ground, put on lots of protective clothing and cut it at that point. Then using a foam paint brush dipped in a non selective herbicide brush new growth as it appears. You have to be dilegent about treating it as it appears and don’t let it get a foot hold.

  110. Bobbie Gardner says

    I always rub my arms and legs down with a barrier cream before I garden. These creams are used in manufacturing businesses. Looks wierd, but keeps everything away from my skin. Once I’m done for the day, it’s straight to the shower to wash everything off. I also wear welder’s leather gloves. Can you tell I’m a little paranoid? 16 years living in the country and no poison ivy :)

  111. Betty Rister says

    Mike for those of you so allergic to this nasty root, you can get a shot at the Dr to very much prevent it.

  112. CarolAnn Wasilco says

    I have one that size at the back of my 10 acres near the flood plain of the Belle River Capac, MI. I am waiting for a wind less day to go back and cut it in two. I am not super allergy but it is still a scary thing to see.

  113. Lynne says

    Hey everyone, don’t know if someone else suggested it or not – too many to read but Fels-Naptha soap is the best for getting rid of Poison Ivy oils then of course Tecnu. Also, here in Pgh, PA, I HAVE seen Poison Ivy roots as big as the one in Mike’s photo! I have seen and entire tree of it and I’m talking a 75 foot tree! Lets face it, the stuff is nasty!!!

  114. Gayla Mitchell says

    Mike, I am one of those “LUCKY” people who is not allergic to P Ivy, but my ex-husband was. One day while helping my sister-in-law clean her yard, she had a bunch of P Ivy and was allergic to it. I told her I wasn’t allergic and proceeded to clean it up for her. My ex came home from an out of town job earlier that night and not expecting him I neglected to take a shower because I was tired that night. My ex crawled in bed and went to sleep. Needless to say we spent the next day at the emergency room, because when we got up next morning my husband’s eyes were swelled shut. He was so allergic that just laying next to me he got the results. So I never have missed a shower before I go to bed since. Maybe that’s the reason we ended up friends, but divorced? But then I walk and talk in my sleep and during a severe thunderstorm at 3 am I yelled tornado and he ran to shelter outside in the rain in his underwear. Needless to say there wasn’t any tornado just me talking in my sleep. That’s maybe is why we divorced?

  115. Judy Wolter says

    Have read all of these comments to see if anyone mentioned white shoe polish. Know it sounds crazy! If you get a rash from PI, coat it with white shoe polish (liquid). The blisters dry up and the itch stops. May have to re-apply a couple of times and people tend to think something is really wrong with you.

  116. Richard Holt says

    Had someone tell me to use a banana peeling applied to the blisters as a way of drying up if you have already got it. Ever heard this?

  117. Brenda says

    I love your emails. They are always helpful and some are absolute treasures.

    I have several comments about poison ivy that are basically a recap of several others comments. My Aunt Vivian used to pull poison ivy off the bank across the stream from her house. She wore long sleeves, never stayed out there more than an hour and washed her hands and arms immediately with bleach when she got into the house. (I think it was a 50% solution, but being young and “immune” I did not pay any attention to the mixture, just to not getting it on my clothes when I used it).
    My Aunt was 1/8 American Indian: I am 1/16. That is likely where the natural resistance came from.

    When I was a child, I had never had poison ivy reactions although I’m certain with my wild running through the fields I contacted it many times. I too, used to pull it out with cotton gloves on my hands and never get it due to minimizing exposure time (as Aunt Vivian had advised) and bleaching my hands and arms (or using dishwashing liquid and a good scrub), as soon as I finished and immediately before following up with a shower.

