January 27, 2020

Leaves of three, let it be

Leaves of three, let it be

Time to call Poison Ivy Gone

Published Aug 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm
(Updated Aug 28, 2014)

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  • Poison Ivy

  • Poison Ivy Gone workers dig up the plants and remove them.

  • The van says it all.

Things you may not know about poison ivy – but should
Urushiol (u-ROO-she-ol), the culprit in poison ivy, is found in leaves, stems and roots of the plant.
Three out of four people who come in contact with urushiol will develop a rash, an allergic dermatitis.
The first contact with urushiol often does not cause a reaction. However, the immune system goes on the defense and the next contact will result in an allergic reaction.
Skin must come in direct contact with the oil to be affected but it can be spread by contaminated hands, clothing, tools, sporting equipment, etc. The contamination can last for five years. The blister fluid does not spread the rash.
Symptoms, 12-48 hours after exposure: redness, itching, swelling, streaky or patchy rash, red bumps, blisters, sometimes oozing. Typically lasts 5-12 days, 30 days or longer in severe cases.
Medical attention is needed if there is a rash on face, lips, eyes or genitals, severe swelling, difficulty in breathing or a widespread reaction.
Never burn poison ivy. While the oil cannot be inhaled from the plant, burning results in toxic smoke that can cause a serious reaction in the lungs, nasal passages and throat.
Urushiol oil remains in the stems of poison ivy for years after the plant dies.
To prevent infection after contact, shower in cool water as soon as possible. Wash toys and tools in soap and cold water.

You went to sleep fine last night but woke up this morning with blisters and itching skin. Sure, you were weeding yesterday but you had on your garden gloves. So how did you get poison ivy?

According to George Louvis, the marketing director for Poison Ivy Gone, your cloth gloves act like a sponge, absorbing the urushiol oil in poison ivy, increasing the amount of oil that comes in contact with your skin and making your allergic reaction even worse.

Poison Ivy Gone
Oakland, New Jersey
Free estimates available
Business hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sat. and Sun.

Based in Oakland, Poison Ivy Gone has over 28 years of experience in professionally removing poison ivy in Northern New Jersey but they have also worked in Orange and Rockland counties, Pennsylvania and South Jersey. They service residential and commercial properties as well as others sites, such as country clubs, playgrounds and schools. They are Service Award winners on Angie’s List.

“She comes on like a rose, but everybody knows, she’ll get you in Dutch….”

Louvis reports that poison ivy starts to grow in the spring and he said this year’s weather conditions created the perfect storm.

“It’s a weed, so there’s not much that stops its growth. It’s a vicious and invasive plant and it doesn’t take a lot for it to take over,” he said.

Poison ivy can grow anywhere but usually pops up around the borders of your property or near the house. It roots well in mulch, flower beds and woods, where there is little activity, and tends to shoot off in many directions.

“It’s very aggressive and it spreads in two ways; along the ground, where it gets longer and bigger and then every so often it shoots vertical. That’s when it reproduces and drops seeds. When it starts climbing it’s getting ready to have babies,” he said.

Your dog can take a walk on the wild side in poison ivy and suffer no ill effects, but once you pet your furry friend, who carries the oil on his coat, you’re in trouble. Backyard birds are also culprits in the itchy world of poison ivy. They ingest the berries of the plant and as they do a fly-over they pass the seeds, perfectly encased in their own little sack of fertilizer. No harm intended, but now you are in deep doo-doo and have a good chance of becoming a host property for poison ivy.

“You can look but you’d better not touch….”

Attempting to eliminate poison ivy with a lawn mower or weed whacker only succeeds in spreading the oil on the grass, in the bushes, on your shoes and pant legs. Your tools are also contaminated for the next five years unless they are properly cleaned. And it gets worse.

“When your kids play in the yard the oil is all over the lawn,” Louvis said.

“She’s pretty as a daisy, but look out man, she’s crazy….”

Poison ivy is easiest to identify from April to October. It goes dormant after the fall, but doesn’t die and you can still get a rash in the dead of winter. While the leaves remain is the best time to call Poison Ivy Gone.

“It’s never a do-it-yourself job. Our guys recognize it, figure out where it’s coming from, remove it completely and show you how to keep it from coming back,” Louvis said.

