Recognizing and Removing Poison Ivy

July 13, 2022

It’s poison ivy season – but many people don’t know how to recognize this pesky plant, let alone remove it. Rashes can result from touching poison ivy (a.k.a. Toxicodendron Radicans) with bare skin. Those clearing out overgrown areas or weeding with bare hands or minimal protection should be careful.

Being able to identify poison ivy is crucial and is often confused with other plants. To spot poison ivy, look for compound leaflets that are two- to four inches long with pointed tips and a dull or glossy finish. The middle leaf is usually bigger than the others on the left and right. The leaves can appear irregularly toothed, lobed, or smooth. Stems have alternate leaves with young oily or shiny foliage with a reddish color.

Poison ivy should not be touched or pulled. Instead, spray all foliage with a specially formulated herbicide. Do not spray the weed killer on other plants, as it will also damage or kill them. To protect plants, you wish to survive, cover them with plastic bags while you spray the poison ivy. After the leaves wither and die, they can still cause rashes, so handle with layered gloves.

For poison ivy growing in trees or twisted throughout landscape shrubs, cut the vine as close to the ground as possible and treat the stump with herbicide. The root system will die, causing the rest of the vine to shrivel up as well. This method can be used any time during the year.

Check your neighbor’s landscape for poison ivy vines, which can spread seeds to your yard. If spotted, be vigilant and remove it immediately before it gets out of hand.

If you have come into contact with poison ivy and develop a rash, apply an over-the-counter Cortisone cream, poison ivy ointment, calamine lotion, etc. Try ingesting oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to ease your sleep and minimize swelling.

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Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: