Removing poison ivy requires planning and diligent work. Here's what I do for the setup before removing vines.
- Bring out a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves. The urushiol oil easily penetrates cloth and other types of gardening gloves. Ideally these gloves should have a long sleeve (well past the wrist).
- Get out the garden hose, turn on the water and have it ready nearby.
- Get out a large bucket and fill it with soapy water.
- Get out some sort of container to put the vines into. I have an old trash can I use. Plastic bags work as well. You just need something to put the poison ivy plants into for transport.
For gardens, I prefer to pull up the vines and get them out. Some people will recommend using Roundup but that takes time to work and I've had marginal success using it. I find that Roundup is best when working on a periphery area (such as at the edge of the property, edge of woods, amongst a stand of trees, etc.).
Now we're ready to pull up the poison ivy vines. If you work carefully, the chance of contact with the plant is negligible. Make sure you know which plants are poison ivy. Don those heavy duty gloves and start pulling like you wood a weed with tough roots. The key here is that you want to get as much of the root as possible. I sometimes use a small trowel to help get up the plant and roots. Poison ivy normally sends out runners which develop smaller roots along the vine. Depending on age, the main plants roots might be very large and deep. Pull the plants and immediately put into your receptacle (bag, trash can, etc.) Make certain that you touch the plants only with the heavy duty gloves or tools.
To get rid of stubborn roots, you may need to use a plant killer such as Bush-B-Gone (works well on woody plants). If there is any root left and the plant has not been killed, it will come back again and again.
When you are done or are ready for a break, with the gloves still on dip them in the bucket of soapy water. Urushiol easily washes off. Wash off all tools you used as well. I normally call my husband over and he runs the garden hose so that we make sure the oil is off the gloves and WELL diluted. The key here is to do a thorough clean up using lots of water.
Do not attempt to compost the plants. Do not burn them. Get rid of the pulled plants and make sure that no one else will come in contact with them. Dead poison ivy plants are just as toxic as live ones. It's the urushiol oil in the leaves and stem that we are allergic to.
There is a Control page here on the site which discusses ways to get rid of the plants. Good luck!