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Identifying and Removing Poison Ivy, Sumac, and Oak

In a perfect world, these plants would grow with a sign attached to them that says exactly what they are so that you can quickly identify them and stay clear of them. But, unfortunately we are not living in a perfect world, and therefore you need to know what to look for when you are trying to find out if something is one of these plants.

Identifying Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is going to be usually found in the mid-western and the eastern parts of the United States. It is also usually located around streams and lakes. It can be a free standing shrub or it can be a trailing shrub, and is going to look like a ropey vine. The leaves are going to be red in the fall and green during the summer season. They will also contain white berries, along with green or yellow flowers.

Identifying Poison Sumac

Poison sumac grows in areas that are boggy, and even more so in the southeast. They are shrubs that are rangy and can grow up to fifteen feet tall. There are usually around seven to twelve leaflets that are smooth around the edges. They can be accompanied by cream colored berries or yellow glossy looking berries.

Identifying Poison Oak

Poison oak is an eastern found plant that grows as a shrub that is low. In the western part of the United States it can grow up to six feet tall and up to thirty feet long. The leaves are like oak, and usually are found in groups of three. Yellow berries is what you will find with poison oak.

Removing Poison Ivy, Sumac, and Oak

The spring and summer seasons are going to bring more poison ivy, sumac, and oak than the winter season. Although many people are under the impression that there is no risk during the winter months, and that is just not true. Plants that are dormant or even dead can still carry urushiol that can linger aroundfor up to a year or more after the plant has died. Those people that have poison ivy become a part of their property are going to be in for a frustrating battle.

There are many herbicides that are used to treat this kind of situation, but as always you run the risk of killing the plant or tree that is engrossed by the poison ivy. A lot of people use either Ortho Poison Ivy Killer or they use Roundup. If there is any way that you are able to separate the poison ivy from the other plants and trees that you have on your property you will have a much better shot at destroying the poison ivy without harming the other plants on the property. Although that is easier said than done, and should be done with extreme caution.

If you want to go the natural route and don’t want to use herbicides, manual removal is really the only other option. There are a few things you should know first. Burning it is never an option, as it will just spread through the smoke and air. Composting is not an option either as it takes too long and will increase your exposure. Your only real choice is to throw it away piece by piece, but you have to check with your local municipal to make sure you are throwing it away correctly. As always make sure you are wearing cotton gloves that you can throw away as well after the job is done.