How to kill Poison Ivy without chemicals

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Mon Aug 18 19:39:58 EST 1997

At 5:33 PM -0400 8/18/97, VryGd1 at wrote:
>I have an area that I am clearing that will be used to raise goats.  There
>is a substantial amount of poison ivy there and I want to remove it.  I do
>not want it to grow back and I do not want to use Atrizine or any other
>chemical.  Does anyone know of an organic solution to this problem?
>Please include specific ingredients and quantities and application rates.
>Thank you

I'm not sure about the sensitivity of goats
to poison ivy...but it would not surprise me
if the goats took care of the problem by
themselves.  A phone call to a farm vet would
be a great idea.  If you are milking the goats,
though, it could be that the oleoresin is passed
through the milk and could affect the human
drinking it or eating cheese from it.  On the
other hand, once the goats have leveled the
ivy to the ground the problem will definitely
be gone.

"Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little
lambs eat ivy, a kid'l eat ivy too..."

Is there a basis for that? Or is this about
other types of ivy?

If your vet says the ivy would be a problem for
a goat, then my chemical weapon of choice would
be glyphosate (Roundup).  That is toxic to ALL
plants (except those engineered by Monsanto to be
resistant to it) but is apparently safe for animals
and particularly humans.  It has a 24 hour life on
a plant, and disintegrates in the soil and so there
are no runoff problems.  The most important consideration
is what you hit with the spray!  If you spray it all,
within about one week it will all be dead.  Then your
goats have nothing to you want to hit only the
ivy with it.  It can kill trees, shrubs, and all kinds
of grasses and weeds...nothing plant-like is safe from

I hate chemicals, though, so my first call would be
to the vet to try to use the goats as the solution
to the problem.  I would avoid using the milk for
humans until about a week after all the ivy has been
consumed...maybe longer.

Short of that, the only "organic" way I know of is a
pair of long-cuffed gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and
elbow grease.  Dispose of the ivy by burial rather
than burning to avoid breathing off-gassing oleoresin.

I'm sending a copy of this memo to a friend who keeps
goats who might also reply to you if he knows about
Toxicodendron toxicity for goats.  He is a botanist too
so the combination should be good.


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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