poison ivy

Steve Diver steved at ncatark.uark.edu
Wed Apr 1 17:14:08 EST 1998


I've caught a few itsy bitsy pieces of scattered information about
the use of concentrated vinegar for vegetation control.  Howard
Garrett, an author on organic gardening in Texas, mentions this too. 
I am really curious to know more about this, because it suggests
that a naturally occurring product can be used as a least-toxic contact 
herbicide.  Seemingly, it could be used in certified organic production.


1.  What is 9% vinegar, how does it compare to regular apple cider
vinegar available in natural food stores, or to supermarket brand vinegar? 

2.  Where can you buy 9% vinegar?  Can you purchase it locally
if you know what you're looking for, or do you have to obtain it via
mail order from a certain supplier? 

3.  Do you spray it straight, un-diluted?  I'd guess that would limit the 
area you can economically spray.  Or, maybe low-grade types of
vinegar can be purchased in 55-gallon barrels at cheap costs? 

4. How effective is this practice?  Under what conditions does
it work well and which plants are controlled better than other

5. The Kerr Center in Poteau, OK, tried the vinegar spray approach and 
reported that the vinegar ate the sprayer; thus, the expense of replacing 
equipment parts off-set the advantages.  Any info available on suitable 
spraying equipment? 

I know these are technical questions but I'd really like to find out more 
about this practice so the info can be made available to a broader 


Steve Diver

> More seriously, though,
> 9% vinegar sprayed on poison ivy leaves will kill them (especially in
> sunlight and warm weather)... they will come back from the roots, and must
> be repeatedly sprayed. If successive sprayings are made while re-sprouted
> leaves are still small, the roots will starve in a season (if leaves get
> very large, the roots recover quickly and the spraying can go on
> indefinitely).
> Jack

steved at ncatark.uark.edu

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