    My friend, Brenda, and I were the ultimate “tom-boys”. One Fall day we chopped a large vine off of a tree and swung on it, for two or three days after school. Of course it was a poision ivy vine about the size of a 12 year old’s forearm. We thought it was a grape vine at the time, and both of us got our first, worst case of poison ivy from our wrists to our elbows. We were miserable for two weeks, and semi-miserable for two weeks aftewr that. The moral of this story: you may have some natural immunity or resistance to this plant from your unique genetic background, however, if you do not protect yourself, eventually you will get a dose that will forever make you a victim. And although I have heard of some people re-developing “immunity” I have serious doubts about that. Reactions to P.I. is almost a certainty for the rest of your life. If you have no reactions now, don’t take this blessing for granted, and use the above protections and care anyway.

  118. Jen Braun says

    Makes sense that Dawn would work. You have to get the oil off your skin and “Dawn takes grease out of the way”, ha.

  119. Jack says

    did as stated and we will see in spring if all poison ivy is gone. Usually didn’t do the tree trick and would find new ivy yearly.

  120. Jim Fisher says

    Thanks Mike, this is great stuff! I just sent a copy to my brother who can really use that info. I’m sure he’ll share it as well.

  121. Karen Rogers says

    I work in the animal control world and dawn dish liquid is a miracle product for us as well. It works great for poison ivy too.

  122. Michael J. says

    That was great information. Never knew what that vine was. Now to follow your inormation and get rid of my big problem. Thanks!

  123. Rosa says

    thats what I do to my Poison Ivy and I know for sure I have been effected by the poison. so all I do is go down to the creek and pick some Jewel Weed and rub on the infected places by the next day it will dry up. I use to have to go to the Dr. for a shot. I get a lot of jewel weed and juice it and freeze it encase I get the poison ivy before the jewel weed grows.

  124. Fran Yates says

    Enjoyed reading all the short stories from all your readers. I got PI twice this year even though I wore gloves. Each time it was on my eyelid and wrist, probably from wiping my face or taking my gloves off periodically. My daughter who is a RN also can’t even be around PI, as just slight exposure causes her eyes to swell shut and her face becomes like a Chinese person. I use Roundup the moment I even think it is PI, and use leather gloves. I thoroughly enjoy reading all your advice. God Bless You.

  125. Amanda says

    Hi Mike,

    When it comes to glyphosate you do not need to wait until the next spring’s new growth to treat poison ivy or other woody stumps. When the vine is freshly cut apply the herbicide directly and evenly over the top of the stump. It does the same function as when you spray it directly on the leaves. The cambium layer will soak in the herbicide and start attacking the roots, if the vine still leafs out the next spring reapply herbicide to the leaves.

  126. Rick Lafferty says

    My wife enjoyed your suggestions. Like you she is highly allergic to poison ivy. Me, I rip it out with my bare hands with no shirt on and it does not bother me at all. But…. I am not allowed to be withinin 20 feet of my wife until I have stripped and showered. Thanks for all of the good info that I have recieved over the last year since Ive discovered you. Keep it up.

  127. Denise says

    Just wondering if anyone has any ideas on what to use to get rid of PI on lakeshore property We cannot use chemicals next to our lake

    • says


      You have two options, pull out the plant roots and all and keep that area cultivated so it can’t come back. Or cover the poison ivy with a heavy layer of mulch or wood chips and smother it out. Cover with black plastic for several months during the growing season.

  128. Bruce Kenny says

    When in the field a plant commonly known as touch-me-not grows often alongside the ivy. Squish it and rub on. A complete antidote. Works for bee stings to.

  129. Karen Topping says

    Thank you for the info. It was good to see your technique as I also dealt with a big poison ivy vine on an oak tree a year ago. After I cut the vine, I sprayed the open end with poison which helped to kill it. I heard that goats will eat poison ivy also. I don’t have a goat though but I might get one now!

  130. Sherry says

    Thanks for the tip! I will have to try that out by my back building. The oil in poison ivy is called Urushiol oil and is found in the plant family of Anacardiaceae. This family includes poison ivy, poison oak, pistatio, cashew, mango, red plums and sweet peppers and I believe poison sumac. Rhus Tox is a homeopathic that is derived from the poison oak root which holds properties that help fight the effects of posion ivy. It has been found to be helpful in preventing it if one starts to take it early in the year to start building their immune system before going in areas of the poison ivy, oak and sumac are. Hope this helps.

