Thursday, June 07, 2007

An old enemy reveals its leafy green head

Each new house I live in requires some work to be done in the yard. There is always at least clean-up yardwork but usually I plant a garden and try to undo the neglect of the previous residents. Cleaning up the neglect of the previous owners has been especially important in the current (still new to me) house. Invariably I encounter poison ivy in one of the beds that needs to be dug out.

This year I saw the poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans or formerly Rhus toxicodendron or Rhus radicans) before it saw me. I took it out "doggie doo" style - gloves on, inverted plastic bag to cover the leaves and vines and roots. Did you know you can get the oil from poison ivy from the dirt around the roots? I was careful and avoided that as well. All the poison ivy was ripped out and disposed of. Or so I thought. Eventually it always get you. I am still looking for the hidden stash that finally got me this year.

These leaves even look oily and ready to itch.

The poison in poison ivy is an oily irritant called urushiol. I use a great product called Tecnu which has the right surfactants in it to solubilize the urushiol to allow it to be washed off (others love Tecnu too).

No comments: