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How To Kill Poison Ivy Plants – And Why Fall Is The Perfect Time To Do It!

When it comes to attempting to kill poison ivy plants growing around your property, you might be surprised to find out that fall is one of the best times of all to tackle the problem.

Poison ivy can be a nightmare for gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts. Especially those who are highly allergic to its oily resin. Those who suffer from a bout with it can be in agony from the itching and rash for weeks on end.

A rash can occur quickly after crossing paths with poison ivy. For some, it can appear in as little as four hours, while others may not have symptoms show up for nearly two days. And unfortunately, you can get the poison not just from the leaves, but the entire plant.

poison ivy
Poison ivy can be found growing up trees, in lawns – and just about everywhere! And for those who are highly allergic to it, it can cause serious health issues.

In fact, the resin that causes the painful rash can be found and transferred by contact not only from the stems, branches and leaves above the ground, but even from its roots below ground. And that is why for many, getting rid of this painful plant is at the top of the list every year.

Why Fall Is The Perfect Time To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy

Although poison ivy can be dangerous any time of the year (even when completely dormant in the winter), fall is one of the best times to attempt to eradicate it from your landscape – and for a couple of very important reasons.

First, poison ivy is one of the easiest plants to spot in early fall. That is because its leaves are one of the first to turn to their autumn colors.

Sadly, those colors are some of the brightest and most beautiful of all fall leaves. From shades of golden yellow to deep crimson and even purple, the leaves are glossy and brilliant in their hues.

autumn leaves
Poison ivy is one of the the first plants to begin to turn to its autumn colors. The waxy red and yellow hues make it easy to spot early in the fall – making it the perfect time to get rid of the plants for good!

But that brilliance makes them easy to spot – and easy to single out for removal, especially if you are attempting to dig them out by hand.

The second reason fall is a great time to kill poison ivy is that the plant is a bit vulnerable as it starts to shed its leaves. And by hitting them in early fall with your choice of a few great natural sprays, they can be eradicated in just a few applications.

With that in mind, here is a look at the best ways to rid your property of poison ivy once and for all.

How To Kill Poison Ivy – 3 All Natural Methods That Work Like A Charm

#1 Spraying With Horticultural Vinegar – How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Plants

Horticultural vinegar is highly effective in eradicating poison ivy. And spraying in the fall, just as the leaves begin to turn is a great time for taking out the plant for good!

Horticultural vinegar (also sometimes referred to as industrial vinegar) is a much higher concentration of acid than regular kitchen vinegar. Kitchen vinegar is usually around 5% strength, where horticultural vinegar can be upwards of 30 to 45% acidity.

Just as horticultural vinegar can be used to kill weeds on driveways, patios and walkways, it also kills poison ivy. To use, simply put the vinegar in a spray bottle, and use at full strength.

vinegar
Horticultural or industrial vinegar is a great way to kill poison ivy naturally. The higher acid content in this vinegar works quickly to kill to the roots.

Spray the leaves liberally with the solution and watch it work. Spraying during the heat of the day and in direct sunlight will increase its effectiveness even more.

Be careful when spraying around other plants to only hit the leaves of the ivy. Vinegar is non-specific, meaning the acid will kill any plant that it comes in contact with. It will usually take a couple of applications a few days apart to completely kill poison ivy down to the roots.

Always wear protective eye and hand protection when using high strength vinegar. It is still an acid and can cause burns to the skin and eyes when it comes in contact. Product Link: Horticultural/Industrial Vinegar 45%

#2 Spraying With Salt Water – How To Kill Poison Ivy Plants

If vinegar is not your cup of tea, you can always use a salt water solution to kill poison ivy naturally. To make, mix 2 cups of salt with 1/2 gallon of water.

You can add a few drops of dish soap into the solution as well. This helps the spray cling to the ivy leaves instead of just dripping off. Place in a hand sprayer and apply liberally to the ivy leaves.

Just as with vinegar, the salt solution will harm any plant life it comes in contact with. Be careful to only spray the leaves of the ivy and not the foliage of surrounding plants.

The salt solution may take a few extra applications to completely kill the ivy. Spray every 3 to 4 days until the foliage is completely dead to be sure to kill to the roots. Again, spraying in the heat of the day and with full sunlight will help to increase the salt solutions effectiveness.

#3 Digging Plants Out By Hand – How To Kill Poison Ivy Plants

Although this is the most labor intensive, removing plants by hand is a fast and highly effective method. Poison ivy can be hard to find in the spring and summer months. The foliage can easily blend in with many other plants and go unnoticed.

But by September and early October, the ivy leaves turn quickly, and they are easy to spot. The key to removing ivy plants for good is to get to the roots. Follow the main stem of the plant to the ground, and dig out the roots to a depth of at least six to eight inches.

how to get of poison ivy in the fall
Digging out and removing poison ivy by hand is one of the most effective methods of all. But it can also be one of the most dangerous, especially if you are highly allergic to its resin. Always wear protective gear and cover all exposed areas of skin.

Carefully bag all of the leaves and stems and dispose with your local yard waste. Never attempt to burn poison ivy. The resin is easily transmitted through the air and can create serious health issues.

Always wear protective gloves and long sleeves if attempting to remove plants by hand. And once done, be sure to be careful handling the clothes until they are washed and free of any resin.

Here is to getting rid of the poison ivy in your yard this fall, and to an itch and rash free gardening season next year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

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