Poison Ivy Gone’s preferred method is to remove it by hand, just beneath ground level, or in the case of significant infestation, by machine.

Sometimes customers prefer the use of an herbicide to protect certain plants from harm. In that case, Poison Ivy Gone technicians use a paint brush to apply the herbicide to the poison ivy leaves, killing off the noxious plant only.

“They are skilled and careful and we are licensed to use herbicides,” Louvis said.

“You’re gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion….”

Poison Ivy Gone technicians know how to protect themselves so they’re not scratching like a hound the minute they mess around with poison ivy.

“The guys are basically in haz-mat suits. They take an oral product and use a cream on their skin. The suits are destroyed afterwards; you can’t re-use anything in this business,” Louvis said.

Poison Ivy Gone removes the poison ivy from the ground then carts it away from your property to a secure location.

And then the Poison Ivy is Gone.

Sources: http://lyricksfreak.com – “Poison Ivy” by the Coasters, 1959; http://www.mayoclinic.org; http://my.clevelandclinic.org;

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Leaves of three, let it be

Woods hits poison ivy snag again

Poison ivy grows on a tree in the Lincoln Woods off West Pierrepont Avenue. This photo was taken two weeks ago.

Staff photo/Jaimie Winters

Poison ivy grows on a tree in the Lincoln Woods off West Pierrepont Avenue. This photo was taken two weeks ago.

Poison ivy growing in the Lincoln Woods has once again posed a dilemma for volunteers and officials looking to turn the property into an educational park. Construction of pathways and benches are presently on hold to address the vegetation, as the Shade Tree Committee and borough discuss how to move forward.

The volunteer Shade Tree Committee and Lincoln School community have been working since 2010 to turn the 1.8-acre Lincoln Woods, located behind the Lincoln School between West Pierrepont and Vreeland avenues, into an outdoor learning center for the nearby Lincoln School. The property was designated a permanent open space Green Acres property in 1985. But the property has been over run with poison ivy.

Aiming for a less expensive option that would not involve widespread herbicide treatment, goats were deployed to the site in June 2013 and October 2012 to chomp on poison ivy and other growth. Lawrence Cihanek, owner of Green Goats in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and his bearded, hungry herd of 15 were hired to take out the weeds, clearing a good portion of the property. According to borough officials at the time, Rutherford paid $3,420 for each visit for the animals and fencing, paid for through fundraising by the school. Seasons have come and gone since, but the poison ivy has returned.

The next phase would involve construction of a pathway through the property. However, as council members noted at their most recent meeting, the site is presently overgrown with poison ivy. A trail that would run through the woods with a wooden boardwalk leading over a swampy patch of land near Carmita Avenue, some small clearings with logs for benches, informational signs identifying local flora and even a small semi-circle for outdoor lessons have been proposed. Site design was provided by a landscape designer through the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC).

In his opinion, path work cannot begin until the poison ivy is cleared, Shade Tree Committee and DPW council liaison Jack Manzo said. On June 12, a lawn care contractor working for the borough inspected the site.

“We’re going to have to go in with a machine and clean it up or go in with heavy-duty weed wackers and do it by hand,” Manzo said. “With machines you have to be careful that you don’t take down little saplings hiding behind some of the growth, so it might be better to do it by hand.”

Manzo said it’s possible the work would be done over the course of the summer and likely done in-house by the Public Works Department.

In preparation for the next phase of the Lincoln Woods Project, the borough advertised and received bids for pending work. The highest was submitted by Atlas Tree Service at $20,800, the median bid by Sunset Ridge Landscaping at $16,500 and the lowest by Schule Landscaping at $8,800. A memo from the purchasing department indicated the lowest bidder Schule Landscaping attended a pre-quote meeting on May 9 and is aware of the work specification and project schedule.

As Manzo explained, the phase would involve installation of two winding, six-foot wide paths covered in woodchips that will meet towards the center with two different clearings with log benches. Access gates for the public and school will be included.

Due to the uncertainty raised by the poison ivy conditions, the council has yet to award a contract.

“This is a natural area, the idea is to have signage to stay on the trail and we want to have signage educating people about poison ivy, such as how to recognize it,” said Carol Hsu of the Shade Tree Committee. “It will never be poison ivy-free, it’s something we have to watch out for. It even happens in people’s backyards. I think there’s a difference of opinion on how much of the poison ivy must be cleared before the trail can be built.”

