So it’s not just my imagination that everywhere I look this summer where there had never been any before, poison ivy rises from the ground growth around the house and barn.
But then again, this observation is probably NOT related yet to the anticipated rise in both abundance and toxicity of this ubiquitous town-and-country vine as CO2 levels continue to rise. Ours were probably just spread by birds eating and dropping seeds EVERYWHERE around here of late.
But the future promises more and better poison ivy. So, parents: I know you agree with me that children need to play outside more and inside less. Right? And you don’t want them to resist getting out of the house because they’re afraid of something they could be taught to recognize and avoid. Google images of PI.
So I’d recommend this at age 5 or 6: make a supervised game of “look don’t touch” and train your child to spot PI as many places as you can in ten or fifteen minutes around your house, in the park or woods where they play. Teach them “Leaflets three, let it be.” But then, not all three-parted viney plants are itchy. Help them learn the difference and avoid sitting down in it to watch the butterflies.
And roadside photographers seeking those Unplanted Gardens we talked about: fencerows–around here at least–are PI hatcheries, and if you wear sandals without socks, find yourself a coathanger to keep near your computer chair, ’cause your going to need a long-handled scratcher for a couple of weeks.