Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Getting rid of Poisonous Plants!

Getting Rid of Poisonous Plants in your Yard~
We try a few techniques to kill poison ivy in my Pensacola yard.
Calamine lotion to help poison ivy rash
My experience with poison ivy!
Ouch! Plenty of calamine lotion.

I have a huge problem at my house:  Poison Ivy!  

I didn't know I had poison ivy until I broke out with an insatiable rash over my legs and arms.  Luckily, I was wearing garden gloves, but not long sleeves or pants.

Poison ivy is a poisonous plant found throughout the Gulf Coast as well as across North America.  The plant can grow as a climbing vine on a tree or as a shrub in the ground.  Poison Ivy flowers and is most poisonous from May through July (now)!

Poison Ivy on tree in Pensacola
Poison Ivy vine growing on tree in Pensacola, FL
While a small portion of humans have no effects from the plant, most people are allergic to poison ivy. Your pets can be affected by poison ivy also. I am highly allergic to poison ivy and break out in extremely severe rashes/blisters when exposed to the plant.

I tried to avoid my poison ivy for weeks but was affected twice with itchy, painful blisters on my limbs.  I felt bad about killing my poison ivy, but it was time to do something about it!

Before summer officially starts, you should walk your property and eliminate poisonous plants that could hard your children, your pets, or yourselves.

1. Recognizing Poison Plants in your Yard

There are three poisonous plants that grow in our area.

    Poison Ivy vine growing on house in Pensacola, FL
  • Poison Ivy grows as a vine or a shrub with a cluster of three leaves and berries.  Here are a few close up photos of my poison ivy so you can compare it to what is in your yard.  
  • Poison Oak grows as a small tree or a thicker shrub.  The leaves, like poison ivy, come in clusters of three, and similarly it flowers with berries. 
  • Poison Sumac also grows in our area as a vine or shrub with green flowers and berries and between 7-13 leaves. 
Make sure to locate the main root system for your poisonous plant.  

At first glance, I only saw the plant on the tree even when I was looking for it. 

Upon further investigation, I traced roots and vines from the ground, up my oak tree, across the flower bed, and up the side and front of the house. It was practically consuming the left portion of my yard. 

You'll need to target all areas affected in order to eliminate your poisonous plants. 
Poison ivy growing on tree in Pensacola, FL Yard
Poison Ivy growing on my tree ~ Before any treatment applied! 
Homemade organic solution for Poison Ivy Vine in your yard
Homemade solution for Poison Ivy Vine 
Choosing a Product.

I did some research and found a recipe online for homemade, organic poison ivy control using 1 cup salt, a gallon of vinegar, and detergent.  I put it in the pump sprayer and generously applied it to most of the poison ivy in my yard. 

After a week, the poison ivy started to wilt, but was still looking pretty healthy.  Possibly try it with a laundry detergent instead of a dish soap?

I ended up resorting to more serious measures and purchasing a stronger weed killer from Lowe's.   The combination of the two killed the flowering poison ivy within a week.  

Tip:  When applying the weed killer, make sure to chop the root system to allow more absorption into the plant.  Make sure to remove the rest of the vine from the tree, house, shed, yard, etc. it lives on to prevent the plant from growing back. 

Two weeks later and the poison ivy is gone. Why did I wait so long to get rid of it?  It's time to get out there and tackle the flower beds. 

Have fun in your yard and stay safe! 

Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Rental Homes!
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983
Over 45 Pensacola Rental Homes at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
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