Bid specs recently advertised did include clearing of the ivy for the 6-foot-wide trails and border areas, for the safety of residents. The committee intends to ask the borough to spray herbicides between two and three times a year to eventually bring the ivy under control, a recommendation made by the NJMC and Shade Tree Department, Hsu said.

The Shade Tree Committee is comfortable with allowing the Department of Public Works to treat the site prior to the trail work starting, granted the next phase is only delayed a few weeks, Hsu said.

“We were hoping to have the trail in by summer, but we’d like to have something since a lot of people donated to this project, and we want them to be able to enjoy the property,” Hsu said.

Hsu is optimistic that the borough and committee can decide on the next step this week during their scheduled meeting, expressing optimism in the renewed communication due to Manzo’s attendance at their meetings. The previous liaison did not attend, she said.

Progress was also made in spring through hazard tree removal – ones at risk of falling and others that were infested with poison ivy, Hsu said.

Donations by the public and a state grant are planned to finance Lincoln Woods.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection awarded a Green Acres grant for the Lincoln Woods and Memorial Field projects combined in early 2013.

Rutherford falls into our Densely Populated Municipality category, and therefore, is eligible for a 25 percent grant and up to a 75 percent loan, with a total estimate for both projects combined at $1.02 million, explained NJDEP spokesperson Robert Considine. The grant itself came to $256,000, and a loan of $194,000 was approved by the state.

In October 2013, the Rutherford Council passed a bond ordinance allocating $256,000 in general bonds for improvements at Memorial Field and Lincoln Woods together. A donation of about $15,000 was made this spring by the Rutherford Education Foundation for the woods project, and over the last few years, funding has also been raised by the Lincoln School PTA.

The Green Acres grant has yet to change hands from the state to Rutherford.

Continued here:

Woods hits poison ivy snag again

'A poison ivy crisis,' and he's the crisis manager

Plants are waking up and seedlings emerging. Runners are creeping across yards and woodlands, over fences and walls. Ropelike aerial roots are shooting up the sides of trees like archers to a target.

Got itch yet?

Poison ivy got its name in the 1600s from Capt. John Smith, the explorer, who noted its resemblance to English ivy. Connecticut is the nation’s poison ivy epicenter, Mycka says, “but the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware region is not far off.”

It’s spread by birds, which eat the seeds. Development and habitat destruction, and our own gardening habits, are factors, too, Mycka says. We build homes and attract birds that like to eat from feeders, explore our gardens, and perch on our decks, buildings, and fences.

Duke University researchers have also determined that rising carbon dioxide levels are causing poison ivy to grow faster and produce more potent urushiol, the pale, resin-like substance that causes the plant’s signature rash, swelling, and blistering.

“We have a poison ivy crisis now,” Mycka says. “People can’t identify it and remove it. They’re so disconnected from nature.”

That was not the case with Gusoff, a retired public schoolteacher who loves to garden and tried for two years, unsuccessfully, to get rid of her poison ivy.

Gusoff, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and other ailments and walks with a cane, became so overwhelmed by “the monster” quietly infiltrating her yard that she avoided the family’s aboveground pool for two summers.

And got zapped anyway.

In August, she broke out in a bodysuit-like rash after snuggling with Delilah Mercedes, her senior-citizen golden retriever now nicknamed “the culprit.”

“She enjoys exploring the backyard. It’s a jungle out there,” says Gusoff, who finally called Mycka.

One day in late April, he arrives with a crew of three. They’re wearing long sleeves, long pants, double gloves, and wrist-to-elbow Tyvek protectors, knee pads, and boots.

(We resist the temptation to chant: Leaves of three, let it be! Hairy rope, don’t be a dope!)

Using Japanese gardening knives and serrated grass sickles with hardened steel blades, the men follow the vines 15 feet down the trunk to the base of a 30-year-old white spruce, and out into the yard.

“It doesn’t matter if you start above or on the ground, as long as you get it all,” says Mycka, who estimates that Gusoff’s vine is nine years old, 19 feet long, and 25 pounds.

A mere mini.

