What does poison ivy look like and how do I treat it?
Poison ivy doesn’t look the same all year long, but it can cause problems all year long! In the spring, the green leaves, clustered in three, have a notch or notches. . . except when then don’t. The leaves turn reddish–sometimes intensely, sometimes not. Sometimes shiny, sometimes not. Once the plant is mature, its summer leaves are again green, and the plant is about two feet high. Poison Ivy does actually get flowers. They are tiny clustered white- or yellow-green blossoms with yellow or orange stamens. They yield white-gray berries. The leaves change once again in the fall to red, orange or yellow. And just to complicate things further, poison ivy can grow as a creeping vine, or a bush. Poison ivy often spreads profusely in an area and become the dominant plant. Seriously, just stick with “leaves of three, leave it be” and you’ll be safe (except in winter, when there are no leaves but you can still have the rash reaction to the urushiol. Ugh!)
Poison ivy can be difficult to get rid of. No matter how you choose to do battle, please wear long sleeves and long pants duct taped to your gloves and socks to expose yourself as little as possible. Of course, if it’s just one or two vines you can just remove it, if you’re brave enough. Make sure you get the roots. Cover the area with newspaper or cardboard to deter regrowth. Or smother the live plant by covering with newspaper until it dies. Beyond that, you’ll probably want to wage chemical warfare with a spray specifically designated to kill poison ivy (it can take up to 4 weeks to completely die). There are recipes on the internet for homemade killer. Proceed with caution there as well. It’s best to double bag the plants (and your gloves) and throw in the trash. NEVER, EVER burn poison ivy or its parts! It is extremely dangerous to you and others. Wash your clothes twice, and with bleach before wearing again. Clean your tools thoroughly with a degreaser or alcohol. If you come in contact with the urushiol, rinse, rinse, rinse with cool water.
Poison ivy is at best a nuisance and at worst dangerous for humans. Keeping it under control requires careful preparation and constant vigilance. If you are not willing to chance it—let a landscape professional handle it for you!
Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Exposure Landscape Management specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of residential and commercial projects throughout the Greensboro Triad Area (High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Summerfield). We are the premier Greensboro mulch installer. With over 20 years in business, Southern Exposure has the experience and knowledge to create beautiful garden features and flower beds in the landscape. Southern Exposure is the leading landscape management firm in Greensboro, NC. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone (336.451.4969)