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Local expert gives tips on how to deal with poison ivy when gardening

People look forward to seeing that lush green glow in the garden, but there’s at least one green thing you don’t want there – poison ivy.

Poison ivy can cause an itchy rash even if you don’t have direct contact with it.

“Pets can get it on their fur if they run through the area and then they can bring it back into the home and you can pet them and get it on your skin and get it irritated that way, so it's always really good to know what it looks like,” said Hanna Smith, an agent with the NC Cooperative Extension at Guilford County.

When trying to identify poison ivy, remember the saying “leaves of three, let it be.” The leaflets are in a group of three.

“If you are going to mess with it, make sure you have on waterproof shoes, rubber gloves, long sleeves, long pants. You can remove it if you're a brave individual, but if not, you can use herbicides as well,” Smith said.

There are two common options for using an herbicide to get rid of poison ivy.

You can use a product that either has glyphosate or triclopyr as the active ingredient.

“Glyphosate is a non-selective, so it's going to kill everything that it touches, any green plant material, so you have to be very, very careful with the application of the glyphosate,” Smith said.

“Triclopyr is another active ingredient that is shown to be effective on the treatment of poison ivy. It actually is effective on a lot of different things. It actually controls [about] 400 broad leaf weeds,” she said.

Smith says the products should not be used on a windy day.

The labels will have specific instructions for when to apply the treatment.

Also, poison ivy can grow several feet into a tree, so it’s best to control it when it’s young.