Controlling Poison Ivy

gby1701_1_poison_ivy

gby1701_1_poison_ivy

Q. Poison ivy is taking over my garden bed. Is there anything I can do short of using chemicals?

A. Yes, pull it up, roots and all, but be very careful to suit up first. All parts of this plant (Toxicodendron radicans) have an extremely irritating oil that's released with the slightest disturbance. Wear long sleeves and pants and disposable gloves. Pull gently to get as many of the roots as possible. Try to avoid touching your shoes (or anything else that's hard to wash) with the plant. Place all the plant material in a trash bag and dispose of it. Then, remove your clothes, put them in the washer, dispose of the gloves and wash yourself immediately with cool water and a strong bar soap — or better, a soap made for poison ivy exposure.

Don't throw poison ivy into the compost pile. Also, never burn it; the poisonous oils can be inhaled.

If the poison ivy originated in that garden bed, you can remove it all with a few repeats of the above procedure. If it's creeping in from elsewhere, however, you'll have to make this exercise a fairly regular routine.

Note: The oily resin of poison ivy is active all year long. You can contract a rash by exposure to naked stems and roots in the winter.

Next Up

Keeping Pets Safe: Poisonous Plants

Lots of dogs and cats like to chew on foliage. Avoid the plants that bite back.

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

Morning glories are poisonous beauties. Know your plants to keep your household safe.

Poisonous Plants to Avoid

Keep your family safe by learning how to identify and avoid these wicked garden plants.

How to Kill Poison Ivy

Five strategies for ditching the itch.

5 Tips for Controlling Dust Mites

These bedbugs are a leading cause of allergies and asthma. Here's how to fight back.

How to Get the Most From Plant Retailers

Knowing your nursery staff can reap huge dividends for your garden.

Cultivate Flower Beds Year-Round

Design a flower bed that's both colorful and visually appealing throughout the changing seasons.

Controlling Mold Growth in Your Home

Tips for battling mold issues in your home.

When to Apply Herbicides

Gardening experts share tips on when to apply pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.

How to Read a Plant Tag

Understand the marker that comes with your plant using this handy guide from HGTV Magazine.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

What's New in Outdoors

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.