Do you have a poison ivy patch you need to get rid of? Is it cropping up in inconvenient places? This is the method I’ve used to eradicate poison ivy. I hope you find it helpful!
Note: PracticalMechanic.com is reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission – at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Spraying Poison Ivy
Here is some of the poison ivy that was near my mailbox. This was a bit annoying as I didn’t want the kids to get into this when they were getting the mail. This is a photo before spraying it.
Here I used a Field King poison sprayer to spray it.
After a day, the poison ivy looks like this.
After 4 days, the poison ivy looks like this.
After 4 days the poison ivy was almost completely dead. A week later is was dry and crumbling.
Goodbye Poison Ivy Patch!
Here was another fairly large patch of poison ivy that i stumbled across in the meadow. The top images are the ‘before’ and the bottom images are the ‘after’, where the after is about 4 days.
How To Get Rid of Poison Ivy
The best way to get rid of poison ivy is to spray it with Roundup. If you don’t like the idea of using Roundup, use the mixture I recommend below. Whatever poison you end up settling on, use this procedure.
- Buy the concentrated version of Roundup. These days, it is 18% glyphosate.
- Wear protective gear as recommended on the bottle (facemask, gloves, eye protection, etc…) and follow all safety requirements.
- Make a mixture of Roundup and water. Use the maximum ratio of 6 oz poison to 1 gallon of water. (If you use a lower concentration, the poison ivy may recover…)
- Put the poison/water mixture into a sprayer (I recommend the Field King).
- Use the sprayer to spray the leaves of the poison ivy plants until they are nice and wet.
- Make sure it doesn’t rain for at least 6 hours or so after you spray it.
- Rinse out the spray 2-3 times with plain water.
- Watch the poison ivy wither and die over the next week or so.
Alternative Option to Spray on Poison Ivy (Safer Recipe)
Another option besides Roundup to kill poison ivy is to make your own mixture of vinegar, salt, and soap.
Note: Although this is a ‘safer’ option, I would still recommend using gloves, mask, and eye protection when mixing and spraying this concoction!
Mix the following ingredients to make 1 gallon:
- 1 gallon of white vinegar
- 1 cup of salt
- 2 tbsp of dish-soap
Make sure to mix until the salt is fully dissolved. The soap acts as a surfactant to help the salt dissolve as well as to help the recipe stick to the oily leaves of the poison ivy plant.
What Spray Rig Is Best for Spraying Poison Ivy?
So the rig I used-to use to spray poison ivy was one of those small garden sprayers, but that thing drove me up the wall! It was always clogged, the nozzle was finicky, I constantly had to set it down (in the poison ivy) to pump it back up or fix something, and the small plastic parts just seemed so fragile. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a small area to spray, and don’t mind messing around with it, they can be a cheaper alternative.
However, now, I use this backpack sprayer I’ve borrowed from my father-in-law, which is orders of magnitude better. In fact, I would call it a joy to use, if it’s possible to use that phrase in this context!
This unit is probably 5-6 years old at this point, but the current Field King doesn’t appear to have changed much in that amount of time. It has the backpack straps and the hip straps which, if you’ve tightened it correctly, support almost all of the weight, making it very easy to carry. The unit can hold up to 4 gallons of spray at a time.
Putting it on your back with 4 gallons of solution inside is a bit awkward. It is doable (I always do), but having a helper hoist it onto your back would be appreciated. The thing seals really well, so you don’t have to worry about sloshing poison on your back if you tip it over while putting it on!
It also has strap clasps across the front of the chest to keep the two shoulder straps on, which also adds to the comfort, since you aren’t constantly pulling on them to get them to the right spot on your shoulders.
The reservoir has markings on the back so that you know how much spray you have in the unit.
The reservoir has a nice large mouth for pouring in your spraying solution. A nice touch so you don’t have to dirty a funnel and also don’t have to worry about spilling.
The best thing about this unit is hands-down the pumping mechanism. There is a long lever that you push up and down with your left hand, since the lever is so long, it doesn’t take much effort (lots of mechanical advantage). You give it 2 or 3 full pumps, and you can spray for 30-45 seconds continuously! And this isn’t a wimpy stream, this is a nice full spray plume!
My unit has the plastic handle and spray wand, which has held up fine for me. They do make a Field King with a stainless steel wand that is a little beefier. If I’d known how much I would end up using this unit over the years, I would have bought that one. That being said, the Field King with the plastic wand has worked fine for me, so no complaints.
Here is the spray handle.
Squeeze the large handle to spray. Release to stop spraying.
The unit comes with several nozzles, I’ve settled on this one (and lost the rest somewhere). This brass one works perfectly for spraying poison ivy.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to get one of these, I am here to tell you: you won’t be disappointed! This thing has lasted me years, is a pleasure to use (yes, it is appropriate in this context!), and isn’t even expensive.
Here are a few pictures of this backpack sprayer in action spraying Roundup on another patch of poison ivy!
Get those leaves nice and soaked. Make sure you spray them on a day where you won’t get rain, you want the poison to settle on the leaves and not get rinsed off!
I hope you found this helpful! Here are links to the Field King sprayer options: