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Spring Clean Your Garden

Professional Gardener Trimming Hedges In The Garden.

Spring is in the air, so it’s time to prep your garden for beautiful weather. Green thumb or not, you’ll want to show your outdoor areas some TLC so you can enjoy the warm months ahead. Before planting new flowers, set a foundation by clearing your garden of unwanted guests - including poison oak and poison ivy. After one brief encounter with these plants, you’ll be left with seriously uncomfortable symptoms, including an unsightly rash and itching. Clearing them from your outdoor space ahead of time will prevent any guests, pets, or family members from infection.

We’ve compiled a quick guide to help you rid your garden of poison oak and ivy in the spring.

Identify Poison Oak and Ivy in Spring

Before blindly pulling plants, you should know how to identify poison oak and ivy. Both plants are especially prevalent in spring, making them easier to identify. In spring, the leaves of both plants appear bright green and even glossy. Poison ivy has three leaves shaped like mittens, while poison oak has leaves that resemble oak tree leaves. 

Avoid confusion with the adage: “Leaves of three, let them be.” In other words, any leaves appearing in three clusters should be cautiously approached as they could be poison ivy or oak.

How to Properly Remove Poison Oak and Poison Ivy

Once you’ve identified poison oak or poison ivy in your garden, you should take the correct steps to remove it. Before you get started, avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with the plant is essential. This can lead to unwanted symptoms and poison oak sickness.

The best way to remove poison ivy or oak is to wear protective clothing, including gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. You may want to wear goggles to protect your eyes from airborne particles.

Ensure you have tools, including plant cutters, a shovel, a garbage or biodegradable lawn bag, and a gardening hose. Begin by wetting the soil around the base of the plant.

Use pruning shears or plant cutters to cut the plant stem as close to the ground as possible. Be careful not to touch any part of the plant with your bare skin.

Now, use a shovel to dig up the roots of the plant. Put the plant and its roots in the garbage or biodegradable lawn bag and tie or close it tightly.

Once you have collected all the poison oak and ivy plants, clean your tools and anything you use. Any remnants of the plant can cause the future spread of poison oak rash. Tecnu Detox Wipes are convenient to keep on hand. Wipe your tools and anything else that came into contact with the plant. You can also use Tecnu Original to soak and clean tools, clothes, and skin.

How to Dispose of Poison Oak/Ivy

It’s essential to dispose of poison ivy or poison oak carefully. Otherwise, it can spread into other areas of your garden. It would be best never to burn poison ivy or oak, as the smoke may contain oils that can cause respiratory problems.

Instead, put the plant and its roots in a garbage bag and tie it tightly. Throw the bag away in your regular trash, or take it to a landfill that accepts yard waste.

While spring cleaning is a task we wish was limited to inside our home, clearing any pesky plants from your exterior will ensure a summer of outdoor bliss! We also recommend conducting frequent checks of the perimeter of your outdoor space for any new plants or signs of poison ivy/oak to limit the spread of poison ivy.