Poison Ivy………… Leaves of Three, Leave Them Be!

If you ever came in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac you know exactly the type of painful skin irritation one can experience.  It begins with severe itching of the skin.  Next the skin becomes inflamed and blistering occurs.  In extreme cases oozing sores develop.  Normally poison ivy rash can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks.  With awareness and the ability to properly identify these noxious plants you can avoid direct contact and thereby prevent the inevitable skin rash.  Poison ivy, oak and sumac are among the plants that produce a resin called urushiol which is the cause of the annoying allergic rash.  Direct plant contact is needed to release the urushiol oil.  Be sure to stay away from forest fires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc.  Urushiol oil can stay active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.  Poison ivy is not contagious and will not spread if rashes are touched or rubbed.  However, since urushiol is sticky and resin-like it can be spread to other parts of your body or other people if left on your hands, clothing, gear, etc.  Poison ivy and oak have 3 leaves per cluster and poison sumac has 7-13 leaves on a branch.  Since poison ivy and it’s rash causing relatives commonly grow within other vegetation, it is very difficult to notice.

Often times it is only shortly after the rash has started on your skin that you realize recent contact was made.  Since poison ivy is a very persistent plant, it is difficult to completely eradicate.  Be sure to protect your skin with appropriate gloves, long sleeve shirt, pants, etc. when manually removing poison ivy, oak or sumac.  Pacocha - Poison Ivy Vine Attached to Wood Fence Growing Along BaseOne proven way to eliminate poison ivy is to apply a non-selective herbicide (Glyphosate) per labeled application rate to completely kill this unwanted plant.  As always, be sure to contact a professional to assist in plant identification and removal of poison ivy, oak or sumac by manual or chemical means.

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Your Lawn is Under Severe Water Stress!

When watering your lawn, you should really strive to water enough to wet the entire root zone.  The most common error committed by people is light irrigation.  Too little water too often encourages a multitude of problems such as shallow root system.  The ever changing need for watering depends mainly on your soil and of course, the weather.  Determining the type of soil you have is really helpful when determining beneficial watering schedules.  If you have a clay based soil watering to 1.25″ +/- is just about right.  However if your soil is more sandy or loam than anywhere between 1/2″ – 3/4″ is fine.  Try to remember that rainfall is no guarantee and should not be relied on as the single source of moisture for your lawn.  Light showers merely wet the surface.  Short down pours do the same.  Most of the water is lost in runoff before it can soak in to the soil.  A lawn will use as much as two inches per week in hot, dry weather – a fraction of that when it is cooler.  If you decide your lawn needs water, you should put on enough to wet the entire root zone as specified above.  If you can, avoid late afternoon or evening irrigation.  Grass that stays wet for a long time favors development of diseases.  However, do not avoid watering at these times if this is the only time you can water.  The important thing is water.  Avoiding late afternoons is secondary to providing the needed water to your turfgrass.  In heavy clay soils prevent watering to the full recommended amount at one time, frequent watering may be necessary to avoid surface runoff.

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