August 18, 2019

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

Bollywood Veggies – Singapore's very own farm and countryside

A Guide to Bollywood Veggies

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1513-Copy.JPGBollywood Veggies

This week, as part of our Singapore exploration series, we’ve made the trip the Bollywood Veggies to see if its worth the visit for Singaporeans.

With the daily hustle and bustle of city life in Singapore, we often lament on the lack of weekend getaway spots in Singapore where we can just unwind and recharge ourselves. Well, wonder no more, for we are here to introduce a potential hidden gem nestled in the Kranji countryside, surrounded by fresh air as well as various tangibles and intangibles that can’t be found back in the city.

About Bollywood Veggies

Bollywood Veggies is a sanctuary away from the bustle of the Little Red Dot. Set in the rustic environment of the Northwest Kranji countryside, visiting is a step back to Singapore’s lush history.

This haven was started by Mrs. Ivy Singh-Lim and Mr. Lim Ho Seng, two people who worked in the corporate world for many years. Instead of retiring, they decided to invest in farming. With the help of then Minister of State for National Development Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, these two farm-preneurs realised their vision of life on a functioning farm in Singapore. In 2000, their 10-acre farm opened its gates to the public.

The name “Bollywood” comes from Ivy’s heritage and her love of singing and dancing. Over the years, the farm has evolved into a successful attraction, with more than 100 varieties of plants being grown on the farm, including native fruits that are rarely used in popular foods today. Here’s a fun fact: Bollywood Veggies is the largest producer of bananas in Singapore, and they have a large variety of bananas which is hard to find elsewhere.

Exploring Bollywood Veggies

We were greeted by cheerful staff and vibrant greenery all around the moment we entered. An interesting note is how the couple has made a point to hire many special and disadvantaged people, especially local Singaporeans, to help them operate the farm and bistro. They wanted to help provide them with work opportunities.

I had the chance to meet one of the warriors, May, who welcomed us at the entrance and introduced us to the place. May also has her own pushcart where she sells farm produce and little handmade trinkets made by her, so do support her if you pass by her cart!

The farm is run using sustainable methods with no pesticides nor fertilizers used on site, effectively making it an organic, planet-friendly operation. It makes use of resource-saving techniques such as rain-collection ponds, irrigation canals and chemical-free agriculture.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1520-Copy.JPGOne of the structures at the entranceOne of the structures at the entrance welcoming us in.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1522-Copy.JPGSignboard-1b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1654-Copy.JPGSignboard-2

I like how there were little wooden signboards with nice messages around the farm, giving the place a sense of positivity and vibrancy. The whole place was very peaceful and quiet, which added to the pleasant atmosphere of the farm.

We visited the farm on the day it finally rained after Singapore’s longest dry spell. I’m sure the rain was a huge respite from the unrelenting heat for both us humans and the plants. The cooling weather made our little tour much more enjoyable.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1542-Copy.JPGA small brinjalA small brinjal.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1543-Copy.JPGPai-TsaiI’m not a big fan of Pai-Tsai but these looked so fresh and yummy that I felt so tempted to munch them raw.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1548-Copy.JPGHuge limeI’ve never seen a lime so huge before!

One aspect that I love about Bollywood Veggies is how they impart educational titbits about their farm and produce in a fun and natural way. Or maybe it’s just me, since I’m severely lacking in the botanical knowledge department, but I learnt a lot of things which I never knew about before my trip to Bollywood Veggies.

They’ll probably make a good excursion spot for students who can learn more about farming and conservation in a real farming environment. It will also be a refreshing spot for parents who want to take their children on an educational trip or to let their children get up close with botanical nature.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1552-Copy.JPGA pineapple.JPGLearning the process of how a pineapple grows.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1568-Copy.JPGTiny starfruitsTiny starfruits which look kind of cute.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1570-Copy.JPGA cocoa fruitI know about Cocoa seeds but never knew its fruit looked like this! b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1586-Copy.JPGSugarcanesb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1530-Copy.JPGAloe vera plantb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1555-Copy.JPGSpot the animalCan you spot an animal in the picture above?b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1558-Copy.JPGHere it is!
Here it is!

The farm also had a myriad flowers blooming, adding colour and vibrancy to the lush greenery.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1526-Copy.JPGPurple flowersb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1587-Copy.JPGJapanese Ixorasb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1598-Copy.JPGWhite flower
Other than the usual flora and fauna, I spotted a few trees with interesting names too.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1608-Copy.JPGHere it is!b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1615-Copy.JPGDrumstick Tree

I am not sure what these trees are, but a drumstick tree sounds extremely appetising to me. Seeing this tree reminded me of my growling stomach, so we decided to check out the Poison Ivy bistro.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1668-Copy.JPGThe menuIt was nearing closing time by the time we visited the place, so we decided to only get some finger food and drinks. I got the Aloe Vera drink, which was really refreshing with huge chunks of aloe vera from their very own farm.

Poison Ivy offers healthy, delicious and filling dishes which are suitable for friends and families. The next time I come back here, I’m definitely going to try their famous Warrior’s Platter! You also definitely want to order the Jackfruit Lemak which was featured in our list of Best Singaporean dishes to eat in 2014.

Bollywood Veggies Verdict

If Singapore ever had a countryside, this would be it. Bollywood Veggies provides a much-needed respite for people who are jaded by the mundane cycle of work-life back in the city. It provides a great opportunity to see a fresh side of the island, and enables people to rejuvenate their senses, connect with their friends and family, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Other than Bollywood Veggies, people can also visit the other farms in the vicinity, which is a refreshing change from facing the usual modern and minimalist concrete buildings in the city. The personality and charm of these places is something that is hard to find elsewhere in Singapore.

So go on, visit these places for a feel of natural beauty and warmth which exists right in Singapore’s own backyard.

Bollywood Veggies Address

Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Tel: +65 6898 5001
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun & PH, 9.00AM-6.30PM

How To Get There: Either drive there or take the shuttle bus form Kranji MRT Station. Details of the shuttle bus can be found here. Taking public transport is not advised as the bus stop is a long walk away.

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Bollywood Veggies – Singapore's very own farm and countryside

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