  131. Cindy G says

    Thanks everybody for all the great information. Had a mild case of poison ivy in early September, now I know what to look for and what to if I come in contact again.

    Cindy G.

  132. Sheila Kelly says

    People who are allergic to the poison ivy, should probably take Benadyrl before getting around the poison ivy.

  133. Lisa Sexton says


    I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener who teaches gardening classes at the local university. I too suffer from an extreme sensitivity to poison oak although poison ivy seems to not bother me as much. The treatment we recommend to members of the community is the same regardless.

    Remember that even poison ivy is still a woody vine and all parts of the plant are able to produce the toxin. All woody plants are susceptible to girdling. If the entire circumference of the vine is exposed somewhere near the base, you can attempt to girdle in a couple of places near the ground.

    Alternatively, you can scrape the base of the stem down to the cambial layer (the bright green layer just under the bark) in a 3-6 inch band and paint it with a herbicide labeled to treat for poison ivy. You may have to treat it a second time in the spring. You can sever the vine above the treatment zone (use tree pruners from a distance if you must). Since you are allergic to poison ivy, you can always use a paint brush duct taped to a yard stick for apply the herbicide treatment.

    Be sure that after you have worked with the poison ivy to launder your gloves, clothing and any other clothing that had contact with the poison ivy vine, leaves or stems so that you don’t have a secondary spread of the toxic oil the next time you pick up your gloves or move the items. If you have sat on a seat or touched a tool, be sure to clean thoroughly with rubbing alcohol at least 2-3 times prior to washing with soap or water.

    The over the counter poisy ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac treatments which bond with the toxic compound (urusiol ?spelling??) work well. You can spend anywhere between $5 and $50 for these treatments, but they are extremely effective. I once cured a head to toe outbreak in a few minutes in the shower. I have been hooked ever since and now use it as a preventative anytime I know I have had contact with the nasty stuff anywhere in my garden.

    My mother always claimed to be immune to poison ivy. I have found that no one is truly immune, but the outbreaks can be more severe in some individuals than in others. After reading some of the posts, it seems that high blood sugar content may have been the factor that kept my mother from getting it since diabetes runs in that side of the family.

    Anyhow, best of luck with your problem and I hope some of this helps.

  134. says

    Hi Mike
    5 years ago I had bad poison Ivy from my feet to my head .I wend to the doctor and he gave me prednozone. 3 days later I was in the hospital like a heart attack.
    I have found out now that if you mix 1 gallon of hot water and 1 cup of Kosher salt.
    Wet the leafs good. After that sprinkle salt around the base of the plant. Do that a few time in the year if they come up.
    And have good luck.
    138 Main St. S. Waterford, Ont. N0E 1Y0 Canada

  135. Frank S says

    The best way I have found to rid your property of poison ivy, oak, etc. is to routinely go over your property and spray the leaves with a good weed killer(preferrably labeled for eraticating poison ivy, oak, etc. family)When you come to the older vined plants do like Mike shows you and cut a section out and then use a full strength weed killer and mix with a carrier like kerosene or diesel fuel and appy it to the cut part of the vine with either a srayer or paint brush. Now if you are allergic to poison like I am as soon as your done working around/with the vine or leaves take a very cool shower and scrub your face, neck and any other part of your exposed body(hair included) with dawn dish washing liquid aleast once if not twice. Remember cool shower you don’t want your pores to open up and let the oil from the leaves or vine into your pores.Also scub your shoes,tools, sprayer etc. with dawn dishwashing liquid too, so that the oils are not still on your shoes/equipment. I have been allergic to poison my whole life so believe me this is what helps me. Do I still get it? Yes but mostly when I’m weed wacking with string not a blade.

  136. Matt Horns says

    I’ve worked for many years in dense thickets of poison oak, poison ivy’s close relative in the Western U.S. Most of us do our best to avoid contact with the plants, fallen leaves, and smoke from burning it.

