Isn't fall is such a beautiful time of year? As the
weather cools down, the outdoors becomes colorful as the leaves in
the trees turn shades of orange and red. Whether you enjoy
gardening or exploring a trail, poison ivy and oak can be difficult
to spot this time of year as plants move into dormancy.
We have already had several calls this year from people who have
stumbled across poison ivy vines without knowing it. As the weather
gets colder, poison ivy and oak plants will lose their leaves so it
is difficult to identify the plant (no "leaves of three"). There is
a common misconception that the vines do not carry the rash-causing
oil, urushiol, but they actually do.
If you are working on yard cleanup, you may want to take
advantage of this time of year to try to remove poison ivy or oak
from your property. Remember that the roots of the plants also
contain urushiol so you will want to protect yourself from coming
in contact with those as well.
Here are some tips to help you stay away from poison oak or
poison ivy in the fall:
- Always wear gloves and long sleeves with handling yard debris.
After you are finished, you can clean your gloves with Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin
Cleanser to remove any urushiol oil that may be on them.
- Wash clothing that may have been in contact with poison ivy or
oak separate from other clothing with a strong degreasing
detergent. You can also use Tecnu Original to help remove urushiol
from your clothes.
- When pulling plants from the ground that might be poison ivy or
oak, wrap plastic bags around the plants first before pulling them
out. Plastic grocery bags work well for this. Dispose of the plants
inside the plastic bags.
- Consider purchasing specialized sprays at your local home
improvement store to kill off poison ivy and oak in your yard.
There are many options specifically for poison ivy and oak.
- If you are out exploring and notice leafless vines, don't touch
them. They could be poison ivy or oak plants.
- Poison ivy and oak plants will turn orange and red like other
plants do in the fall. Remember to check for "leaves of three"
before touching them.