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Will Diesel Fuel Kill Poison Ivy?

Updated February 21, 2017

An application of diesel fuel kills not only poison ivy but all other vegetation in the area. Poison ivy roots extend beyond the leaf cover and the plant is likely to recolonise.

Diesel Effects

Tests in Alaska show that diesel oil spills kill all vegetation in the treated zone for more than a year. Nitrogen imbalances in contaminated soils prevent the quick return of anything but legumes.

Ivy Roots

The poison ivy you see covers the centre of the area the ivy has colonised. Runner roots creep out from established plants, allowing new growth from roots in clean soil.

Effective Treatments

Herbicides like Roundup destroy an enzyme plants need to live--all parts are affected, including roots. The herbicide must be absorbed through leaves and is not persistent in soil.

Diesel Uses

Diesel is used as a sticking agent for herbicides that prevent tree stumps from regrowing. The chemicals should be applied to the stumps and not to surrounding soil and vegetation.

Groundwater Contamination

In a diesel spill the oil leaches deep into the soil where natural processes do not break it down. Poisoning of the local water supply by diesel contamination is a real possibility.

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About the Author

James Young began writing in 1969 as a military journalist combat correspondent in Vietnam. Young's articles have been published in "Tai Chi Magazine," "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," Sonar 4 ezine, "Stars & Stripes" and "Fine Woodworking." He has worked as a foundryman, woodturner, electronics technician, herb farmer and woodcarver. Young graduated from North Seattle Community College with an associate degree in applied science and electronic technology.