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Takes steps to avoid poison ivy, oak, sumac

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Takes steps to avoid poison ivy, oak, sumac

Be Careful Around Poison Ivy


Be Careful Around Poison Ivy

‘Unforgettable Cookies’

My 11-year-old athlete, Kyle, slowly walked into the kitchen, scratching like a monkey. “I think I have poison ivy, Mom,” he said with his head hanging low. It was miserable enough to be covered from head to toe in pink itchy blisters in mid-July, but what made it even worse was that his traveling basketball team was in their peak of summer activity with one of their largest tournaments just a day away. There wasn’t much I could say. His sad face made it obvious that he was already aware that it would be impossible for him to play in the tournament that Saturday.

To some, not being able to play in a recreational basketball tournament might not be a big deal, but for Kyle, basketball is his life. Since he’s been coordinated enough to dribble, he’s been in love with the sport. He plays nearly year round, participating in school teams, traveling teams and a random tournament here and there.

So, what’s a mom to do? My instructions to take an anti-itch oatmeal bath and then follow up with cotton balls and calamine lotion didn’t seem to be cutting it. Then I had an idea. “Why don’t I make some cookies?” There’s nothing like some of Mom’s homemade treats when you’re having a bad day.

I grabbed my apron and my favorite cookie recipe book and began to hunt for just the right cookie. Nothing really grabbed me. I decided instead to try a new recipe and dedicate it to Kyle’s poison ivy.

When the cookies came out of the oven, I put some on one of Kyle’s favorite childhood plates. I took them to the living room where he was sprawled watching television and declared, “Kyle’s Poison Ivy Cookies,” as I presented them to him. “I crossed out the name of the recipe in the cookbook and wrote in ‘Kyle’s Poison Ivy Cookies’ with today’s date and a short paragraph about you being covered with poison ivy.” His wide grin made me feel great.

Renaming cookie recipes has now become a tradition in our family. Whenever there’s a need, we bake some cookies and write our memories in the same cookbook. We have “I’m Bored Cookies,” our own rendition of Snickerdoodles, and “Celebrate Winter Break Cookies,” a twist on the average sugar cookie. Whatever the occasion, we name a new cookie, and we never fail to read through all the old ones too, reliving the memories we’ve baked up in years past.

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‘Unforgettable Cookies’

Ways to Protect Your Family Outdoors

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – Jul 7, 2014) – (Family Features) Before your family begins enjoying the great outdoors during this adventure-filled season, make sure your yard is properly treated to avoid the dangers of poison ivy, oak or sumac.

Learn the proper steps to keep the threat of poisonous plants away from your family and property. Ashton Ritchie, Lawn & Garden Expert and Author offers this expert advice for protecting your family:

Locating the danger
Keeping your family safe begins with proper identification of these harmful, rash-producing plants. In the right environment, poisonous weeds can grow and spread quickly. Using a photo or resource like StopPoisonIvy.com can help identify the various poison weeds and their stages (Poison Ivy often emerges red and only starts to turn green in late spring). Survey your yard once a month, keeping a close eye on these common areas:

  • Ground Cover: A common area for poison ivy is along the edge of a wooded area or around any shaded and less maintained section of the yard.
  • Trees: By disguising itself as part of a tree limb, poison ivy often climbs up trees situated in shady locations.
  • Edges: If you find that poison ivy continues to invade your outdoor space year after year, you may be experiencing the “edge effect,” a phenomenon that occurs when the wooded areas surrounding your yard dry out. Various weeds flourish under such conditions.
  • Stumps: Dead stumps are also a common hangout for these harmful weeds.

Eliminate the threat
Once you have determined where the poison ivy is located, you can work to remove it from your surroundings. Look for a weed-eliminating product that works double-duty, such as Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer, which penetrates the waxy surface of poison ivy, oak, sumac, kudzu and other tough weeds, while also killing at the roots.

  • Wear protection
    Before contact with these poisonous plants, always wear the proper clothing and protection. Be sure to cover your hands with thick, long gloves and wear a long sleeved shirt and pants in case you accidently touch the plants.
  • Choose the right time
    Always choose a calm, wind-free day for applying products to avoid contact with other desirable plants in your yard. If you can, it is best to apply with a temperature above 60 degrees F.
  • Apply a weed-killing solution
    Spray a specialized weed killer, such as Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer on the leaves until saturated, taking care not to apply to nearby trees, grasses and desirable plants. You should always read and follow label directions.
  • Wait for the plant to completely die
    Perennial weeds such as poison ivy may take 4 or more weeks for a complete kill, so be patient and follow the directions on the specialized weed killer packaging.
  • Regularly monitor surroundings
    Keep new weeds from growing by surveying your outdoor areas at least once a month throughout the busy weed-growing months of May through November.

With proper application and monitoring, your family can enjoy all the outdoor fun without the worry. For more tips and tricks, visit www.StopPoisonIvy.com.

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Ways to Protect Your Family Outdoors

Poison Ivy and Other Summer Skin Irritants

Started by Dana Sparks (@danasparks) · Mon, Jun 30 at 3:34pm EDT

Poison Ivy and Other Summer Skin Irritants

close up of three leaf poison ivy

Poison ivy grows as vines or low shrubs in most climates. Each leaf on a poison ivy plant has three smaller leaflets. Contact with any part of the poison ivy plant can cause red, swollen skin; blisters; and severe itching, sometimes within hours after exposure.

A poison ivy rash usually resolves on its own within a few weeks. In the meantime, control itching with an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. An oatmeal bath and cool compress also might be helpful. Consult your doctor if you have a severe poison ivy rash or if the rash involves your eyes, face or genital area. Poison oak and poison sumac cause a similar rash.

Read More: Poison Ivy and Other Summer Skin Irritants

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Poison Ivy and Other Summer Skin Irritants

Common Myths About Poison Oak, Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac: WSSA Experts Separate Fact From Fiction

Lawrence, Kansas (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

With summer temperatures luring us outdoors, scientists with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) say it’s a great time for refresher course on poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac. All three thrive during summer months and are known to trigger highly irritating skin rashes that can last for many days.

“When you look at the thousands of people exposed each year and at the misery a rash can produce, poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac certainly rank among the most notorious weeds in the nation,” says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., WSSA science policy director.

All three belong to the Toxicodendron genus and produce irritating urushiol oils. When urushiol comes in contact with the skin of sensitive individuals, itching and watery blisters will follow.

Poison oak and poison ivy in particular are common fixtures in many outdoor landscapes, often tucked among other native vegetation and growing as either a low shrub or trailing vine. Both produce small, whitish green flowers in the spring, followed by small berries in the summer. Birds enjoy the seeds and help to spread the weeds into new areas.

Poison sumac is rarer, and tends to be found primarily in wetlands. This characteristic is one of several differences among the three weed species and where they are found.

Poison oak grows as a low shrub in eastern and southern states and in tall clumps or long vines on the Pacific Coast. Fuzzy green leaves grow in clusters of three. It may have yellow or green flowers and clusters of green-yellow or white berries.

Poison ivy is found nationwide, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii and some portions of the western coastline. Each leaf includes three glossy leaflets that vary in color (and sometimes shape) throughout the year – red in spring, green in summer and yellow, orange or red in the fall. It can grow as a shrub or as hairy, ropelike vines sometimes seen growing up the sides of trees.

Poison sumac grows as a woody shrub or small tree primarily in the eastern half of the U.S. Leaves feature multiple pairs of leaflets that have a smooth, velvet-like texture. Flowers and fruit are similar to those produced by poison oak or poison ivy, but hang in loose clusters.

Misinformation about poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac abounds, making it important to separate fact from fiction.

Fiction: Only the leaves are toxic. Fact: All parts of the plants can trigger an allergic response, including the leaves, roots, flowers, berries, stems and vines.

Fiction: The painful rash can be spread through watery fluid found in blisters. Fact: Only exposure to the oily toxin urushiol will trigger a reaction – not the fluid in blisters. Rashes often emerge over a series of days, though, which can make it seem as though they are spreading as blisters ooze.

Fiction: If you don’t touch the plants directly, you’re in the clear. Fact: Toxic oils can linger on clothes, gardening gloves, tools, shoes and even pet fur – producing a skin rash just as if you touched the plant yourself. Wash your tools, clothing and pets regularly, especially after an exposure. The oils can remain potent for months and even years.

Fiction: You can dispose of poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac just as you would any other weed. Fact: It is important to take great care in disposing of plants that you pull, mow or dig. You don’t want yourself or others to be exposed to oily toxins that remain. Be especially careful to never use burning as a disposal strategy. Inhaling the smoke can cause a whole-body reaction.

Fiction: There is nothing I can do to avoid a rash if I’ve touched poison oak, poison ivy or poison sumac. Fact: You may be able to avoid a rash or reduce its severity by pouring rubbing alcohol over the exposed area as soon as possible and washing with running water. Clinical tests show that dishwashing detergent is also effective at removing the rash-causing urushiol toxin.

Fiction: Some people are simply immune to urushiol-induced rashes. Fact: While it is true some individuals are not bothered by a rash, sensitivity to urushiol can develop at any time. Once you’ve had a rash, you can become more sensitive and have a stronger allergic response the next time you are exposed.

“Prevention is paramount when it comes to poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac,” Van Wychen says. “If you plan to work or play in an area where it may be growing, wear protective clothing, including long sleeves and long pants tucked into your boots or hiking shoes. Being a bit warm may be a better alternative than days of suffering from a painful rash.”

For more information about poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/plants.

About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Society promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.wssa.net.


Managing poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac

Today there are several options for control – and more may be on the horizon.

Chemical Treatment

One of the most effective is the use of herbicides. Two or more treatments may be needed, though, as the plants are very persistent. Spray spreading vines with products containing glyphosate, dicamba, 2,4-D or triclopyr, using tank mixtures of these products when possible.

When poison oak or poison ivy grows as a climbing vine, the same products can be used as a “cut stump” treatment. Cut the stem a few inches above ground and treat the stump with your herbicide to keep it from resprouting. Remember to always read and follow label directions before buying or using these products.

