How do I rid a field of poison ivy?


I have several huge fields of pasture type land (10-20 acres) that are covered in poison ivy. I would like to get rid of the poison ivy and grow wild flowers. I am concerned about using large amounts of chemicals on the land. I would love some advice.


Donna R. Coffin, Extension Professor

First, it would be unusual to have 10 to 15 acres of poison ivy in a field. You may want to send a few photos to be sure we are dealing with poison ivy.

fact sheet from Cornell University posted on the MDACF Got Pests Website includes the following recommendations.
  • In areas that can be plowed, poison ivy may be effectively controlled by close mowing followed by plowing. It may be necessary to repeat the plowing or to follow it with a cultivated crop to kill or starve out the pieces of stem and root that were buried in the process.  Various products containing the non-selective herbicides glyphosate or triclopyr are labeled for controlling poison ivy.
  • In areas that you can not plow, repeated mowing (by someone not allergic to poison ivy) may give some relief.
  • If you do decide to use a herbicide like glyphosate, instead of spraying, you could use a wick applicator that only touches the leaves. There are hand wick applicators that look like a hockey stick with rope or roller.  Of course, if using a herbicide, read and follow label directions.