    One co-worker took a different approach. He read in a Louis L’Amoure western novel about a Native American practice to avoid problems from these plants and used it successfully. Each spring when the bare stems were just beginning to leaf out, he took a tiny piece of a leaf, around one square millimeter, and placed it under his tongue. He continued to do this almost every day, gradually increasing the size of the piece of poison oak leaf. After two months or so he was up to a piece about 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch. This process developed in him an immunity to poison oak.

    All the next summer and fall, while the rest of us carefully avoided contact with the plants, he waded right through them. On a dare, he once picked some fresh oily leaves and rubbed them all over his face. He never got a rash.

  137. Mary says

    I have 4 acres in the woods.The poison ivy is growing rampant every year up the big trees. I go out & chop the root at the base of the tree and the vine dies off. I pull up the ivy plants & get the roots out. Once done, I go scrub with dish soap.I’ll also add a drop of bleach in the water too and it helps kill the rash if I do get it. I use witch hazel to kill the itch. It works pretty good.

  138. Lorraine says

    Mike, thanks for all your info. I really enjoy your site. I do have poison ivy in our 1 acre of woods, but what does poison oak look like. We have alot of oak trees on our property, does it grow on them?

  139. says

    The best thing that a nurse told me one time was wash will rubbing alcohol first because that cuts the oil off. soap or dish washing liquid spreads the oil, and that is why you find it spreading on your body. Then you can wash with soap to get the alcohol off. Once she told me that, I have never itched again.

  140. Ruth O Moore says

    Thans Mike
    For another good tip. Since I can’t even look at the stuff without breaking out I have another tip that i personally find very helpful for me, i just let my husband get rid of it for me!!!!!! Lol. Hey it works!!!!!

  141. mark kaminsky says

    if you come into contact with poison ivy and are out in the woods un prepared there is a plant that grows about3-4 ft high and has orange or yellow flowers on it that look like little horns and there are seed pods on them that spring openand the seeds fly everywhere when you touch them if take the plant and rubit all over the area that came in contact with the ivy you wont get any poison ivy my uncle is very alergic and he has done this in the past and it works great

  142. Christa Krueger says

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry, I did not leave a comment the first time, but I’ve read every word you wrote and watched your video with great interest.
    But in my case, I don’t think, I ever will come in contact with poison ivy, as I hardly ever leave the house do to illness. I also have a garden, which is totally closed in, away from any ‘invading’ vegetation. I can’t garden anymore and hubby is now just maintaining what we have established. Once these die down, we won’t replace them anymore.It is just too difficult for one person and if we want to stay in our house, we do have to ‘downsize’ the garden. I hope you’ll understand. But please, I do love to read all your wonderful advice and maybe some day, I can pass all your wisdom on to someone that has a love for gardening as much as you and I do. Too bad, that sometimes life gets in the way. I have accepted that and hope, at least I can keep my mind active by enjoying your knwledge.

  143. Susan says

    Thanks Mike and all the others for the info on Poison Ivy. I don’t have any in my yard but I know there is poison ivy in my neighbors yard, at my brother’s house and at my aunt’s house.

    Thankfully, I have only had one bout of poison ivy as a kid. Ever since, I have been very careful around “leaves of three” as I am never sure whether it is PI or a harmless plant.

  144. Linda Newberry says

    Mike, I look forward to getting your emails and finding out new things. I am going to put your poison ivy killing method to work. I sure hope it works, I have a lot of trees in my yard and they all have poison ivy on them. I also have poison oak do you have any remedies for that?

  145. Debby says

    Mike you be careful! I too am highly allergic to poison ivy or oak. Either is scary to me when I see a vine. So I don’t touch it. I don’t even get close to it. I just spray it. I’m too chicken! Not too much of a problem with me. I live in a small town and don’t have much property. But I do have a vine that just doesn’t want to give it up on the back of our shed. So every year I give it a good dose of what ever weed killer we’ve bought. Round up is not working well the last time I bought it. I’ve been having to pull weeds in our drive way this year. To me vinegar works better on them.
    Thanks for the video. I think your pretty brave. I wouldn’t touch that thing with a ten foot poll.