Mechanical Treatment

If the weeds are growing in an open and accessible location, mowing is a possibility. Mow repeatedly throughout the growing season, though, or the rootstock will simply sprout new plants.

You can hand-pull or dig the plants, but you run the risk of exposure. In addition, any root stalks missed are likely to sprout again. Don’t burn the plants you’ve removed. Toxic oils can be spread by smoke and cause a full-body reaction. You’ll need to bury the plants in a safe spot.

Possible Future Treatment Alternative: Biocontrol

Researchers at Virginia Tech University are exploring whether poison ivy can be controlled by a naturally occurring fungus (Colletotrichum fioriniae). High concentrations have been used to kill seedlings in the lab. Further research is underway to determine whether the fungus can be applied in granular form to control poison ivy in the wild, without impacting surrounding plants.

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Common Myths About Poison Oak, Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac: WSSA Experts Separate Fact From Fiction

Ask The Times: Poison ivy in Marilla Park

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Ask The Times: Poison ivy in Marilla Park

Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals


Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

Thursday, July 3, 2014



LYNDEBOROUGH – Poison ivy can be truly called a “noxious weed.” The urushiol oil contained in all parts of the trailing vine causes a painful rash and oozing blisters on most people who encounter it. The blisters and intense itching can last up to two weeks.

Poison ivy will grow almost anywhere in our region, under all kinds of conditions and it is not easy to eradicate.

Although there are chemical sprays that will kill it, the best way to remove it is to pull it out.

While some people take the risks involved and do that, most people hire someone else.

Helaine Hughes, owner of The Poison Ivy Removal Co. in Greenfield, is one of the few people in the state who does not use chemicals of any kind.

“I don’t like the idea that (chemicals) can get into the ground water,” she said during a recent visit to a homeowner with the problem. “And the dead plant material can infect you for three to five years. You can’t use the place you’ve sprayed. People I help can use the area right away.”

So she and her three employees get into hazmat suits and rip it out by hand.

“I wear the suit with boots attached,” she said, “wade in and sit down, or whatever we need to do. You just have to be careful not to touch your face. The girls do their hair up very well so there are no stray pieces.”

Hughes added, “Poison ivy and yellow jackets shouldn’t be allowed and I run into (the hornets) every once in a while.” Those she does spray.

While simply brushing against the leaves can cause the rash, “you can’t get it from another person,” she said. “The oozing blisters don’t have the urushiol oil.”

But you can get it from your pets – “it doesn’t affect them but the oil is on the tips of their hairs” – and from anything that has touched the vine, tools, shoes, clothes, etc.

Hughes said she does this kind of work “because I’m good at it.” She said she understood the need for protection because in earlier jobs she had worked in clean rooms and as a housekeeper in hospital infectious disease wards.

“In the 1970s, my dad brought home some pheasants and we had to remove the poison ivy to put up a fence. He called Dunstable, Mass., (where we lived) the poison ivy capital of the world.”

Poison ivy vines have horizontal roots, she said, and put down an anchor root every two or three feet, so even pulling it out might not get it all.

“There is a 15 percent grow back,” she said. “You can have us come back or manage that yourself.”

To do the job yourself, Hughes said, “wear long pants and long sleeves. Tape washable gloves to the sleeves and wear washable sneakers. Pull out the ivy and put it in bags. When you’re through, put everything (you are wearing) into the washer and take a shower. As long as you aren’t sweating or it isn’t raining, cotton clothes are fine.”

Do not burn the pulled vines. The urushiol oil stays in the smoke and breathing it can affect the esophagus and the lungs. Double bag the plants and take them to a landfill.

Hughes services are $100 an hour for a crew of two. If the ivy is in light shade, they can do a 10-by-30-foot area, but if it is in mowed grass, the hardest place to remove it, they might do only a 10-by-10 area.

Part of her service is to tell people what poison ivy is, and what it isn’t. Many plants have the three leaves that are the ivy’s main identifier.

Does it have thorns? It’s not poison ivy, probably blackberry.

Does it have alternate leaves, serrated leaves? Not ivy.

“People call me and I can tell them it’s not ivy, put a lot of people’s minds at ease. But I think, and so do some others, that poison ivy tries to look like other plants it is growing near,” she said.

Hughes has lived in Greenfield since 2003, previously living in Wilton. There are other companies who deal with the ivy, she said, some pull but also use sprays. “I’m the only one who just pulls.”

She added, “I love to do it, it’s fun. I get to talk to all these people. Every place (I go) is different. It’s amazing how little information there is out there about poison ivy. William Gillis wrote about the only book and he is trying to get the genetic codes, what insects eat it, is collecting seeds.”

Dr. William T. Gillis 1960 book, “Poison Ivy and Its Kin,” is available from Amazon.

Hughes said, “There is a lot to think about (when dealing with the ivy). You can’t see (the oil), can’t smell it, but any kind of soap will get rid of it.”

The Poison Ivy Removal Company can be reached at 547-6644, at poisonivyremoval
company@tellink.net, or online at

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Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

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