Simply put, poison ivy is a poisonous weed that's a nuisance! It's a very invasive, perennial (hard-to-kill) weed that grows in many different forms, including high-climbing vines, woody shrubs and ground creepers. It has a strong root system and spreads horizontally underground for several yards, making it tough to get rid of permanently. Poison ivy produces oil called urushiol (you-rue-she-ol) that is both a toxin and an irritant. Those with a sensitivity to it will break out in a red, itchy rash with blisters. It's important to know that every part of a poison ivy plant, from the stem to the vine to the leaves, is poisonous - even after the plant is dead.
In the continental U.S., poison ivy can be found just about everywhere since it grows well in most climates. Watch for it near trees, shrubs and along fence lines. In general, poison ivy grows east of the Rockies and poison oak to the west.
Poison ivy looks different depending on where you live and what season it is. Usually, poison ivy plants have three pointed leaves that are smooth, toothed or lobed, with the center leaflet being longer than the two side leaflets. In spring, look for reddish-colored leaves; in summer, green leaves; and in fall, yellow, orange or red leaves. Small, greenish flowers may grow in bunches attached to the main stem or, late in the season, the plant may develop clusters of small, whitish berries. Still not sure what it looks? Visit our invasive weed identifier.
Urushiol is a toxic oil found in the poison ivy plant that can cause redness, severe itching and blistering. Contact with the rash-producing oil, urushiol, can occur:
Never set fire to poison ivy as airborne particles can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening damage to lungs and skin. Poison ivy rashes can take 10 days or longer to heal. If you come in contact with poison ivy, wash immediately with plain, cool water (soap can move the oil around on the skin). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop severe symptoms such as extreme irritation, excessive blistering or swollen eyes.
Poison ivy's super-strong root system makes it tough to eliminate it completely. Even when it's ripped out of the ground, the chance of eliminating all the roots is slim, and the weed will likely grow back. Eliminate it by spraying the leaves thoroughly until wet with Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer. The exclusive Roundup formula combines two of the best brush-killing ingredients and is guaranteed to kill poison ivy and other tough weeds to the root. The vigorous roots are hard to kill, so keep them under control with a regular regimen of follow up treatments.
No. Rubbing a rash won't spread it to other parts of your body or to another person. The only way to spread it is if the plant's rash-causing oil, urushiol, is on hands or clothing. Always rinse skin thoroughly with plain, cool water and wash clothing and garden tools with hot, soapy water. And don't forget to wash Fluffy or Fido's fur, too, since pet fur can be a means of indirect contact with the irritant. It's best to contact your veterinarian about any specific concerns.
It depends. Coming in contact with an intact plant should not spur an allergic reaction—unless the rash-producing oil is present from another plant or the plant has been damaged by wind, insects or animals. These plants are easily damaged so always use caution when near them.
You can if you come in contact with airborne particles. Stay away from anything that can cause the plant's highly irritating urushiol to become airborne, such as a lawn mower or weed trimmer.
Perhaps, but unlikely since it is estimated that over 80% of the population has a sensitivity to urushiol and would experience an allergic reaction if exposed to it. More likely, it's just a matter of time and exposure before you develop one. The more times you're exposed to the plant's irritant, urushiol, the more likely it is that you'll develop an allergic rash. For first-time sufferers, it generally takes 7-10 days for a rash to develop.
Absolutely not! Urushiol, the oil that causes skin irritation, stays active on surfaces including clothing, garden tools and dead plants for years. Learn more about tough weed control.
The oil exuded by these weeds is almost entirely non-evaporating, making it easily transferable . If you know you've been exposed to poison ivy, immediately rinse the exposed area with cool water or clean the skin with isopropyl rubbing alcohol (preferably within 10 minutes of exposure) before rinsing. Washing promptly and thoroughly can help prevent a reaction. Isolate and carefully wash contaminated objects like clothing and gardening tools with hot, soapy water. Avoid using topical remedies on extensive areas of the skin without first consulting with a medical professional. Seek immediate medical attention for severe cases and if the rash-producing oil has been ingested or inhaled.
Yes. Drill four or five holes into a stump that's been freshly cut close to the ground. Immediately pour undiluted (concentrate, not ready-to-use) product into holes.
For best results, apply Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer in mid- to late-summer when vines are mature and actively growing. Apply every 3-4 weeks to stop new growth. Kudzu is extremely persistent so remain diligent about checking for and stopping new growth.
Spray Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer any time plants are actively growing. Dead canes should be cut down and removed. Reapply to kill deep roots.
If vines are growing up trees, fences or poles with mature bark, cut them to a height of 3-4 feet and spray thoroughly with Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer. If vines are growing up shrubs or tree trunks with green bark, cut vines at base, drill several holes into the poison ivy bark and apply undiluted product.
It depends how much and where the product is applied. Roundup Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer is absorbed through the leaves, so if you inadvertently spray the nearby bark of a mature tree, you likely won't damage it. If, however, you spray the leaves of this mature tree, you may risk harming the tree and could see at least a few brown leaves. Younger trees with less developed bark may experience more damage. Follow label instructions and exercise extreme care when applying. Shield desirable vegetation to reduce the risk of potential harm.
Poison ivy can be controlled anytime throughout the growing season. However, most effective control can be obtained when applications are made from early July through September.
Since poison ivy still contains rash-producing oils, avoid direct contact. Wear rubber gloves and handle dead plants carefully. Dispose of plants and rubber gloves in tightly sealed garbage bags. Thoroughly wash clothes in hot, soapy water. Clean garden tools, too, either by wiping them down with rubbing alcohol or by washing in hot, soapy water.