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How to Kill Poison Oak Plants

Sheetal Mandora May 12, 2019
If you have poison oak growing in your backyard, it is time you knew how to kill poison oak plants. Here, we will go over the steps on getting rid of poison oak plants...
"Once bitten, twice shy" is the saying that applies here perfectly as poison oak can be a dangerous plant to be around. Found in the western part of North America, poison oak can grow in abundance given that the environment and weather conditions are favorable.
The reason why poison oak is feared by many residents is because of the plant's leaves and twigs. There is an oil called urushiol found on the leaves and twigs of the plant that is responsible for giving poison oak a bad name.
Although the oil doesn't cause allergic reactions to most people, with frequent exposure it could produce skin rashes, itchy boils, swelling of various parts of the body, and even blisters.
With such serious health risks, no one wants poison oak growing around them, do they? And that is why it becomes highly important to know how oak plants can be killed. Let us take a look at different ways to kill a poison oak.

Get Rid of Poison Oak Plants

There are two ways of killing poison oak plants. One, manually remove the plants from their roots; two, use commercial herbicides to kill the plants. Often, people burn the plants to get rid of them. This technique is actually harmful to the environment and the people living in the vicinity and doesn't help in reducing their numbers. So steer clear of that.
Before you decide how to go about it, remember to wear clothes that won't expose your skin too much. It is vital that you take absolute care as even the slightest contact can cause rashes and other serious poison oak symptoms. Apart from wearing protective clothing like long-sleeved shirt and pants, also wear hand gloves and wrap a cloth around your face.

Method #1 - Kill it Manually

  • Your objective is to lift the plants off its roots in order to kill it.
  • To make sure that there aren't any underground runners left behind, dig about 10 inches into the soil.
  • As you dig out the soil, you can remove underground runners and make sure that another plant won't grow in its place.
  • You can even try to cover the plants with old newspapers or cardboard after you have cut the plants.
  • This way you will smother them and kill them as they can't survive due to lack of sunlight.
  • Once the plants are dead, remove them from their roots, seal them properly, and throw it in the trash.

Method #2 - Kill it with Herbicides

  • There are various commercial herbicides available in the market that kill poison oak plants.
  • Purchase the brand as per your liking and follow the instructions mentioned on it.
  • You will need to cut the plants and then spray the herbicide in order to kill the plants.
  • Make sure you are wearing protective gear so that neither the poison oak nor the herbicide harms you.
  • The herbicide will seep inside the plants and kill them.
  • Remove the dead plants and dispose of them properly.
These were the two methods to kill oak plants. After you have finished the task, make sure you change out of your clothes and wash them immediately. Wash the tools you may have used while getting rid of the plants as well. Step into the shower so that any and all toxins are removed from your skin.
If you follow the given directions, you will be able to take a sigh of relief and not be bothered by poison oak plants. Keep a check in your garden and backyard if the plants aren't re-growing. If they are, you can follow the steps of killing poison oak plants again.