Leafless poison oak vines

Asked March 4, 2018, 12:09 PM EST

It’s early March and the leafless poison oak vines covering my shed have reached between the siding boards. Is this a good time of year to cut up those vines and bag them for disposal? Would gloves and long sleeves be enough protection? I got infected last year before I knew what that was. Once is enough.

Blair County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Not sure if it is really poison oak you have (more of a southern and western plant ) but more likely poison ivy. All plant parts of ivy and oak contain the oil that causes the skin rash. So care needs to be taken with plant removal in the winter as the stems and vines can be as dangerous as rubbing against the leaves.

Clemson University has a nice fact sheet on this and states 'If you choose to eradicate poison oak or poison ivy by cutting back the plants, you should protect your hands and arms. Always wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Use protective gloves. Launder the clothing separately from the family laundry. Instead of disposable gloves, consider using plastic bags, the long kind that newspapers and bread loaves come in. Slip each hand into a bag and keep the bags secured to your arms with rubber bands. When you have finished cutting, remove the bags by turning them inside out. Then be sure to discard them, because the bags will now be contaminated with urushiol, the oil that causes the allergic skin reaction.'