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Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy Plant

At some point or another, we will all run into Poison Ivy plant.

Poison Ivy ID and Control

“Leaves of three, leave them be.”
“One, two, three don’t touch me.”
“Berries white, run in fright.”

Most recognize those phrases as being associated with poison ivy.
Poison ivy is identified in many ways, translucent berries, the narrow center steam, red leaflets in the spring, but all of that is overthinking.

If you see three leaves, just assume it’s poison ivy.

Poison ivy produces an oil called urushiol that, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, causes a rash in about 85% of the human population. Urushiol is viscous. It can be spread via skin, clothes, animal fur, and it can hang around for months. Urushiol is found in almost every part of the plant. Even brushing against “dead” poison ivy can result in a rash.
Poison ivy is tenacious. It can grow independently, amid bushes, or wrap itself around a tree. If left uncontrolled, it will take over an area.

Ineffective Control

To ensure you don’t have poison ivy in your yard, take a monthly tour of your property. If found, you must use caution when destroying it. For example, never burn poison ivy. The urushiol gets into the air and can infect your lungs, resulting in breathing difficulties. In some cases, inhaling the airborne urushiol can be fatal. Even with burning, the roots will likely remain meaning the plant will probably return.
Pulling the plant from the base is also ineffective because it is difficult to remove all the root. And unless you are careful, you risk making physical contact.

Effective Control

The most effective way of controlling poison ivy is with a specialized killer. These sprays contain triclopyr that fights through the waxy leaves of poison ivy and other hard to kill weeds such as sumac and poison oak. And glyphosate kills the roots of these plants. Be careful, however. You must follow label directions carefully.
Dispose of the dead plant properly. Cover your body completely, and wear goggles and rubber gloves. Put the dead plants in a plastic garbage bag making sure all the plant is inside. When finished, remove your gloves and put them in the bag. If your clothes are old and expendable enough, put them in the bag as well. If not, immediately wash them separately in warm, soapy water. If possible, add bleach. And immediately take a hot shower with a specialty soap.
Be alert against poison ivy. It’s not everywhere, but be wary in wooded areas, and anyplace you see the thick brush. Use caution when ridding your yard of it. Dispose of it properly, and it will give you minimal problems.
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