Thermal entanglement of a two-qutrit Ising system in the presence of an external homogeneous magnetic field and Dzialoshinski-Moriya (DM) interaction is investigated. Influences of magnetic field, temperature, and DM interaction on the entanglement have been characterized in terms of negativity for a wide range of parameters. The cases of parallel, antiparallel and transverse magnetic fields are considered. Results of detailed numerical calculations are explained using the analytically determined ground and excited states of the system. It is shown that at a given temperature, control of entanglement can be optimized by utilizing competing effects of the magnetic field and the DM interaction. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.