The weather is cooling down and you might be spending more time outside and on the greenbelt. If so, keep an eye out for that old outdoor enemy, the poison ivy vine.
According to a six year study performed by Duke University, the growth of poison ivy vines is bolstered as levels of carbon dioxide are raised. In forested environments, such as our Kingwood greenbelts, the growth of the poison ivy exceeded that of most other woody species. In addition, the vine grown in the elevated CO2 environment have are more allergenic. (( Jacqueline E. Mohan. Biomass and toxicity responses of poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) to elevated atmospheric CO2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. vol 103 no 24. 13-6-2006. Accessed 2-9-2014. ))
Put simply, not only are there more vines but they are more potent.
How to Identify Poison Vines?
There are three types of poison vines: Poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy. All three are found in the Houston area. Poison ivy is the most common, followed by poison oak. Least common in this area is poison sumac. (( Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Leaves. WebMD.com. Accessed 2-9-2014. ))
Poison ivy, also known as toxicodendron radicans, is most frequently found as a vine although it can grow as a shrub. It typically is found with three broad leaflet, but can sometimes have more. (( Toxicondendron radicans. Wikipedia. Accessed 2-9-2014. ))
Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) grows as either a vine or as a shrub. It has leaves that look like oak leaves and are normally found in groups of three; however, it can also have up to seven leaflets in a group. (( Toxicodendron diversilobum. Wikipedia. Accessed 2-9-2014. ))
Poison sumac (Toxicondendron vernix) is found as a small shrub or tree. The growth habit is between seven and thirteen leaflets per stem which have smooth edges and pointed tips. (( Toxicondendron vernix. Wikipedia. Accessed 2-9-2014. ))
How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy
In order to eradicate poison ivy from your yard, it must be killed down to the root to keep it from spreading. Be sure to wear protective clothing when removing the plant including gloves, full length pants, and long sleeve shirts.
One option is to pull the plant out by the root. Dispose of the plant in the trash, do not burn it.
If the vine is too established for this to be done easily, the second option through a herbicide such as Roundup or Brush-B-Gon. Be sure to apply the herbicide on a day where there is little to no wind. If the vine is growing up a tree, an option is to “paint” the herbicide on the vine in order to prevent the spray from harming the tree.
Do you have an invasive plant in your yard? Bring a specimen into the Garden Center for identification and a solution.