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Q.

What does poison ivy look like?

Related Topics: Poison Ivy
 

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A.

Poison ivy has shiny, red leaves in a three-leaf pattern.

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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A.
I'm very reactive to poison ivy, can spot the plant very easily and avoid it at all times. This site described the plant with "red leaves". Well, yes it can be red in the fall, but in spring & summer the poison ivy here in TN is 100% green. It's pretty much everywhere here and appears in various forms. It may be a small ground plant or appear as a vine growing up a tree trunk. If left undisturbed for many years, these tree vines can eventually grow as large as a hay rope! While the green leaves drop off in the fall, the vine itself continues to be very toxic to the touch year-round. In the winter/spring with no leaves to help identify it, these vines are easy to spot by their "hairy" appearance that helps them attach to the tree bark. Avoid these vines at all cost since they're as toxic as the actual plant leaves.

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I have to agree with @bennfun on this. We have a lot of poison ivy both here in Michigan, and at my brother's house in Ohio, and the leaves are very much green except in the fall and winter, or if the summer weather is especially hot and dry, such as we had a few weeks ago. As soon as it cooled down a little and we got some rain, the leaves turned back to bright green again.

 

I used to do tree work for a living, and I have seen individual vines as big as my arm. On one occasion, I had the unpleasant task of cutting down a poison ivy "plant" with over 40 large vines stemming from a trunk nearly six inches in diameter! Some of the leaves were almost as big as my hand! Despite all my precautions, I still ended up with a rash on most of both arms and on my face, and lost three days of work as a result. One of our other workers foolishly climbed a tree that had several vines on it, and he wound up in the emergency room the next day with a rash covering over 50% of his body.

 

It is also important to bear in mind that the oil from the plants can remain active for up to two years on other surfaces that it does not bond with (such as shoes, gloves, and tools), and the oil on the plants themselves remains active for the same period even if the plants have been killed. So even after using an herbicide to kill them, you must take just as much care to avoid contact with the plants.

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