Thursday, June 16, 2011


What could possibly be more maddening than Poison Ivy? It itches enough to drive you right out of your skin. It looks awful. It oozes. It spreads. It's almost impossible to live comfortably when it afflicts you. But, WHAT is it? WHERE do we get it? And HOW do we avoid it? After we've gotten it, HOW do we get rid of it, or at least make ourselves comfortable.
I have a good friend who has managed to "catch" it. I feel badly for her and any others of you who are unfortunate enough to get it. So, let's talk about it.
What is it? Let's look at this website on POISON IVY and get a lesson in the basics.
Here's another link that explains some of the allergic reactions to Poison Ivy, Sumac or Oak as well as ways to treat it, or at least make yourself more comfortable. Remember to wash your skin thoroughly as SOON as possible after contact.
There is another way we can be exposed to these outrageous plants, and that's through our pets. They walk or run through it and pick up the wax on their fur. At that point they come in and smother us with affection, passing that lovely stuff onto OUR skin. If you know they've had contact with it, it might be time for a doggie bath. Just be sure to wear plastic gloves!!!
Here are some more pictures of the offending plants with additional information from the Virginia Extension Service.
The final question will be how to get rid of it. This article has some good information to help you in this most difficult of projects!
The problem here is that in order to work with the plant, you must really protect yourself VERY thoroughly. Be ready to throw the clothing, that might even touch it, into the trash! If you are serious about doing something, here is a pretty good technique, that I have used with great success. The problem is that you STILL will have to get rid of the plant. Be prepared to put it CAREFULLY into a large black trash bag. (Have pity on the trash man, PLEASE!)
Get a pair of pruners, on a VERY hot sunny day. Cut the main stem of the offending plant totally. PAINT a liquid, systemic, plant killer on the root side of the cut stem. The plant will be thirsty on this hot, dry day and will suck up that systemic herbicide...right down to the roots! Be sure to be generous. Try to get the upper, separated plant into that black plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash. Hopefully, the part of the plant still left in the ground will falter and get really SICK. You may have to do this a few times, in fact, maybe for a few years. But, it will definitely be worth it!
I hope these web-sites will be helpful. They tell the story so much better than I can. Good luck!


At June 29, 2011, Anonymous constance blizzard said...

I can say from the horror of my experience that one should AVOID kissing one's dog in the poison ivy months.

I've so far managed to avoid trouble this year, but only by being a neurotic freak. Thanks for this!


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