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How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy Weeds
Every year our shady New England property is over-run with poison ivy. It grows along the roadway, the driveway, the paths in the woods, and in among the ground cover plants.
My husband usually uses Brush-b-Gon spray to get rid of it. However, that not only requires repeated applications, but also uses a very toxic herbicide. Also, the application of the spray needs to be done on a day with low wind and when rain is not predicted.
Locally, Brush-b-Gon costs about $19 per quart and due to the need for repeated applications, it can become a very expensive solution. So I decided to find a less expensive and less toxic way to get rid of poison ivy.
Vinegar Weed Killer
After doing a little bit of research online, I found that Vinegar is actually a very effective weed killer. Another effective weed killer is salt.
Be aware however, that this recipe will kill ALL plants and not just the poison ivy weeds.
Start with an empty spray bottle that you can get from the hardware store.
Fill it nearly full with white vinegar.
Add about 1/3 cup of salt, shake to disolve.
Add about 1 Tbs of dish soap (this helps the solution stick to the leaves)
Shake again and you're ready to spray.
Natural Vinegar & Salt Weed Killer
Make sure the spray is set to a narrow spray so that you don't kill everything surrounding the poison ivy as well.
This spray works best on warm days when the leaves will be exposed to some sunlight.
It's also best to spray when it's not too windy and when rain is not predicted.
It will work in less ideal circumstances, but warm, clear, dry, and no-wind are the best.
Homemade Weed Killer - Vinegar & Salt
After you spray, just let the solution do it's work. In some cases, when you check back, the poison ivy will have disappeared entirely.
In other cases, you will see the leaves looking burned and dried.
Be aware that too much vinegar will change the pH of your soil to be more alkaline. Also, too much salt will keep anything at all from growing. However, when you consider the primary ingredient in Brush-b-gon is Triclopyr, which, according to Wikipedia:
Triclopyr breaks down in soil with a half-life of between 30 and 90 days. One of the byproducts of breakdown, trichloropyridinol, remains in the soil for up to a year. Triclopyr degrades rapidly in water. It remains active in decaying vegetation for about 3 months.
Vinegar and Salt weed killer seems much less toxic.
Another great online reference:
Ellen on July 09, 2018:
Would this also work on pesky trees that sprout at the edge of my front sidewalk?
carol ferlauto on May 27, 2014:
Exactly what we need something less dangerous. Goodbye poison ivy! Thank you.