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Poison Ivy - Answers To Questions You Didn't Know You Had

7:26 AM, Jul 16, 2013   |    comments
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Triad -- I've always heard "leaves of three... let it be." That's about all I know about poison ivy. Unfortunately, every time someone points it out, it looks different from what I remember seeing last time.

There's a reason for that.

According to WebMD, poison ivy doesn't have a standard "look." It can look hundreds of different ways. It can also be mixed in with non-poison plants. Sometimes, by the time you get suspicious, it's too late. 

That doesn't help, does it?

Here's the moral of the story. Extension Agent, Mark Danieley says, if it's shiny and has leaves of three - really let it be! Always wear gloves and never touch anything you can't identify.

Did you know you can't "catch" poison ivy? Dr. Vyvyan Sun says, "Poison ivy is not contagious. It is the exposure to the
"sap" that causes the reaction. Therefore touching the plant leaves directly or (touching) contaminated objects can cause the rash."

The plant contains an oil called Urushiol, which can be picked up from any part of the plant, says Web MD. If you are allergic to it, your body will react. If not, it won't. Once you wash it off, it won't go any farther. It may appear to continue to show up in different places but only because only because those other parts of your body also originally came in contact with Urushiol.  

Getting rid of it can be tricky- and itchy! Danieley says, "Burning is definitely a bad idea. Always wear gloves when working outside and don't touch a plant that you can't identify. A hoe does a good job on small plants and careful use of glyphosate (Roundup) is also effective. If it has gotten into a tree the best method is to cut out a six inch piece (wearing gloves and a long sleeved shirt) of the stem and treat the lower portion of the stem with a 2,4-D brush killer or full strength glyphosate. Let the portion of the vine that is in the tree dry up and fall out on its own. The oils in the vine may still be active for weeks after the vine has been cut and look dead."

Or better yet - leaves of three... let them be.  

Extension Agent, Mark Danieley, Dr. Vyvyan Sun, Web MD

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