Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Knowing the facts about poison ivy helps you avoid it
north Texas, you should be acquainted with poison ivy and poison oak – and what
to do if you happen to run across them. So here’s how to avoid them. And what
to do if it’s too late.
that most folks will feel refreshed after an encounter with nature. But a few
will feel itchy afterwards, having encountered poison ivy or oak. Knowing how
it looks is the first step, because many people mistake the common, native vine
Virginia Creeper for poison ivy. Big mistake!The old adage “leaves of three- let it be” is valid. The leaves on
poison ivy are fairly shiny. Also, Virginia Creeper has five leaves, not three.
of similar rash-inducing plants are found in North America: two species of
poison ivy, two species of poison oak and poison sumac. All of which contain the
same essential oil that irritates skin, although some individuals (for some unknown reason) are affected
only mildly or not at all. Poison oak is relatively rare, and poison sumac is
only found in wetlands, so I’ll concentrate on regular old poison ivy.
the offending chemical’s name, and it’s found in all parts of a plant; leaves, stems,
berries etc. Plants spread their urushiol if they are cut, cruised, rubbed, or
opened up in any way, even the process of burning it.
Skin can be rid
of urushiol immediately after exposure.Wash the area with lots of water without soap. Soap has no affect
on urushiol. Scratching it is a no-no, since scratching can easily spread the itching to other parts of your body, and may cause disfiguring infection.
You could also
swab the area with rubbing alcohol, which can render it harmless even as long
as four hours after exposure. Either way, don‘t scrub the skin energetically or
use very hot water.
commercial products will do the same things (but they’re no better than the
ones mentioned). Also, many folk remedies exist, which have varying success.
OWEN YOST, in
addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has
lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a
Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a
member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International
Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the
Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.