So you’ve got your chainsaw, your clippers, and everything else you need to start that backyard cleanup. Whether you are clearing that untamed area of your yard or just taking out a few trees, there are hidden dangers that you might be overlooking: poisonous plants.

Most people get poison ivy or its nasty relatives because they don’t know what it looks like. So, before you go ripping down vines and pulling up shrubs, take the time to look for these plants before they harm you or somebody you know.

How to Identify Poison Ivy

One of the poisonous plants here in Ohio is poison ivy, watch for the three leaves of this plant and avoid coming into direct contact, unless you want a painful rash.

Everyone knows that poison ivy is some nasty stuff, but do you really know how to identify poison ivy? The best way to protect yourself from weeks of painful itching is to arm yourself with knowledge.

At first glance, poison ivy may look just like any other harmless vine growing up a tree trunk or just another common weed on the ground. The easiest way to tell poison ivy apart from other plants is that it always has three leaves. One large leaf with two smaller ones sprouting from the side. The leaves can be smooth or serrated on the edges, and have pointed tips. The stems are reddish in the spring, green in summer, and yellow/orange in the fall.   

The entire plant secretes a substance called urushiol which, when it comes into contact with human skin, can cause a severe allergic reaction in the form of itchy blisters that can last weeks.

How to Identify Poison Oak

Poison oak looks like and often grows alongside poison ivy. The leaves of poison oak, however, look more lobed, like an oak tree, but it’s essentially just as potent and dangerous as poison ivy.

If you are working in overgrown areas, be sure to dress for it. Wear long pants, sleeves, and gloves. Throw all the clothes in the wash immediately afterward and take a shower.

Urushiol is nothing to mess around with. The oils can linger on surfaces of wood and clothes for a long time. Never burn wood with poison ivy or that’s recently had poison ivy or poison oak. Breathing urushiol is not a pleasant experience and you can end up with an extremely painful rash in your mouth and throat.


How to Identify Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed is one of the poisonous plants to watch for in Ohio, as this plant can cause permanent blindness and very painful rashes on those who touch it.


You may not have heard of giant hogweed, but it has been a growing concern in the United States in recent years. Giant hogweed has been reported in parts of Ohio and is listed on the federal and Ohio noxious weed list. That means that this plant is so serious that it’s illegal to sell, transport, or propagate.

This wicked weed makes poison ivy look like a mild sunburn. The sap of giant hogweed can cause severe burns and even permanent blindness. No, this is not a weed you want to pull out of your garden by accident.

Thankfully, identifying giant hogweed is pretty easy. It resembles cow parsnip or wild carrots with an umbrella of small white flower clusters. The main difference is that giant hogweed can grow up to 15 feet tall and its leaves are much bigger.


Get Professional Lawn Care Services From LawnMatters

Now you should be able to spot these poisonous plants when you see them in the wild and get those projects done safely. If you need help with lawn care, tree and shrub care, or pest control then call the pros at LawnMatters. Call us at (440) 834-1255 or request a quote on our website.