  146. Michele says

    That is awesome information for someone like me who is SEVERELY allergic to poison ivy. I will definitely be putting your suggestions to work in my back yard!

  147. missy says

    mike I noticed several of the writers mentioned “yarrow” plants or “Jewel weed” what does these plants look like. I have a tree at corner of my yard that i cant get rid of the poision ivy it grows upon the trunk and i cant reach it. been trying to kill it before it gets too big. But it grows too fast.I live in North Georgia.. thanks

  148. Dudley Louvier says

    I don’t know why, but I pull poison ivy every year barehanded and have no problems. I do get it off the firewood I handle in the winter. I found Caladryl helps. A good woody brush poison works good for eradication.

  149. Beth says

    OH BOY the pictures I could show you of the size of poison ivy vines I have attached to my trees on a 2 acre wooded lot (less wooded since we are taking down some trees). These vines are the size of a 20 year old tree! I have to use a chainsaw to cut them apart to stop the growth but the vines trunk I can’t reach are still dangling from the trees even tho they are dead. At least the ‘real tree’ thrives better after I have severed the ivy trunk. I have been fighting this for over 5 years now, but I will hopefully prevail one day. Love my yard!

  150. Kelly says

    I am blessed not to have dealt with poison ivy since childhood. I am fortunate not to have this plant on my land. I sent this to my sister who has battled with this for many years and has to get medication every spring. I know she will be out there today cutting these vines like you did, thanks! Love your site!

  151. Ruth LaMarr says

    Mike, I’ve been plagued by weeds popping up in unexpected places this year. And my brown eyed susans jumped the flower bed. I have back problems and count on my youngest grandson to help me weed. Well, he hasn’t been around much over the last couple of weeks and we had a thistle coming up in our walkway besides some other weeds that we had been dealing with coming back. I had read that vinegar makes a great weed killer and then I saw that using a brine solution also works. I disolved some salt and added some white vinegar and those nasty weeds are dying and it’s not affecting the surrounding plants.

  152. Bill says

    Thanks Mike, I live in Georgia, and encounter some seriously thick Poison Ivy on a regular basis. I’ve got a superstition that it’s easier to deal with on damp, cool, windless days. Love your site and videos. p.s. don’t go into a bank or convienience store with that outfit on!

  153. Coleen says

    Please read: You can make a tea with the jewel weed freeze it and drink or apply topically when you get poison ivy. I too am immune, but my step-daughter got it and was swollen all over her face. The jewel weed frozen works year round. It even works on mosquito bites! I keep on hand always

  154. Coleen says

    That site was to buy it but it’s easy to look up on line here’s another site.
    Pull the whole plant (in Southern Illinois it blooms about the end of June till end of August) rinse and put in large pot. Add two cups of water and boil. I put it in ice cube trays and suck on them or apply topically very soothing and free!

  155. Art Miller says

    I always just wear gloves and pull the poison ivy out,course most of what I have here is young stuff trying to climb the trees in the yard. Now I use to get the rash everytime the wind blew but lately not so often.

  156. Ryan says

    For those of you that are sensitive to poisen ivy, sensitive means lots of itch and usually steriods the soap ideas arent bad ones. Ideally there is only one man made product that will completely neutralize the oil from poisen ivy and that product is called mineral spirits. The instant you think you may have been exposed or the instent you see signs of the rash immediatly apply mineral spirits the areas and rub for 1-2 min. This will either prevent you from getting it at all or reduce the outbreak and keep it from spreading. If you do not feel comfortable with this, purchase a product called Tecnu. Tecnu is marketed for poisen ivy specifically and the main active ingrediant is mineral spirits. I hope this information is of some use, personally in 2012 Feb 26 through Aug I got poisen ivy 5 times.

  157. Debbie says

    Fantastic information! We are killing a vine as thick as an ankle. Never saw such a thing prior to moving to PA.

    Ryan, PI does not “spread”. The rash is where the oil touches the skin. If the oil is spread on the skin, the rash can develop wherever the oil touched. My brother told me it could spread. My doc smiled and rubbed his arm over the rash on my arm and had no problem as I had washed the oil away. From WebMD: “The rash is not contagious. You cannot catch or spread the rash after it appears, even if you touch it or the blister fluid, because the urushiol will already be absorbed into or washed off the skin. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that the rash is spreading because it appears later on different parts of the body. But the rash only appears where urushiol has come in contact with the skin. So either the rash is still developing from earlier contact, or you have touched something that still has urushiol on it.”

    Please cite the source concerning mineral spirits.

  158. Stephen Speciale says

    If you cut the big vines into that grow up a tree dip the lower end into straight poison ivy poison in a couple of weeks you will see dying vines everywhere. On the larger vines I actually drill holes into them and pore the poison into the hole until it is full, and then keep it full for days. In a couple of weeks you will see dying poison ivy for miles around

  159. Bill says

    Regarding vines on trees: cut the vine all the way through with a machete or axe, then spray concentrated roundup on the fresh cut. It will kill all below the cut, including roots. Works every time for me here in north Georgia.

  160. Elizabeth Ronky says

    Thanks Mike. There is a product called Ivy Block. It is a lotion. One uses it before coming in contact with poison ivy. We have had great success using it. We still protect ourselves as best as possible. The company also makes a laundry additive and a soap. The laundry additive neutrolized any oils that may be left on clothing. Our famly Dr.advised us that the oil can stay active for two weeks on gardening clothes and tools which is the reason that many people get poison ivy.

    I will try your home made mixture as I have a dog that likes to eat greens in the back yard and I do not want him eating Roundup.

    Thanks again.


  161. Barbara Knight says

    I have a dead tree in the back yard , it’s really the neighbors, and in spring the whole tree is so covered in poison oak or ivy it looks like the tree is alive! Thanks for the formula! B

  162. Jan Siehler says

    Well, ya’ gotta drink milk from goats what has been feeding heavily on de poison ivy plants.
    Not conclusive scientific proof, but my wife and two chilern is all de proof I got or need.

  163. Gary says

    I’m with ya on the vinegar mike . I can’t understand why people are willing to pay $10-20 for Round-up when vinegar will do the same thing without toxic chemicals. This seems to work pretty good on Dandy Lions too. One or two good squirts from a spray bottle set to squirt a stream on the just the leaves of a Dandy Lion on a sunny DRY day when there is no rain expected ……they are toast!. But you might have to give it a couple of days to work. I guess when you change the PH of the soil at ground zero of any plant enough it’s done . Rent-a- Goat I like that LOL. Thanks Mike for all you do

  164. Bill, Central NJ says

    Bought a house on 1/2 acre which was on the edge of a failed farm. The fodder farm had little top soil, two foot of shale and heavy gray clay base. The 300′ rear of my property lined with four feet of wild dogwood, honeysuckle and the town flower poison ivy. The large oak trees some killed by the poison had vines the size of baseball bats. It took 5 years to completely remove this Poison Jungle. The best way I found, since poison ivy is a woody plant is to spray the leaves with a brush killer. Round Up was sort of hit and miss. I removed about 12-18″ of the vine in winter about 36″ above the ground. This caused a heavy leafing the following spring. Spraying the leaves kills the plant generally in six weeks depending on the size. Re-spray after any rain. Any life left in in the dead brush will produce a new plant when buried. I bagged and placed in the trash. Do not compost leaves or vines. My garden now with raised beds provides us with veggies and I recently added dwarf fruit trees which I grafted and at years end will have 40 apple, peach and cherry trees. Happy Gardening!

