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June 21, 2018

Angie's List: Removing poison ivy, oak or sumac

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A weekend spent working in the yard can turn into an itchy, uncomfortable nightmare, if you don’t steer clear of poisonous plants.

It is important to be able to identify and remove poison ivy, oak or sumac.

Homeowner Shirley Branham loves tending to her yard and garden, but she can’t seem to escape the itchy wrath of poison ivy. Every summer, for the past ten years, she’s suffered through a horrible rash.

“I usually just noticed one or two little dots which eventually unfortunately then spread all the way up my arm or on my legs,” Shirley says.

The key to avoiding a rash like Shirley’s is knowing how to spot these poisonous plants.

Poison ivy grows in all areas of the continental US.

Poison oak is most common on the west coast, but it’s also found in southeastern states.

Poison sumac grows in swampy areas of the southeast.

Emily Wood, a horticulturist, says, “Poison oak and poison ivy look fairly similar, but poison sumac has much more leaflets, more leaves on the leaflet.”

Birds often feed on the berries of these plants and consequently spread the seeds, so look for the plants in areas where birds hang out , on or under trees or near fences.

The plants can grow to great lengths, so you may need help to get rid of them.

Many lawn care companies won’t go near these plants, but there are some that do specialize in removal.

Angie Hicks, from Angie’s List, says, “During the hiring process be sure to cover how the company is going to tackle the problem. Are they going to use chemicals to remove the plants? Are they going to dig the plants up? How long do they guarantee their work? Will they come back if the plant reappears? Also, don’t forget these plants like to spread so if the plant is in your neighbor’s yard you want to understand that problem as well.”

You may be able to tackle smaller plants on your own, but be sure to wear protective clothing and know how to properly dispose of the plants.

Wood says, “Most of the time it’s probably best to put it in a plastic bag and throw it away, but keep in mind, that anything that touches it will carry the oil and you can get the contact dermatitis from the oil.”

Now you have the right information, if you’re itching to get started.

All parts of these plants produce urushiol, the oil that causes the rash.

It can stay on clothing and garden tools for up to five years.

You should never burn these plants or use a weed eater or lawn mower to get rid of them; you’ll just distribute the oil.

How to identify Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac

• Where do these plants grow? Poison ivy grows in all areas of the continental U.S. Poison oak is most common on the West Coast, but it’s also found in Southeastern states and poison sumac grows in swampy areas of the Southeast.

• What do the plants look like?

Poison ivy: Has compound leaves with three leaflets that connect to a single stem. Young poison ivy leaves are light green and have serrated or toothed edges. Can grow as a vine or a shrub.

Poison sumac: Has nine to 13 leaflets per stem. The leaves are round with pointed tips. Grows as a shrub or small tree.

Poison oak: Has three leaflets that connect to a single stem. Its leaves resemble oak tree leaves. Grows as a vine or a shrub.

• Where could it be in my yard? Birds often feed on the berries of these plants and consequently spread the seeds, so look for the plants in areas where birds hang out – on or under trees or near fences.

How to remove these plants:

• Hire a pro: These plants can grow to great lengths, so you may need help to get rid of them. Angie’s List found some lawn care companies won’t go near the plants, but there are other companies who specialize solely in this type of removal. Ask questions before hiring such as: 1.) Will you use chemicals or dig out the plant? 2.) How long do you guarantee your work? 3.) What happens if the plant returns?

• DIY: You may be able to tackle smaller plants on your own, but be sure to wear protective clothing, clean garden tools, and know how to properly dispose the plants. Urushiol may remain active on clothing, garden tools and camping gear for up to 5 years, so it’s important to wash all items that come in contact with poison ivy. You should never burn the plants or use a weed eater or lawn mower to get rid of them – you’ll just distribute the oil.

Original article – 

Angie's List: Removing poison ivy, oak or sumac

Angie's List Report: Identifying Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

(WDEF) Homeowner Shirley Branham loves tending to her yard and garden, but she can’t seem to escape the itchy wrath of poison ivy.

She said, “I usually just noticed one or two little dots which eventually unfortunately then spread all the way up my arm or on my legs.”

The key to avoiding a rash like Shirley’s is knowing how to spot these poisonous plants.

Poison ivy grows in all areas of the continental U-S.

Poison oak is most common on the West Coast, but it’s also found in Southeastern states.

And poison sumac grows in swampy areas of the Southeast.

Emily Wood works as a horticulturist. She said, “Poison oak and poison ivy look fairly similar, but poison sumac has much more leaflets, more leaves on the leaflet.”

Birds often feed on the berries of these plants and consequently spread the seeds, so look for the plants in areas where birds hang out – on or under trees or near fences.

Angie’s List researchers found many lawn care companies won’t go near these plants, but there are some that do specialize in removal.

Angie Hicks of Angie’s List said, “During the hiring process be sure to cover how the company is going to tackle the problem. Are they going to use chemicals to remove the plants? Are they going to dig the plants up? How long do they guarantee their work? Will they come back if the plant reappears? Also, don’t forget these plants like to spread so if the plant is in your neighbor’s yard you want to understand that problem as well.”

You may be able to tackle smaller plants on your own, but be sure to wear protective clothing and know how to properly dispose.

Wood added, “Most of the time it’s probably best to put it in a plastic bag and throw it away, but keep in mind, that anything that touches it will carry the oil and you can get the contact dermatitis from the oil.”

You should never burn these plants or use a weed eater or lawn mower to get rid of them – you’ll just distribute the oil.

Excerpt from: 

Angie's List Report: Identifying Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Meet the native: Poison Ivy

Few would guess that this native plant of disrepute is in the same family as tasty cashews and pistachios. Poison ivy is typically seen clambering up trees with adventitious roots that sprout from aerial parts of the stem. The key to identification is poison ivys trifoliate arrangement, in which leaflets are present in groups of three.

Some other climbing vines are mistaken for poison ivy in Florida, like Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia); however, this look-alike presents leaflets in groups of five instead. To avoid confusion, remember the rhyme, Leaves of three, let them be!

Although nearly everyone knows to steer clear of poison ivy, a substantial percentage of people do not develop a rash upon contact. People who are allergic to poison ivy recoil from its touch to hopefully prevent an itchy or blistering condition caused by its sap. While it seems no one would dare experiment with poison ivys juices, it served as an ink in the past since its initial yellow color darkens upon drying.

Many people may overlook the fact that poison ivy fulfills a role in local food webs. Plants just sprouting from the ground that we may tromp upon are grazed by deer. White flowers, though visually insignificant to us, bloom on older vines and attract honeybees for pollination. The resulting fruits are devoured by songbirds in need of extra energy during tough winters. This is also the season to easily identify poison ivy since some red-tinted leaves blink among drabber foliage like festive lights.

Andee Naccarato, Department of Education and Conservation, Naples Botanical Garden

Continue reading: 

Meet the native: Poison Ivy

Babies hesitant to touch plants

A new Yale study suggests that humans should thank evolution for our hesitation to reach out and touch poison ivy.

Researchers at the Infant Cognition Center discovered that infants took five seconds longer on average to touch plants than other novel objects, a finding that demonstrated a potential evolutionary origin of the behavior. Researchers said this behavior is an innate defense mechanism against dangers such as toxins or thorns present on the plants. This behavior retains benefits today, since parents can still intervene to prevent children from touching potentially harmful plants, said Annie Wertz, co-author of the study and psychology postdoctoral fellow.

“Plants were a fundamental food source that presented both costs and benefits in their interactions with human beings,” Wertz said. “Although they provide a food source, there is a possibility of coming in contact with gnarly toxins that they must protect themselves against. Since plants present a stagnant danger, it is often better to just avoid interacting with them.”

In the first part of the study, researchers recorded how long it took babies to reach out and touch a series of objects, including real plants, fake plants and novel objects that mimicked certain qualities of plants like the color and shape — like a tube with streaming paper that resembled leaves. To make sure the babies did not grab at the objects that contained certain plant characteristics, they also exposed the subjects to common objects like spoons and lamps.

They found that babies took five seconds longer to touch the real plants than the objects that featured only certain characteristics of the plant, showing that babies hesitated to touch plants as a whole and not simply characteristics of it like its green color or leaves, Wertz said. They also found no difference in the time it took to touch the objects that featured plant characteristics and household objects, demonstrating that babies were not attracted by its novel attributes.

Since babies have limited exposure to plants, the results of the study suggest the demonstrated avoidance is more innate than previously suspected, said Laurie Santos, a Yale professor of psychology, in an email to the News. Santos said she is collaborating with Wertz to study whether infant capuchin monkeys might show similar effects as demonstrated in this study, adding that existing data suggests the effect is not present among adult monkeys.

The information uncovered with infant experiments can be applied to our understanding of how innateness interacts with environmental exposure, said Brian Scholl, a Yale professor of psychology.

“The nature of the mind is not arbitrary — think about the challenges faced by our ancestors versus their modern counterparts. Plants were a major component of how they survived,” he said.

The study opens questions about what part of the plant is key in identifying it as an entity and not its individual components, Wertz said.

The Infant Cognition Center at Yale opened in 1990.

Taken from: 

Babies hesitant to touch plants

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