We recently moved into an older house. After doing some stump removal, we (unfortunately) realized that poison ivy has infiltrated not only the stumps, but the front and backyard. The yard was poorly cared for, with poor drainage, invasive vines and weeds, and partial sunlight. We would like to address the entire yard, but also get rid of the poison ivy. We also realize that this will most likely take a few seasons to address this. Is there a way to salvage a yard that is interspersed with invasive plants and poison ivy? Many thanks.

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    Invite some local farmer to bring his goats around for a while, then you'll have brand clean new space! However protect the bark of trees you want to keep (up to 7 feet).
    – J. Chomel
    Sep 4, 2017 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


The best way to deal with poison ivy is to pull it up. Wait until after a very heavy rain storm so the ground is completely soaked, then put rubber gloves or plastic bags over your hands and slowly pull up the plants and roots. The roots can go on and on so try to pull as slowly as possible and if you meet resistance soak the ground with a hose for a few minutes before pulling more. Poison ivy has a fairly shallow root but it can continue for 20ft or more underground. If the root breaks then mark the area and later pour strong undiluted vinegar directly on the root. Place pulled plants and roots and used gloves into a plastic trash bag, not directly into the trash can to avoid spreading the oils to anyone unknowingly. I would even advise double bagging in case you get any oils on the outside of the first bag while filling. Do not burn any poison ivy plants as the oils can be released into the air and then be inhaled giving anyone nearby systemic poison.

It will probably take a while to fully remove all the poison ivy from your yard. I would spend a day pulling out all above ground plants and the roots. Check for new growth every few weeks and repeat the process. Eventually you should be able to remove/kill all the roots and no new poison ivy will grow.

After a day of pulling poison ivy no matter how careful you are you will probably have oil on your clothes/skin. Put everything you wore in the wash and run on a cold cycle and then get yourself in the shower ASAP. It's good to have someone around to open doors, run the washer, turn on lights, etc. so you don't accidentally spread the oils.

I've heard a million ways to properly wash the oils off. What seems to work best for me is dish soap rubbed vigerously in any areas that were likely in contact, like hands and arms and then rinse with cool, not hot water. Wash again the same way in less likely areas and don't forget to really scrub in places like between the fingers. I've also used Technu with great success but since dish soap is cheap and always available it's my go to. I've heard it expained that poison ivy oil is like having car grease on your skin but you can't see it. You need to use a grease cutting soap and scrub like you would to remove engine grease.

Good luck and if this all seems like too much you can probably find a professional poison ivy removal expert in your area.

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