  165. says

    I just watched your videos on poison ivy. What do you clean your tools with after using them when cutting the poison ivy vines? Also, I use my rake to rake them off into the woods, so I need to clean my rake and gloves too. Any suggestions? Thanks, Dianne Blaine

    • says


      Good question. the best way to clean tools is usually an alcohol dip or rub, but with poison ivy I don’t want to poke the monster any more than I have to so I just let the soil absorb the oil from the tools.

  166. meg stein says

    Thans for the article Mike. I am not familiar with poison ivy, but I am very familiar with poison oak. I actually passed out with fever from poison oak and should have been hospitalized. However, I had a great doc that actually came to the house and gave me a cortisone shot. I am extremely careful where I walk now and only stay on trails…We had a monumental amount of it on my property in the Santa Cruz,CA property….I was also told that goats were great….but you have to be careful not to touch them!

  167. wendell says

    Also, it’s not so much that the plant itself is so persistent, although it is as intricate to get rid of as Mike says. It WILL periodically “return”, so to speak, because much like Mike’s goats, there are birds that can and do eat the berries Mike mentioned in this post. The seeds within the berries are unaffected by the birds digestive system, and eventually they will pass out in the droppings, find good soil and germinate. If you look up above a poison ivy plant, there is usually a logical place for birds to have perched above it in the past. This is the secret to the plant’s tenacity. Don’t let it discourage you. Ya just gotta catch it early and stay after it. It cannot be permanently eliminated, but it can be controlled. Good luck all…

  168. John Fazekas says

    I read about the poison ivy removal. Your first comment was to get a goat. My wife and I have a goat. I read that white tail deer eat poison ivy, and goats are browsers just like deer. Trouble is he can’t get rid of all of it. All kidding aside my question is this. Can you put poison ivy into a compost pile to get rid of the oil? If not then does burying it kill off the oil? I too am very alergic to the stuff.

    • Doug Hargett says

      While this is not practical for everyone, I read in the NY Times about a park in New Jersey that was so heavily grown up with poisin ivy that it couldn’t be used. The people in charge paid someone, who does in fact rent goats, to bring his goats to clear out all the established growth.
      I would assume you would have to follow up with RoundUp, etc., to kil the new re-growth, but apparently when it’s really bad, a herd of goats is a great way to get rid of it. I wonder if their is something in goat saliva or goat’s digestive system that could be isolated and put to use in dealing with poisin ivy….

  169. Doug Hargett says

    I am exposed to poisin ivy constantly, owning both a billboard business and amateur tree farm. I’ve learned a few things about dealing with it:
    1. The best product on earth is Technu Ivy Scrub, especially the version with pumice. This contains a solvent that dissolves the urushiol, and lets you wash it off. Works much like painter’s hand cleaner that removes oil based paint. (I tried painters hand cleaner one time as a substitute….it didn’t work as well.) This product is expensive, but it works fantastic. You can get this at most drug stores, as well as places that sell camping supplies, etc. Or google “Technu.” I don’t sell it, or have any connection to those you do….but I’d name all of my kids “Technu” if I had to in order to get this product!
    Even after you start to break out, this works well….it removes any residual urushiol, soothes the skin, and the pumice is a wonderful substitute for harmful scratching.
    There are numerous products that help once you break out, including “Ivy Dry” and calamine lotion. Many people swear by using bleach or gasoline, but I’ve never tried either.
    Some people use oatmeal soap. I’ve never tried it, but a lot of people swear by it.
    2. The more allergic you are, the sooner you should get this off your skin. Myself, I don’t break out for about 4 days. Just when others I work with are getting over a breakout, I’m just starting! Urushiol is a sticky, sap like substance. It sticks to your skin, and won’t wash off with soap and water. Sooner or later, depending on how allergic you are, it will cause the skin to blister–a defense mechanism for getting it off your skin.
    3. I’m worked with dozens of people who boast that they are immune–“I go hunting all the time….”, etc. They were all wrong! When you are working in an area with poisin ivy, you are much, much more exposed than when just walking through the woods.
    4. The worst thing you can do is weed whack….it slings the oil all over the place. I broke out heavily from weed whacking an area that included poisin ivy, then stacking building materials on the ground, then using my forearms to hold 2×6’s in place when starting to nail them. The underside of your forearm is the easist place to miss cleaning, and therefore the easiest place to get poisin ivy.
    5. As for removing it: I like using a propane torch. Don’t burn it, just singe it. Heat it until it starts to wilt. Wait a couple of days, and come back. It will look only slightly wilted, not even dead, but the roots will be a pile of brown spaghetti, and you can literally pick up the entire plant, roots and all.
    On vines that climb trees, I cut out the area from knee high to over my head, and pull the bottom section off the tree, then singe this with the torch.
    This also works really well on all other weeds, including thistle. On taller thistle plants, I’ll cut it about knee high, and singe the remaining stalk. If you disturb the roots, you promote new growth from the roots.
    Don’t actually touch the poisin ivy, but, on other weeds, after heating it for a few seconds, let it cool, and touch it with your thumb. If you leave a thumb print on the leaf, it has been heated enough to kill it.
    I like to work after a good rain, when it is still sprinkling, to reduce fire danger, and walk back over everything I’ve torched, making sure nothing is smoldering and will catch fire. Or, have someone follow you around, waiting a minute or two, and thoroughly water the area that I’ve torched.
    6. Technu also makes any “Ivy block” to coat your skin and keep urushiol from making contact. I don’t care for this….it’s kind of gross, but some people swear by it. I’ve heard of rubbing lotiion or cold cream or vaseline onto your exposed skin before being around poisin ivy–it makes it harder for the urushiol to make contact with the skin, and makes it easier to wash off.

