Poison ivy, along with deer ticks, mosquitoes, allergies caused by such plants as ragweed, and bad neighbors, is one of the banes of existence for the landscaping enthusiast. Below I focus on the battle with Rhus radicans from three perspectives. Learn the facts about:
- What poison ivy looks like
- How to get rid of the vines
- And -- in case something goes wrong with #1 and/or #2 -- how to treat the rash
I begin with some pictures since, at the very least, you should learn what poison ivy looks like, so that you can avoid coming into contact with it and contracting a rash:
Unfortunately, trying to identify poison ivy is like trying to hit a moving target. A young vine will look markedly different from an older vine. Furthermore, while you have to beware coming into contact with poison ivy during the spring, summer, fall and winter (even in cold climates), the vine appears in a different guise in each of the four seasons.
Thus the need for a photo gallery that captures the vine in all its various aspects. For example, find out what poison ivy looks like:
Want a bit of extra help in identifying the vine? Then you may be interested in a product on the market that I tested.
The product is a patch that you can wear on a boot, for example, and can warn you if you've come into contact with urushiol, the active irritant principle contained in the vine. The idea is that, after receiving the warning, you could then go inside and wash off adjacent skin surfaces.
Since this patch isn't foolproof, I recommend it only as a learning tool. First, get a basic idea of what poison ivy looks like using my pictures. Then, when you think you've spotted some of it, confirm the identification using the patch.
Confident now that you know what poison ivy looks like? You may wish to proceed to the next step: safely removing poison ivy from your landscape. Removing it from your landscape may be easier than avoiding it. Problem is, removing it means coming into contact with the vine, which is hardly a pleasant thought!
But the tips in this article will help you do the job safely. Learn:
- What to wear for the job
- What supplies you'll need
- When you should undertake the operation
- How to proceed with the removal
- What you should and should not do afterward
Since Murphy's Law applies just as much to landscaping as it does to any other pursuit in life, it behooves you to conduct at least some basic research into the treatment for the itchy rash induced by urushiol. For, even if you know what poison ivy looks like, and even if you go to great lengths to avoid contact, old Murphy may have other ideas!