Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Something's Lurking in the Woods Around My House...

And it's worse than a wild boar, a peeping Tom, or a stalker. It's Poison Ivy.

Although it's been raining 6 out of 7 days this week, we've managed to spend quite a bit of time out in our yard and garden. We built our home on wooded property two years ago and still have a lot of hedge row/wooded areas that need "clearing out". We've been taking down trees, and limbs and hauling them away. Unfortunately the areas we're working in are covered in POISON IVY, so it means taking some precautions.

I grew up in the "woods", so I've always had a very healthy respect for Poison Ivy, and know exactly what it looks like. However, I realized that lots of people don't know what it looks like (including my hubby, Big A). So I thought I'd take a minute to inform him y'all what it is, what it looks like, and what you can do about it.

The BEST way to deal with Poison Ivy is to avoid it all-together. Know what it looks like and stay away from it. So without further ado...

Poison ivy looks like this in the summer:

poison ivy in summer

Notice that some of the leaves are shiny, and some are notched. The leaves grow in clusters of three.

Here it is in Spring.

spring poison ivy

The fall colors can be deceiving.

poison ivy in fall

It also climbs trees.

climbing poison ivy vine
(Pictures and source here.)

The vines themselves are "hairy", like a coconut, and can be inches thick.

Now that you know what it looks like, here are some FAQ's that might help you if you come into contact with Poison Ivy.

Where does Poison Ivy grow?

All over the United States, except in the deserts and very high elevations. Some small areas of the most Western US do not have it. It grows in woods, in hedge-rows, along the edges of fields, and can even creep into lawns. It climbs trees, and can grow into bushes.

How do I get poison ivy?

By touching it, or touching something IT touched (like your dog or your clothes). Using the mower or weed eater, or chain saw, can spray you with the poisonous oils (just ask Big A). Burning it puts the oils in the air, and into your lungs, so NEVER try to burn it away. And, a word to the wise: If hiking in the woods, bring some TP with you - DO NOT be tempted to wipe with leaves!

(Some people appear to be immune to poison ivy, but even if I thought I was immune, I wouldn't trust that.)

What does it feel like?

The rash produces one of the "itchiest" experiences EVER. It can give you small spots that itch, or large blistered spots, that spread and itch.

What Can I do if I am exposed?

As soon as you think you may have been exposed rinse in COLD water (hot water will open your pores and let more poison in). Rinse in the cold water for as long as you can stand it.

What if I start to itch?

If the rash is large, blistered, or seems serious, SEE A DOCTOR. For less serious cases, spray your body with deodorant that contains aluminum, and/or use calamine lotion.

Can I get rid of Poison Ivy?

You can not burn it. You can't pull it out. You should not mow it, weed-eat it, or chain-saw it (Honey? Are you listening?).  You can TRY using Round up, but it's my understanding that there's not a lot you can do to control poison ivy.

Here's what I'm saying in a nutshell - Stay away from Poison Ivy - wear gloves, jeans, and generally cover up when you're working in the yard - especially if, like us, you have woods. Better safe than sorry, right?

My next post will be happy, I promise!



Susan at said...

We have a ton of it on the side of the house. We've pretty much just stayed the heck away from it, but I'm afraid we're going to have to deal with it soon before the dogs start playing in it. Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

We have a good deal of poison ivy, and I have been successful at pulling it. Even though I am not allergic, I wear gloves. The roots are long and thin and don't run deep, so they are very easy to pull up. I add them to the sticks, leaves and other yard trash for the city to pick up. I have also been successful with Round Up, but I know that organic gardeners and people with pets and young children don't want to use it. You just have to be aware that one spraying of Round Up does not get it. You have to do it several days in a row. The poison ivy that I rounded up a few years ago has not grown back. Your best advice-Stay Away- is so true! My husband, who is allergic, wears long sleeves and jeans to weed eat when he is around parts of the yard where poison ivy tends to lurk.

Diann said...

Thanks for sharing this info with us at TTF!

Charlene said...

We have some poison ivy, but also lots of poison oak--nasty stuff!

The Cottage Market {Andrea} ♥ said...

Great that everyone should bookmark...hopefully they won't need it but if they's great to have at your fingertips! Thanks for sharing...hugs...