We’ve all heard at least one amusing anecdote about poison oak. Your friend’s brother’s neighbor’s cousin went camping, used the bathroom in an unfortunate spot in the woods, and earned himself an itchy rash in an unfortunate place. These stories can make for a bit of entertainment, until you’re the one suffering from an itchy, oozing rash. Then, it’s not so funny anymore! If you want to know how to protect yourself from poison oak and avoid all the itching, read on!
Contact with poison oak almost always happens because someone wasn’t watching out for the plant, or didn’t know what it looks like. Therefore, taking a few moments to learn about the plant can protect you on your next outdoor adventure.
What does poison oak look like? You might have heard the old saying, “Leaves of three, let it be”. Because poison oak leaves often grow in clusters of three, this is the easiest way to identify a possibly poisonous shrub. However, this rule isn’t set in stone. Some varieties of poison oak grow leaves in clusters of five or seven, complicating the matter when you try to identify it. The plant often bears greenish yellow or white berries, so be on the lookout for those as well.
Where it grows. Poison oak typically grows in shady wooded locations, so you don’t usually have to worry about it growing in a sunny yard or in an open field.
How to protect yourself. Viewing pictures of poison oak and learning to identify it is the best way to protect yourself. But, as anecdotes often reveal, contact often happens when someone isn’t paying close attention to their surroundings. If you go camping, remember to take a flashlight. Wear clothes that offer full coverage when hiking in the woods, and don’t touch anything if you don’t have to.
It’s unlikely that you will find it growing in your yard, but it does happen. If you suspect its presence in your yard, don’t try to collect the “evidence”. Take a photo with your smart phone, and come visit our nursery. If you do indeed have poison oak in your yard, we can help you get rid of it.