How To Kill Ivy And Identify Poison Ivy

Do you know how to kill ivy and identify poison ivy? When ivy grows on your trees or home, it can be frustrating. It could be harmful or something else.

No matter what kind it is, and unless you want it, ivy is annoying.

how to kill poison ivy

Before learning the best ways to kill ivy, it is important to know the different types. We’ll  look at a few ways to treat ivy rashes. You want to learn first aid as it could save you, or a loved one, from pain and suffering. 

Allergies: poison ivy affects those who are allergic. It’s good to know how to treat those with rashes. Anyone can develop an allergy and when experiencing hormonal change. 

Poison Ivy Vs  Poison Oak
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Types Of Ivy

When you hear the word “ivy” you think of a harmful plant. Not all ivy is dangerous. Ivy is a common house plant. Learn the different types of ivy so you can stay safe. 

Most ivy is harmless. There are more types of ivy than one can count. Only a few types are widespread in most parts of the world. Here are the most common types of ivy. 

English Ivy

Size: Grows up to 100 feet.

Shape: Glossy, three-prong average-sized leaves.

English ivy is known as common ivy and grows in North America. It can grow into a green cover for the ground, trees, or buildings. As a houseplant, it can filter toxins from indoor air.

Most ivy in the US is English or a related to it. It is harmless, but annoying. Find other house plants that help your home and health. 

Persian Ivy

Size: Up to 40 feet.

Shape: Large, teardrop leaves with yellow edges.

Persian ivy isn’t dangerous. It has the largest leaves of all ivy plants, but it can become a problem. If left untreated, the ivy can take over forests and yards. The hardy ivy knows no bounds. 

Irish Ivy

Size: Up to 100 feet.

Shape: Three-prong while growing, five-prong when fully grown. 

Irish ivy looks like English ivy. Though the leaves are safe, its flowers produce black berries. These are not to be confused with blackberries as Irish ivy berries are poisonous. 

Japanese Ivy

Size: Up to 30 feet.

Shape: Curled leaves with purple tints.

Japanese ivy is native to East Asia. It is recognized due to the purple edges of its leaves and vines. This color isn’t present year around and sometimes appears red rather than purple. Japanese ivy produces berries. 

Russian Ivy

Size: Up to 100 feet.

Shape: Light green, small leaves.

Russian ivy is native to Russia, Armenia, and Iran, and is known as Iranian Ivy. Russian ivy also doesn’t grow on the sides of trees and buildings. It grows freely like other plants and doesn’t latch on to buildings.

Nepalese Ivy

Size: Up to 100 feet.

Shape: Classic ivy shape with contrasting veins.

Nepalese ivy can be found in Nepal, Vietnam, India, China, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Nepalese ivy leaves are thick and leathery. They have light veins and dark leaves, offering a nice contrast.

Canarian Ivy

Size: Up to 100 feet.

Shape: Light green leaves with classic shape.

Canarian ivy is native to the Canary Islands. The ivy grow in many locations worldwide. It is similar to English ivy and can be treated the same. 

Boston Ivy

Size: Up to 50 feet.

Shape: Red or green with three prominent prongs.

Boston ivy is part of the grape family, but it’s often called ivy. It is part of the grape family as its green flowers produce grapes. Their grapes are poisonous to humans. 

Poison Ivy

Size: Up to 50 feet.

Shape: Three separate leaves attached to one vine.

Poison ivy is recognizable due to its leaves. Each leaf has three separate leaves per each “leaf” section. The plant has a medium to light green hue and is the only one poisonous to touch. So learn to spot it.

The ivy doesn’t look like other plants except poison oak, which is also harmful. Both plants should be avoided. Read on to learn more about the difference between poison ivy and poison oak later. 

How To Kill Poison Ivy Without Herbicides 

How To Kill Poison Ivy Without Herbicides 

If you’re like most, you prefer to not live among chemicals. Killing poison ivy without herbicides is ideal. Most infestations can be stopped with nothing more than your hands and a pair of gloves. 

Poison ivy grows fast. If you eradicate it, then it won’t return for a few years. That’s easy to do. Here are the steps you can take to rid yourself of poison ivy once and for all. 

