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 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.
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?