(Family Features) Before your family begins enjoying the great outdoors during this adventure-filled season, make sure your yard is properly treated to avoid the dangers of poison ivy, oak or sumac.
Learn the proper steps to keep the threat of poisonous plants away from your family and property. Ashton Ritchie, Lawn & Garden Expert and Author offers this expert advice for protecting your family:
Locating the danger
Keeping your family safe begins with proper identification of these harmful, rash-producing plants. In the right environment, poisonous weeds can grow and spread quickly. Using a photo or resource like StopPoisonIvy.com can help identify the various poison weeds and their stages (Poison Ivy often emerges red and only starts to turn green in late spring). Survey your yard once a month, keeping a close eye on these common areas:
- Ground Cover: A common area for poison ivy is along the edge of a wooded area or around any shaded and less maintained section of the yard.
- Trees: By disguising itself as part of a tree limb, poison ivy often climbs up trees situated in shady locations.
- Edges: If you find that poison ivy continues to invade your outdoor space year after year, you may be experiencing the "edge effect," a phenomenon that occurs when the wooded areas surrounding your yard dry out. Various weeds flourish under such conditions.
- Stumps: Dead stumps are also a common hangout for these harmful weeds.
Eliminate the threat
Once you have determined where the poison ivy is located, you can work to remove it from your surroundings. Look for a weed-eliminating product that works double-duty, such as Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer, which penetrates the waxy surface of poison ivy, oak, sumac, kudzu and other tough weeds, while also killing at the roots.
- Wear protection
Before contact with these poisonous plants, always wear the proper clothing and protection. Be sure to cover your hands with thick, long gloves and wear a long sleeved shirt and pants in case you accidently touch the plants.
- Choose the right time
Always choose a calm, wind-free day for applying products to avoid contact with other desirable plants in your yard. If you can, it is best to apply with a temperature above 60 degrees F.
- Apply a weed-killing solution
Spray a specialized weed killer, such as Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer on the leaves until saturated, taking care not to apply to nearby trees, grasses and desirable plants. You should always read and follow label directions.
- Wait for the plant to completely die
Perennial weeds such as poison ivy may take 4 or more weeks for a complete kill, so be patient and follow the directions on the specialized weed killer packaging.
- Regularly monitor surroundings
Keep new weeds from growing by surveying your outdoor areas at least once a month throughout the busy weed-growing months of May through November.
With proper application and monitoring, your family can enjoy all the outdoor fun without the worry. For more tips and tricks, visit www.StopPoisonIvy.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (mother & daughter)