In 2013, Mycka used crowbars to pry a 50-foot poison ivy vine off a hackberry tree along Kelly Drive in Fairmount Park. Counting rings, he determined that the female vine – yes, there are male and female plants – was 38 years old. Cut into five pieces, it tipped the scales at 506 pounds.

“This is an interesting job,” says Mycka, who collects poison ivy books and art in his Overbrook home.

He grew up in the city’s Somerton section, always wanted to be a gardener, and became fascinated by toxic plants when he was a Boy Scout.

He signed on at the zoo in 1974 and, after seven years of evening classes, earned a two-year associate’s degree in horticulture from Temple University Ambler.

You’d think “the poison ivy horticulturist” would be happy that it’s such a problem. Actually, says Mycka, who hosted a poison ivy conference in Philadelphia in 2012 and 2013, “I want to educate people. There’s so much suffering. I really don’t want to have 20 crews out pulling poison ivy.”

Poisonous in every season, poison ivy doesn’t die in winter. Bird-dropped seeds can germinate and wind up climbing a tree 15 feet away. In three years, that vine can be 25 feet up the trunk. In 40 years, just imagine.

If you’re lucky, you’re among the 15 percent of the population whose immune systems don’t register poison ivy as a threat. Mycka’s crew is among them, but he is not.

Yes, the boss occasionally gets the rash. But, as you might imagine, he is very, very careful.

So careful that when a now poison-ivy-free Gusoff approaches to shake his hand, Mycka backs off. “We’ll do a virtual handshake,” he says.

“God bless you,” his grateful client responds from two feet away.






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'A poison ivy crisis,' and he's the crisis manager

Goats chow down on poison ivy at Sandy Hook, NJ

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    Goats chow down on poison ivy at Sandy Hook, NJ

    You’re gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion – poison ivy

    Poison Ivy

    Gloucester County Nature Logo

    Have you just finished spring cleaning your garden? Forgot to wear gloves? And now you have patches of an itchy rash and tiny blisters on your hands and arms?

    Hmmm. Maybe you also forgot to notice the smooth stems and tiny, shiny newly-unfolding three-parted leaves of poison ivy.

    Too bad; not much you can do about it. There are over-the counter remedies that will dry up the blisters and tone down the itch. Really serious cases can be treated with steroids. Cool compresses can help.

    poison ivy

    But in any case, the rash will clear up in a week or two, it’s not contagious, and it won’t spread from the area of origin.

    Poison ivy grows from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Atlantic Coast to Texas. It is common everywhere in New Jersey, except in the Pine Barrens, where it generally grows only on the disturbed soils around home and industrial sites.

    It can grow as a ground cover about a foot high, a vine, and even as a shrub. As a vine, it gets quite large, with stems several inches in diameter that cling to the bark of a tree with hundreds of short rootlets. So if you see a big hairy-looking vine climbing a tree, that’s poison ivy.

    “Leaves of three, let it be” is a wise maxim for those who want to identify the plant. The individual leaves are two to four inches long, and they grow in groups of three.

    The central leaflet is usually quite symmetrical; that is, the halves of the leaf on either side of the midrib are identical. The lateral two leaflets are most often asymmetrical, wider on one side of the midrib than the other.

    poison ivy

    All of the leaves may have a few shallow blunt lobes. The species most commonly confused with poison ivy are Virginia creeper (which has leaflets in groups of five) and some of the low-growing blackberries (leaves have lots of small sharp teeth, and the stems are thorny or bristly.)

    The flowers of poison ivy are small, green, and grow in small clusters beneath the leaves. The fruits are small white berries.

    The chemical that causes the allergic reaction to poison ivy is called uroshiol, and it does not affect everybody. This substance is also present in poison oak and poison sumac, two much less common local plants.

    Poison oak looks much like poison ivy, but its leaves are more deeply lobed and it grows only as a ground cover, not a vine.

    Poison sumac is a small wetland tree with compound leaves, which gives it a slight resemblance to the harmless staghorn, smooth, and shining sumacs.

    Those three species have flowers and fruits that form large clusters at the ends of branches but poison sumac flowers and fruit are similar to those of poison ivy.

    For information about the Gloucester County Nature Club, see gcnatureclub.org/.

    poison ivy

    poison ivy

    Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy

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