Protecting Yourself

This may be the most important step in killing poison ivy. Make sure that you wear gloves to protect yourself from infection. But don’t stop there, wearing a mask and goggles can prevent the inhaling of toxicity from the plant. 

Also, cover your arms, legs, and feet. Don’t wear flip-flops or sandals. Do not leave your skin exposed. Turn your clothes inside out when you finish and wash them separate from your other clothes. Add a disinfectant when washing.  

Getting Rid Of The Source

Now that you’re geared up, it’s time to go to work. Start by cutting the vines from the surface. Make sure you remove anything that it’s hanging onto as well. Use a small hatchet if possible or something similar. 

If a hatchet isn’t available, you can use your hands to pull them away. This is why thick gloves are so important. Medical gloves aren’t ideal as they can snag and this defeats the purpose. Scrape the excess vine away with a shape object. 

Clearing The Roots

After the vines have been removed, it’s time to work on the roots. Pull the roots out of the ground, making sure to dig them up good. You can replace any soil you tear up with potting soil and grass seed to cover it.

Disposing Of Poison Ivy

Make sure to keep a black trash bag nearby to dispose of the vines, roots, and leaves as you go. Whenever you’re done, you should also turn your gloves inside out and put them in the trash bag as well. 

How To Kill Poison Ivy With Herbicides 

How To Kill Poison Ivy With Herbicides 

Although it’s not ideal, sometimes you need to use herbicides to get rid of stubborn poison ivy. You can buy the herbicide at most grocery stores or order it online. There aren’t any home remedies that work as well as an herbicide. 

Spray With Herbicide

The first thing you want to do is spray the leaves and vines. Follow the herbicide directions, taking necessary precautions. You will have to spray and then leave them to soak for a few minutes. 

Pull Vines Away

After the leaves yellow, the vines should pull away fairly easily. Pull the vines off, being careful not to leave stragglers that can act as a new base or foothold. If the ivy doesn’t have anything to hold onto, it won’t grow. 

Spray Roots

After your path is clear, spray the roots. Spray where they are growing, but try not to spray any plant that you want to live. The roots won’t need pulled up of the herbicide kills them, but it doesn’t hurt to pull out what you can.  

Poison Ivy Vs. Poison Oak

Poison Ivy Vs. Poison Oak

Most people can’t tell the difference between poison ivy and poison oak. Though poison ivy is part of the poison oak family, the two are often considered separate plants. Here’s how to tell the difference. 


Poison ivy has three leaves. The edge of each green leave is serrated. Poison oak has a hairy texture and smoother edges. The serrated edge of poison oak has larger grooves and is shaped like the leaves of an oak tree. 


Treat poison oak and poison ivy rashes the same way. Medical attention is recommended. There are home treatments that can work if going out isn’t ideal at the time. 

The best thing you can do for a rash is apply cortisone cream or ointment (Cortizone 10) as needed. This clears up the rash for most people. You can also take allergy medicine. 

If your rash gets worse, call a doctor. Untreated allergic reactions can cause you to go into anaphylactic shock. Always call the doctor if the rash is on your face or neck area. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What are some home remedies for treating poison ivy?

If your skin has touched poison ivy, wash your skin with warm, soapy water. Do not wait to wash your skin after touching poison ivy. You can remove some of the oil. If you don’t, the oil could spread to someone else. When you skin itches, do not scratch it. Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the infected areas on your skin.

How often does ivy need to be watered?

Ivy houseplants do not need much water. Ivy grows better in drier conditions. You should water ivy when its soil is dry. 

How hard is it to grow ivy indoors?

Growing ivy indoors is easy. Light is the most important part of caring for ivy houseplants. If any ivy plant does not get enough light. Without enough light they will look sick and weak. Insects like ivy that isn’t healthy. If you don’t take care of your ivy plants, they will attract insects and other pests.

Poison Ivy Conclusion

Poison ivy is dangerous. Before you move into a new home, inspect your yard area to ensure there isn’t any poison ivy in your yard. Too much exposure to poison ivy could produce near-fatal consequences. You do not want to take chances. If you have kids and pets, you want to protect them from poison ivy. 

English ivy is ideal for indoors, The plants is great at cleaning the air you and your family breathe indoors. The ivy can grow up to nine feet in one year, so make sure you put it in the right place in your home. If you want to grow ivy, the best time to plant it is during the spring or fall seasons.