Angie's List: Identifying poisonous plants - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Angie's List: Identifying poisonous plants

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Poison Ivy Poison Ivy
Poison Oak Poison Oak
Poison Sumac Poison Sumac
MADISON (WKOW) --A weekend spent working in the yard or camping can turn into an itchy, uncomfortable nightmare if you don't steer clear of poisonous plants.

Sometimes it's hard to identify poison ivy, oak and sumac, but it helps if you know where it grows naturally. Poison ivy grows in all areas of the continental U.S. Poison oak is most common on the west coast, but it's also found in southeast states, so watch out for it if you travel there. Poison sumac grows in swampy areas of the southeast.

Emily Wood is a horticulturist. She says, "Poison oak and poison ivy look fairly similar, but poison sumac has much more leaflets, more leaves on the leaflet."

Birds like to feed on the berries of poisonous plants and often spread their seeds, so look for the plants where birds are, like under trees or near fences.

Poisonous plants can get out of hand, so you may need help getting rid of them if you're in your own yard. Angie's List researchers found many lawn care companies won't go near them, but there are some that do specialize in removal. Angie Hicks says, "During the hiring process be sure to cover how the company is going to tackle the problem. Are they going to use chemicals to remove the plants? Are they going to dig the plants up? How long do they guarantee their work? Will they come back if the plant reappears? Also, don't forget these plants like to spread so if the plant is in your neighbor's yard you want to understand that problem as well."

If you tackle smaller plants on your own, wear protective clothing and put plants in a plastic bag. Keep in mind, anything that touches it will carry the oil that causes the rash. That oil can stay on clothing and garden tools for up to five years.

Experts say don't ever burn plants or use weed eater or a lawn mower to get rid of poisonous plants. That will just spread the oil.

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