An Easy Way to Deal with Poison Ivy

We’re located in a fairly rural area, and Poison Ivy always seems to “appear” in our flowerbeds. (Birds bring it in as a byproduct of eating the berries.) Lots of gardeners are very sensitive to it and any contact with the wretched stuff is bad. The next time you encounter Poison Ivy, if it’s bigger than a foot, you can kill it with one of the commercially available sprays. Just remember that the oils that cause so much grief are still present even in dead vines – so use gloves when removing (and throw them away when you’re done). If the Poison Ivy is less than a foot tall, or you don’t want to waste a perfectly good set of gardening gloves, take three plastic grocery bags instead and:

  • Put the hand you’ll be pulling with into a bag. It should reach your elbow. Then repeat with another bag so you have a double layer.

  • Hold the makeshift glove up by your elbow with your other hand. Pull out the offending plant by its base being careful not to come into contact with any part of it. I like to wad it up with my bag hand to minimize the risk of contact.

  • Next, pull both the double bags inside out while still clutching the Poison Ivy. Now the weed is inside and your hand is outside. Don’t let go yet!

  • Reach your other hand into the third plastic bag and “glove up.” Using your single bagged hand, wad the bags with the Poison Ivy into a ball, and then turn the single bag inside out and tie it shut with its handles. Toss in the trash, and wash your hands right away just to be safe.

The Poison Ivy is gone, and you didn’t have to use any chemicals. Nicely done!