Temperatures are rising and spring is in the air. A lot of us Michigan gardeners are itching to get back to work in our yards and fields. But, if you aren’t cautious, you may be itching for an entirely different reason. There are some plants out there that can cause you some real trouble if you aren’t careful. These plants can cause severe allergic reactions that are painful and even deadly. The best way to avoid these plants is to be able to identify them and steer clear. Here are 3 common plants to avoid in Michigan:
We have all heard of poison ivy and the horror stories that go along with it. If you’ve ever had a with poison ivy before then you’re probably much more cautious now. You might have even learned how to identify it.
Poison ivy grows in leaves of three as a shrub or as a vine that can crawl up trees or fences. The leaves are serrated and can often be confused with berry bushes, but the difference is poison ivy doesn’t have thorns. So, if you’re working in a wooded area or cutting down a tree with vines on it make sure you identify the vines beforehand. Even if you rip the vine down with gloves the urushiol from the plant still lingers and can be just as potent. Take extreme caution when knowingly handling this plant and always wash your clothes and shower afterward. Allergic reactions can begin immediately or days after contact and can last for weeks. Never, ever, burn wood that has or had poison ivy on it or you will be spending the night in the emergency room with painful rashes down your throat.
Another poisonous plant you need to be on the lookout for is poison oak. This cousin of poison ivy looks different but still packs the same itchy punch. Like poison ivy, it grows in leaves of three but its leaves resemble those of an oak tree. During the fall the leaves turn colors to blend in with the surrounding vegetation.
Poison sumac contains the same oils that cause severe allergic reactions but instead of growing as a vine or shrub this plant grows as a tree, making it very difficult to spot. Usually, poison sumac is found in wetlands and swamps and can reach 20 feet in height!
Poison sumac can be identified by its branches that contain 7-13 leaves like a walnut or elm tree. The tree is much easier to point out in the fall when little yellow berries appear on it. Extreme care should be used when attempting to remove this tree.
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac all have one thing in common, they all contain the chemical urushiol. Urushiol is the substance that causes severe allergic reactions in humans. This oil can be transported on clothes, tools, and even on your pets. The stuff is so potent that it only takes the slightest touch and you’ll be covered in itchy blisters that can spread over your body. When dealing in unfamiliar wooded areas always remember to:
- Cover your arms, legs, and hands.
- Clean tools after use with rubbing alcohol.
- Never burn wood with poison ivy or oak.
- Never compost these plants.
- Shower and wash clothes after working outside.
If you spot one of these three toxic plants growing in your yard call Turf Tenders today. We will send out a trained professional to eliminate the plants with our targeted herbicides.
Just call (248) 541-5296 or leave us a message.