26 April 2012

Poison Ivy

Do you know what this is?

Okay, so the title of this post probably gave it away. But would you be able to identify it as such out in the wild?

Before the cistern was delivered earlier this week, I wanted to clean up the corner of the lot where it was going to go. Even after building the granite base, that area was overgrown with weeds and cluttered with leftover house stones, and I thought it would be more pleasant to tidy it up without feeling cramped between a metal silo and the fence.

As I set out to tackle that task, two things were in the back of my mind. First, a landscape designer we talked with shortly after moving in had casually mentioned that it looked like there was poison ivy back there, although she didn't seem very confident, so I wasn't too worried. Second, the guide on our recent nature walk at Blanco State Park told us how to identify poison ivy, noting that its asymmetrical leaves look like they have a "thumb." Sure enough, the plants along our fence matched her description (and the examples she had pointed out along the trail):

I knew I was dealing with the real thing, so I put on some disposable gloves and got to clearing it out.

And that's where things started to go very, very badly.

Hindsight being 20/20, I obviously should have been wearing long sleeves, but I really, really thought I could just be careful and keep it from touching my arms. And now I am very, very itchy. (Although at least half of it is just regular bug bites, just like last year. When will I learn?)

I'm writing this in hopes that one person can learn from my experience. (Maybe that person will even be me.) Poison ivy is no joke.

Oh, and although I didn't get all of the poison ivy and leftover stone cleared out (I'm about halfway through that thankless task), I did clean up the area closest to the cistern and even repositioned one of our compost tumblers from its previous spot wedged right next to the cistern.

When I recovery from my wounds and venture back out to the Forbidden Corner, I will be wearing pants, long sleeves, gloves, and bug spray. And I'll plan for a thorough scrub-down in the mudroom as soon as I finish. And I'll hope like heck that it doesn't come back.

Update: Because the old saying, "leaves of three, let it be" isn't very helpful in identifying poison ivy (since a lot of plants have leaves of three), my friend Jennifer suggested this handy mnemonic: "Leaves of thumb, don't be dumb." Thanks, Jen!

1 comment:

  1. Oooooouch... Sorry about your poison ivy! Not all things that are green are good.