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Remember: Leaves of Three, Let it Be!

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are popping up!

Myth: Poison ivy, oak, and sumac only grow in the woods.

Fact: You can find it just about anywhere in the upper Midwest, even in the middle of a city!

It is easy to confuse Poison Ivy (3 leaves) and Virginia Creeper, which has 5 leaves. If you are unsure, just be safe and treat Virginia creeper as if it IS poison ivy. This will save you a lot of potential itching in the long run!

So how does Poison Ivy even get into your landscape? Believe it or not, birds are the key contributor. They love to eat the tiny berries on these plants...and then, (you may be guessing) when they need to poop, well, wherever that lands actually spreads the seeds!

If you've had the plant in your landscape before, it could be the intricate root system that was not entirely killed the first time. Poison Ivy can easily pop back up from the root. If you see Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac, make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing before attempting to remove it. Long sleeves, long pants, and gloves are recommended to prevent any of these plants from making contact with your skin. Be sure to wash all clothing afterward. When removing these pesky plants, make sure you dispose of the entire plant—leaves, stems, and roots. Please put it in a bag to dispose of it, do NOT burn it, as their oil has been known to be in the smoke.

M.J. Design sometimes uses Roundup when possible to have a better chance of killing the entire root system, but when looking for a more natural way, try;

  1. Heating 1 cup of salt and 1 gallon on vinegar (until the salt dissolves)

  2. Allow it to cool

  3. Then add 8 drops of dish soap.

  4. Use the mixture in a spray bottle or pour directly on the plant to kill the vegetations

Any method requires a few applications to completely kill it. If you happen to have a goat or cow handy, they love eating it—and without any side effects! If you do happen to get the dreaded blister/rash from these poisonous plants, be sure to get it to dry out, and the itch will stop. 😊

If you are in need of some investigation or help with controlling these root systems, don't hesitate to give us a call!



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