If you want to kill a poison ivy plant without harming nearby grass, garden plants, shrubs, and trees, the first step is to choose a selective herbicide. A good poison ivy killer will contain ingredients that are harmless to grass. Then, when you are spraying your weed killer, use cardboard or plywood sheets to protect nearby plants from overspray.
Avoid using any homemade weed killers with salt. These can poison the soil and kill plants growing near poison ivy. If you want to remove poison ivy the natural way, the best way is to dig it up and uproot it by hand.
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Are Poison Ivy Weed Killers Dangerous to Other Plants?
Although there are some ways to kill poison ivy without killing grass, all commercial herbicides that are harmful to poison ivy are also deadly to many types of desirable plants. Any chemical that kills poison ivy will also harm any tree, bush, flower, or garden plant it is sprayed on.
- Some poison ivy killers are not harmful to grass.
- All herbicides that kill poison ivy are dangerous to garden plants, trees, and shrubs.
- Use cardboard or plywood to shield desirable plants from herbicide spray when targeting poison ivy.
Just because a commercial herbicide is harmful to other plants doesn’t mean it can’t be used to control poison ivy in your garden. The best herbicides are engineered to attack only the plant they are sprayed on. By shielding nearby plants from overspray with sheets of cardboard or plywood, you can wipe out poison ivy and leave your other plants unharmed.
Will Roundup Poison Ivy Kill Other Plants?
Not only is Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer deadly to other leafy plants, but it also kills grass. The Glyphosate included in Roundup’s poison ivy killers is a non-selective herbicide. This means it attacks all plants it is sprayed on. If you’re killing poison ivy in an area where you wish to protect grass or other plants, use a poison ivy killer that does not contain Glyphosate. Look for products with the active ingredients Triclopyr, Mecoprop, Dicamba, and 2,4-D. All these products are safe for grass.
5 Tips to Remove Poison Ivy Without Killing Other Plants
In order to wipe out a poison ivy plant without killing other plants or grasses, it’s essential to use the right products and tactics. Below are the top tips for getting rid of poison ivy permanently without damaging your lawn or garden.
Avoid Glyphosate Herbicides
Examine the active ingredients list on the product label of any herbicide designed to kill poison ivy. If the ingredients include Glyphosate, avoid this product. Although Glyphosate weed killers can be effective at killing poison ivy, they also kill any grass or plant they come in contact with. This makes them the least-friendly products to use if you want to keep other plants safe.
- Do not use a product that contains Glyphosate if you want to protect nearby plants.
- Glyphosate is non-selective, which means it attacks all plants and grasses.
Glyphosate poison ivy killers are best used to kill poison ivy in areas where there are no other desirable plants or grasses. This makes them useful in some circumstances, but not when you are killing ivy in a lawn or garden.
Use a Grass-Safe Weed Killer
Instead of glyphosate-based poison ivy killers, use products that contain Triclopyr, Dicamba, 2,4-D, and Dicamba. These products are harmless to grass, making them a good choice for killing poison ivy growing in yards.
- This Crossbow herbicide is our top choice for a poison ivy killer that won’t harm grass.
- Use products that contain Triclopyr, 2,4-D, Dicamba, and/or Mecoprop in order to keep grass safe.
- These systemic herbicide products are safe for most grass types but will still harm trees, shrubs, and garden plants if the herbicide is sprayed on the leaves.
Keep in mind that even though these herbicides don’t harm grass, they are designed to kill leafy plants. This means that in addition to poison ivy vines, selective herbicides can also cause harm to trees, shrubs, and garden plants.
- Size: 1 Quart
- Controls most unwanted trees and brush.
- Use on rangeland, grass pastures, non-crop areas.
Protect Nearby Plants
Whenever you are spraying herbicide on poison ivy that is growing near desirable plants, choose a windless day. This ensures that your spray won’t be carried onto nearby plants by the breeze. Second, use large sheets of cardboard or plywood to make a barrier between the poison ivy and any plant that you do not want to kill. This will keep your garden plants shielded.
- Spray herbicide on windless days to prevent herbicide drift.
- Place cardboard or plywood barriers between poison ivy and other plants so you can spray poison ivy safely.
- Keep the spray nozzle close to the poison ivy leaves to prevent overspray from reaching other plants.
- Systemic herbicide kills plants by entering the leaves—you can spray poison ivy growing up a tree trunk with very little danger to the tree.
When spraying herbicide, hold the spray nozzle only a few inches from the leaves of the poison ivy. This will target only the plant you want to kill. Keep in mind that systemic herbicides are absorbed through the leaves. If some spray gets on the bark of a mature tree, it won’t be harmed.
Avoid Homemade Weed Killers
When killing poison ivy, never use a weed killer that includes salt in the recipe. Salt is more dangerous to nearby plants than systemic herbicides. This is because salt enters the soil and remains there for years, killing any plant that attempts to grow there. Even worse, when water enters the soil it spreads the salt over a wide area. If you add salt near the base of a poison ivy vine, the salt will spread to kill nearby plants.
- Do not use salt to kill poison ivy—salt poisons the soil for all plants.
- Salt in the soil is spread by water, creating a growing dead zone in your lawn or garden.
- Vinegar, bleach, and boiling water will not kill poison ivy roots.
- A systemic herbicide kills poison ivy to the roots but will not spread through soil.
In addition to salt, do not use bleach, vinegar, boiling water, or dish soap to kill poison ivy. These methods are ineffective at killing poison ivy down to the roots. Systemic herbicide enters the plant and kills it entirely. Most homemade weed killers only attack the aboveground portions of the plant. A poison ivy vine treated with vinegar or boiling water will just regrow from the roots.
Remove Poison Ivy by Hand
In order to get rid of poison ivy naturally in a way that doesn’t harm nearby plants, you can remove it with the aid of a shovel and some gardening tools. To do this job:
- Wear pants, long sleeves, heavy gloves, and eye protection to avoid skin contact with poison ivy.
- Cut off poison ivy vines near the soil surface and remove them.
- Use a shovel to dig down 8 inches and remove poison ivy roots.
- Discard of poison ivy roots and vines in the trash—never burn them.
It is extremely dangerous to burn poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Inhaling even a small portion of smoke carries the poisonous toxins into your lungs. This can cause a severe allergic reaction in your airways. Remain safe and consider taping your gloves to your sleeves in order to prevent direct contact with poison ivy. In the case of a poison ivy skin rash or allergic reaction, consult your doctor and follow the proper guidelines from Poison Control.
How Do You Kill Poison Ivy Without Harming Other Plants?
In order to safely remove poison ivy or poison oak without doing damage to nearby plants and grass:
- Do not use a herbicide that contains Glyphosate—this ingredient kills grass.
- Use a herbicide with 2,4-D, Triclopyr, Mecoprop, and/or Dicamba—they are harmless to most types of lawn grass.
- Remember, all herbicides that kill poison ivy are also dangerous if sprayed on the leaves of trees, bushes, and garden plants.
- Spray herbicide on days with no wind.
- Shield desirable plants from herbicide spray with cardboard or plywood sheets.
- Hold the spray nozzle close to the poison ivy leaves when spraying herbicide.
- Do not use a homemade weed killer that contains salt—salt poisons the soil for all plants.
- Dig up poison ivy roots with a shovel and discard the whole plant.
By using these tips you’ll be able to get rid of a poisonous plant in your yard and remove the threat of poison ivy rash. Even better, none of your other plants will be harmed in the process.