Poison sumac

Asked October 19, 2017, 6:20 PM EDT

How do you dispose of poison sumac. I just got over having the poison sumac rash. It was terrible. I had cut two small trees that were hanging over a path not realizing they were poison sumac trees. Researching showed don't burn, chip, can't drown it. Information says the poison oil lasts for years through all seasons. I'm really hesitate to get near it again, but want to dispose of it. Grandchildren play in the wooded area we live in. I don't want anyone else to go through getting the rash.

St. Clair County Michigan

1 Response


Poison sumac should be treated like poison ivy. Cover all skin while working around it. Wear items that can be washed in hot soapy water. Dispose of poison sumac by putting it in heavy construction-type plastic bags, or use double bags of regular thickness, and tape or tie completely shut.

Here is an earlier answer on poison ivy. The techniques and cautions outlined here will work for poison sumac:

"The toxic oil is insoluble in water, so if contact is made with urishol, plain water will not remove the oil from the skin. Soap and cool water should be used to wash contaminated skin as warm water may cause the oil to penetrate the skin faster. Rubbing Alcohol can also be used as it will dissolve and remove the oily substance from the skin and tools. The sooner you wash exposed skin the better chance you have of reducing the rash- within 10 minutes or less is ideal. Some gardeners keep towels and alcohol outside with them to use while working.

Urishol is essentially non-volatile and can remain on clothing, shoes, including gloves, and tools, as long as a year. The poison ivy killed by the herbicide still contains the plant toxin and can cause infection. OSU reports that botanists have contracted dermatitis from handling 100 year old plants. Take care when disposing of the dead plant. Do not burn or compost. It is best to bag and dispose in the trash."

Remember that your tools, clothing and shoes can have the oil on them, use caution when removing them and washing them.

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