Tackling Poison Ivy

 Poison ivy in my garden reaching 7 feet tall once I stretched out the pulled up plant.

Poison ivy in my garden reaching 7 feet tall once I stretched out the pulled up plant.

Tackling Poison Ivy

There was a section of my garden that had been taken over by poison ivy, a plant that secretes a substance that irritates my skin when touched. Some friends don't have the itchy, burning reaction I get from poison ivy so it was with some dread that I planned for the assault.

The garden bed has great potential for development. Actually it already has daffodils and several perennials growing in it but it still can use both a cleaning, and more plantings.

To get ready, I purchased a long sleeve shirt at our local Salvation Army; pulled two pairs of socks on before lacing boots; pulled on my long, rose pruning leather gloves and made sure I had Caladryl Clear Lotion in hand. It not only dries up the affected skin but helps with itching, too. And unlike the old-fashioned pink tinted Calamine Lotion, I don't look like I fell into a vat of hot pink goo.

The weather cooled off into the 70s so, with firm determination, I plunged into the weed patch.

The tallest poison ivy plant was more than 7 feet tall, the trunk a good half inch wide. A gardening friend said his poison ivy was 1-inch thick growing up a tree, where he leaves it for birds to eat the fruit. I thought about that but then decided I may never tackle this corner again if I didn't get it cleaned out. I decided I would feed my birds sunflower seeds in penance but my poison ivy vines were coming out.

 Poison ivy has three leaves that turn red in fall, one of the first plants to start changing color.

Poison ivy has three leaves that turn red in fall, one of the first plants to start changing color.

Poison ivy is one of the plants that turn a pretty red in fall. During summer, the three green leaves on reddish stems are a giveaway. I don't tackle poison ivy in spring because the stems don't turn color until early summer and I don't want to pull out a favorite perennial by mistake.

The garden corner is now cleaned out enough so that I can work it without wrestling poison ivy vines. I pulled most of them out of the ground by their roots so hopefully I can keep the rest under control from now on.

My arms?

All covered in large goose-pimple looking welts that itch, the poison ivy secretion made it through the long-sleeve cotton shirt. Next time, I need two shirts. What am I saying, hopefully there isn't a next time.

On the other hand, I found two blueberry bushes I had forgotten were planted in the bed next to the blackberry vines.  I will be making sure their soil is amended so they can happily grow in more acidic soil.

Are you allergic to poison ivy?

Charlotte