Poison ivy contains oils that can cause a painful rash. The plant grows freely in many parts of the United States and can be tough to control. If you'd like to get rid of it but don't want to use harsh herbicides, try a natural, less toxic method for killing it. Natural remedies generally affect poison ivy's ability to grow, so apply them when the plant is actively growing for best results.
Pouring on Salt
To kill poison ivy with salt, follow these steps:
- Mix together 3 pounds of salt and 1/4 cup of dish soap in 1 gallon of water.
- Stir to dissolve the salt completely.
- Put the mixture into a garden sprayer and spray the poison ivy with it.
Dousing with Vinegar
Use full-strength white vinegar in a garden sprayer or spray bottle and saturate the poison ivy with it. The ivy won't die right away, but eventually the vinegar will do the trick.
Sprinkling with Borax Powder
Sprinkle a layer of borax powder over all the poison ivy leaves. After about three weeks, all the treated leaves will die. If any leaves remain green, repeat the borax treatment. The poison ivy will likely grow back from the roots the next season, so be prepared to pour on borax powder again. Overuse of borax may make it so that nothing will grow in that spot, so use caution when applying this remedy.
Cutting it Back
Repeatedly cutting poison ivy down to ground level will eventually cause the plant to die. Small plants can also be dug out of the ground, roots and all, and disposed of carefully. Don't compost them because they'll bring all the irritating oils into the compost pile.
Graze it Down with Goats
Goats can eat poison ivy without any harmful affects. Humans must use caution when touching the animals because the goats will have the irritating oils on their coats. Pen in a few goats with the poison ivy and they will begin to happily munch away.
Destroying by Burning
The most important thing to remember about burning poison ivy to get rid of it is: Don't do it! Although burning poison ivy might seem like a good natural solution, this is one time where the fix is worse than the problem. Any smoke will contain plant irritants, and anyone who inhales it is at risk for getting poison ivy in the lungs. A highly sensitive person could even die as a result of inhaling it.
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