Skip to Content

How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Plants This Fall – The Secrets To Killing Poison Ivy!

Looking for a way to finally get rid of the poison ivy plants that grow in your yard and landscape and kill them off for good? Believe it or not – fall is actually the perfect time to eliminate poison ivy – and even better, it can be done without having to resort to harsh chemicals and sprays!

Poison ivy can be an absolute nightmare for gardeners, outdoor enthusiasts, or anyone who comes in contact with it. But it can be especially bad and dangerous for those who are highly allergic to its oily resin.

Here on the farm, that is certainly the case for Mary. We often joke that if she gets within 50 feet of the plant is seems to find a way to get on her skin. I am fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones that are not allergic to its resin, although “lucky” is a relative terms since it means I get to weed-eat all of the banks and fence lines.

poison ivy - how to kill and get rid of it
Poison ivy can grow up trees or find its way into lawns and flowerbeds with ease. Wind, birds and other animals spread the seed far and wide.

One thing is for sure, for those that are allergic, they can be in agony from the itching and rash for weeks on end. And it can happen fast. In fact, for some, it can appear in as little as four hours, while others may not have symptoms show up for nearly two days.

Unfortunately, you can get poison not just from the leaves, but the entire plant. The resin that causes the painful rash can transfer by contact from the stems, branches and leaves above the ground, and even from its roots below ground.

Getting Rid Of Poison Ivy In Early Autumn

Although poison ivy can be dangerous any time of the year (even when dormant in the winter), fall is actually 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 easy 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.

Poison ivy leaves can run the gamut when it comes to color. From golden yellow to deep crimson and even purple, the leaves are glossy and brilliant in their hues. But that brilliance makes them easy to spot – and easy to single out for removal.

how to get rid of poison ivy
Poison ivy is one of the first plants to turn color in the fall. This makes it easy to spot – and kill!

The second reason fall is a great time to kill poison ivy is that the plant is more vulnerable as it starts to shed its leaves. Unlike early in the spring and summer, the plant is not at full strength. Because of that, by hitting them in early fall with a choice of a few great natural sprays, you can knock them out for good quite easily.

With that in mind, here is a look at the two great natural sprays you can make at home that will work like a charm to kill off poison ivy – and also how to safely dig the roots of the plant out as an alternative method as well!

How To Kill Poison Ivy – How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy For Good

Knocking Poison Ivy Out With Horticultural Vinegar

One of the best and most natural ways of all to eliminate poison ivy is with horticultural vinegar.

Horticultural vinegar has a much higher concentration of acid than regular kitchen vinegar. Kitchen vinegar can usually be found between 4% and 5% acidity. Horticultural vinegar, on the other hand, can be upwards of 30 to 45% acidity.

That higher acidity strength is exactly what works to kill poison ivy. Especially in the fall when the plant is a bit weaker. The best thing of all is that it couldn’t be more easy to use. All you need to do is safely put the vinegar in a spray bottle, and use at full strength!

industrial vinegar
This all purpose industrial strength vinegar has a 45% acidity rate. It is perfect for killing off poison ivy for good!

With its higher acidity, you should always wear protective eye and hand protection with horticultural (industrial) vinegar. It is still an acid and can cause burns to the skin and eyes when it comes in contact. But does it ever work like a charm against poison ivy! Affiliate Product Link – 45% Industrial Vinegar

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. You will want to 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. It is our number one go to method and it has totally eliminated poison ivy in our garden and flowerbeds – much to Mary’s happiness!

Spraying With Salt Water – How To Get Rid Poison Ivy Plants For Good

Another simple homemade spray that will work to kill poison ivy is salt water. This is really effective on smaller poison ivy plants and can be a quick and easy solution, especially if you prefer not to use the more acidic vinegar.

owg podcast banner

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. As for the salt, kosher salt, ground rock salt or even table salt will work.

To use, 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 helps to increase the salt solutions effectiveness.

Digging Plants Out By Hand – How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Plants For Good

Although this is the most labor intensive, removing plants by hand is a fast and highly effective method.

kill poison ivy - get rid of poison ivy roots
The roots of poison ivy can be extensive and can grow from nearly any part of the stem.

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, making them easy to spot.

The key to removing ivy plants for good by hand is to get all of 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. 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.

As always, feel free to email us at with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! You can sign up for our free email list in the subscribe now box in the middle of this article. Follow us on Facebook here : OWG Facebook. This article may contain affiliate links.