OSU publication helps with poison oak and ivy

May 16, 2003

Poison oak leaves.CORVALLIS - Poison oak and poison ivy can spoil a walk in the woods. Although they are different species, they are similar in appearance, and respond similarly to efforts of control.

A four-page, color publication from the Oregon State University Extension Service can help you control poison oak and poison ivy on your property.

Written by researchers and Extension specialists at OSU, "Poison Oak and Poison Ivy" helps readers identify the plants and outlines safety and control measures to reduce exposure. Color photos of leaves, flowers and fruit help identify the plants. All parts of poison oak and ivy, except the pollen, are poisonous year-round.

Poison oak is common to western Oregon and Washington; poison ivy is found in eastern Oregon and Washington. Both these native perennial weeds are spread by birds, which feed on the seeds in the winter, inadvertently dispersing the plants all around the countryside.

These plants contain an oily substance, urushiol, which may cause a painful irritation and blistering of the skin, according to the publication authors. Human reactions vary from extreme susceptibility to near immunity. People may become allergic later in life after repeated exposure.

The publication details three possible strategies to control poison oak or poison ivy on your property - dig out individual plants, graze animals in larger infested areas or use an herbicide.

For more information on "Poison Oak and Poison Ivy," PNW 108, visit our on-line catalog. Our publications and video catalog at: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog shows which publications are available on the Web and which can be ordered as printed publications.

Author: Peg Herring
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