Poison Oak??

Asked June 28, 2020, 7:31 PM EDT

Hi - I just bought a new home. The landscaping is overgrown, I want to clean it up. There are vines (pictures attached) that are growing in several areas. The leaves appears to be in clusters of 5, new runners have a red cast. Can you identify the plant? Is it safe for me to remove these by hand or might they be poisonous? I have had some people tell me this is poison oak, but I don't know. I just want to pull it up without getting a rash!!! Thank you for your assistance and expertise.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

This is Virginia creeper, a native vine that has nice fall colors and berries that birds and wildlife eat. (Poison ivy has 3-leaf clusters, not 5.)

This is a vigorous vine. While it is great in a natural setting, or natural part of a landscape, it's hard to manage in most managed landscapes. We recommend that you remove it on a house or in a smaller landscape.

Use gloves while removing it. Some people react to the sap, but it's just sap, not like poison ivy. Most people have no reaction.

Ellen