Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is one of the tough urushiol-laden vines native to North America, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. The leaves, stems and roots all contain urushiol, an oil that causes a severe allergic reaction in many people. Old-school methods of eradicating poison ivy included pouring diesel oil on the vines, which is illegal, contaminates the soil and ground water and doesn't work as well as modern herbicides.

poison ivy
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Poison ivy leaves.

Effective Poison Ivy Eradication

While killing poison ivy isn't easy, it is possible with modern herbicides. Products containing triclopyr or a combination of dicamba and 2,4-D are effective on poison ivy. Put on long sleeves, long pants, safety goggles and gloves before mixing or applying herbicides. Pour 1/2 cup of the herbicide concentrate into the sprayer and set the dial at 1 gallon of water; adjust the formula according to the manufacturer's directions. Spray the actively growing vines, thoroughly covering the foliage until it is wet, but not dripping. While the leaves and vines die back in two to six weeks, poison ivy is a tough weed and you may need to reapply the herbicide several times to completely kill it.