Several herbicides will kill poison ivy. Triclopyr (Brush-B-Gon) kills kudzu and brambles as well as poison ivy. Non-selective weed killers like Round-Up, Finale or Next Day will kill poison ivy, too. With care, spot spraying can take the offending vines from among your ornamentals.
Master Gardener Carolyn Krueger doesn’t use sprays at all! She just puts her arm into a plastic newspaper wrapper and pulls the vines by hand. She then pulls off the plastic and discards it! Poison ivy seeds are spread by birds. The vines will continue to sprout throughout the summer. Constant vigilance is needed to avoid the oh-so-attractive calamine skin makeup.
Steven Stinchcomb, proprietor of Turnipseed Nursery in Fayetteville, says he has wracked his brain trying to think of a benefit from poison ivy. “I know birds like to eat the seeds”, he admits, “and the fall leaf color is nice. But for the rest of the year, poison ivy is the sorriest, most misbegotten vine I can think of!”