  170. ken Vance says

    My wife use to get poison ivy bad [ her arms looked like mushrooms] , Till someone told us to make a paste from finish lime and put it on her arms, It worked great ,It may have pulled the oil out, Now she keeps ahead of it at the start of it. It has worked for everyone that we told.about it. I don’t get poison ivy to easy. I just pull it out with my bare hands. But maybe when I was small we all had a lot of goat milk. Maybe that goat thing works.

  171. jim says

    many people might laugh about getting a goat to get rid of poison ivy but a farmer told me any animal can eat it without itching.dogs run trough it. chicken scratch by it and any other farm animals can be around it without getting it. only humans are allergic to it..thanks for all the wonderful garden info.

  172. Della Montgomery says

    Hey Mike,
    Just wanted to commend you on your bravery to eliminating poison Ivy. I have played in poison ivy when I was a kid and I have cut those nasty vines later in life, never really had any reaction to it, (for which I am very thankful). My grandmother just had to stand down wind from it and she’d be suffering the effects. At any rate, I watched your video and thought I just have to tell you I understand your situation and appreciate you showing us how to take care of this menace.

    • says


      I appreciate that and I can tell you that this worked. After we cut the vines we just kept the lower portions sprayed as soon as new growth appear and we have won the battle!

  173. says

    i want to use the following to kill PI:
    1 cup salt
    8 drops liquid detergent
    1 gallon vinegar
    will this mix do much damage to the trees?

    • says


      I don’t think the salt will be good for the plants you are putting it around. How harmful it would be I don’t know.

  174. Joypebble says

    They yellow banner that fills the top fifth of the video image is impossibly distracting. We spent the better part of the entire video trying to make it go away. There doesn’t seem to be any
    X” mark to close the offending graphic.

    It won’t go away, so I went away.

    • mona says

      enlarge the picture using the frame size arrows at the bottom right of the video frame and then you will be able to click the little “X”.

  175. mona says

    did you know that goats LOVE eating poison ivy and poison oak? why not put a little paddock around the tree for a bit and let them enjoy themselves?…i promise you will NEVER see the pesky vines after they have had their way with them.

  176. RAchel says

    I’ve heard that clove oil works. There’s also a product called St. Gabriel Laboratories Poison Ivy Defoliant that contains clove oil. I, however, have yet to use either but will soon give it a try.

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