Poison Ivy

Identifying Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy Identification 
No one has pulled out as much Poison Ivy as our team here at Poison Ivy Patrol Specialty Landscaping, so we know its ways. Poison Ivy is a real shapeshifter and a master at blending with its surroundings. But there are some characteristics that it cannot hide. If you have something that you think might be Poison Ivy, take a close look and follow these steps to know for sure.

Poison Ivy has 3 pointy leaves. Look for the thumbs.

It may have a thumb. In the photo above, look for the red outline of the thumb on the outer leaflets. There are some varieties of PI that don’t have the thumbs, but thumbs are a common characteristic.

Notice that the middle leaflet has a longer stem than the two-side leaflets. It’s like a long neck.

Poison Ivy always has three leaves or leaflets. If it doesn’t have these, it’s not Poison Ivy. There are two outer leaflets and one leaflet in the middle. Poison Ivy doesn’t have serrated edges (like teeth on a saw). Its edges are smooth and are pointed at the tip. It doesn’t have thorns either.

In the photo above, the three-leafed clovers don’t have a long neck and have heart shaped leaves, distinguishing them from poison ivy.

Earlier in the year, Poison Ivy can have a reddish tinge as it matures.

Poison Ivy leaves are a deep red when newly born, gradually turning green as they get bigger. In early spring they are oily, practically dripping with urushiol, the source of allergies and rashes. As the leaves get older, they will lose the glossy look, and get dull and faded. You still don’t want to touch them! In late summer and fall, they turn pink and yellow.

Poison Ivy is happiest, and most abundant in the shade, but they do just fine in direct sun too. The leaves are a lime green in the sun and dark green and bigger, in the shade. Note how in the photo above, there is some variety, but it’s all poison ivy.

Poison Ivy needs to climb up something in order to reach maturity. As it gets higher up a tree, branches will develop and then berries, then seeds.

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A fresh new poison ivy plant, ready to take on the world.

Check out our blog and Facebook page for more about the life-cycle of Poison Ivy, and more identification tips.

Learn more about our poison ivy removal services.

App for Plant Identification

Pl@ntNet Identity seems to be one of the best apps out there. They offer browser based, Android and Apple versions of their plant identification software, for free.

Once you Identify Poison Ivy

While identifying poison ivy is the first step towards managing its presence, removing it safely and effectively requires expertise and specialized equipment. Our team of trained professionals specializes in the complete eradication of poison ivy, ensuring a toxin-free environment for you and your family.

Don’t let poison ivy take over your property any longer. Contact us today or call (845) 687-9528 to schedule a consultation.

Check out our blog and Facebook page for more about the life-cycle of Poison Ivy, and more identification tips.

Learn more about our poison ivy removal services.

Protection and Treatment of Poison Ivy Rash

We work in this stuff every day. After 6 hours of sweating in haz-mat suits, we’re literally soaking in it! Here’s how to protect yourself like the pros!

If you’re working around Poison Ivy wear long sleeves or even 2 long sleeve shirts. You can get thick rubber gloves at Home Depot. Although they won’t be as good as ours, it will get you through the day. Don’t kneel in the soil because the oil is still in the dirt and it will soak through your jeans. When you’re done you can throw everything in the laundry. That’s what we do every day. Wash your arms every hour with regular dish soap. Dish soap is probably 90% effective and very inexpensive.

Mean Green

When you’re done for the day, wash up with Mean Green Power Hand Scrub. You can only get it from Amazon. Mean Green is 95% effective and not expensive. You should always keep it on hand as your primary defense strategy. Use a washcloth and scrub hard. Don’t forget the spaces between your fingers. Mean Green will probably work for all but the most sensitive people. And if you’re that sensitive, we should talk!

If you still break out, you’ll have to go to almost any pharmacy and pick up some Zanfel. Zanfel is a whole lot more expensive so you only want to use that if the Mean Green didn’t work for some reason.


The key to this is to wash off the urushiol right away. As soon as you even think you might be feeling itchy, rub Mean Green on thoroughly for a couple of minutes and it should heal overnight.

The next day, if it is not any better, go for the Zanfel. If you’re extra sensitive, go right for the Zanfel. There are other products out there that contain the same active ingredient.  We haven’t had a reason to try them so we can’t recommend them.

Remember that you can be spreading Poison Ivy around before you know you have it. The longer you wait to rub any of these products on, the more severe your rash will be!

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