Playing It Safe in the Backyard – Watch for Ticks & Poison Plants

I was outside today prepping the spot for our Raspberry & Blueberry bushes and noticed some odd looking vines. Although I am not allergic to Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac are two that I am not sure of, so it didn’t hurt to check it out. I found this great image on that I thought I would share.

Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, Poison Oak

It also explains in detail where these plants are normally located and how you can recognize them. Thankfully, the odd vines weren’t any of those and I was able to freely pull them up. However, it it did get me thinking that it is that time of year to start keeping an eye out for these plants. Just in case you do run into them, make sure you rinse immediately after with COLD water, warm and hot water will open your pores and spread the oil into your skin faster. You can check out this list of commercial products recommended by people for Poison Ivy / Oak, but always check with a doctor.

I will say, for those of you that look for natural remedies, I had once given my son a bath in Witch Hazel and it seemed to stall the spread and itch as it reduces itching and relieves swelling. There are Witch Hazel creams out there now that you can look into and it is also recommended in many places as a great natural reliever of Poison Ivy and Oak.


If you’ve been watching the News lately then you’ve probably noticed the stories about how Ticks are out in abundance this year due to the Early Spring and how many of them are carrying Lyme Disease. I don’t say this to freak you out! Just make sure you are keeping an eye out and checking your children for Ticks immediately when they come inside, especially if you live near woods or have long grasses in your yard. Ticks like dark places, so make sure you check through your children’s hair, have their outdoor clothes changed and give them some privacy to check other areas if they were wearing shorts and/or short tops.

To remove a tick, disinfect the area and remove it with a pair of Tweezers. There are many ways people say that you can do it without Tweezers, but they’re the most effective and the fastest way to remove them. I grew up playing in the woods and Ticks aren’t anything new to me, I can tell you from experience it feels similar to getting a small splinter removed so it’s not an excruciating traumatic experience. Unless you are a dog and have one of those very large ones that always scare me. Ick!

checking for ticks on pets

If your pets are indoor / outdoor, make sure you thoroughly check them as well. Dogs and Cats can get sick too! If you have any other questions about Ticks, refer to your states conservation page. Here is Missouri’s (my State), all states will have some information about Ticks as it is a Nationwide pest.

So we got a little behind with the garden due to various storms that seemed to invade every time we had a moment to get outside. It’s been so busy since my husband has been working from home on top of going to school full time, but my tot and I finally picked out all of our plants! We grabbed:

  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • String Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Egg Plant
  • Cauliflower
  • Red & Green Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Raspberry Bush
  • Blueberry Bush

My teen said we were growing a Salad. Ha!

The Raspberries and Blueberries will obviously not be in the garden. We had to purchase some vine hangers for them and they’ll be on the opposite side of the yard in their own little spot. My husband came up with the idea because it cost $3 for a tiny little box of Blueberries! We figured we’d just grow our own, after all, we already have Pears and Apples growing in our yard.

So this weekend is dedicated to getting that garden finished! Pray it doesn’t rain because that seems to be what happens every time I say that! I now have to re-till with the Snow Joe / Sun Joe Tiller-Cultivator. It’s become a great tool in the backyard, we’ve already had to till up a whole other portion to get the grass seed to stick. I’m not sure what I would have done without it, certainly wouldn’t have gotten this far!

Keep safe out there! And wish me luck on my garden. If you have any tips for these plants, please let me know!



  1. Wow, that’s a serous undertaking you’ve got going! I’ve got blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries growing, and also several strawberry plants. The birds are already stealing my green strawberries. 🙁 Ticks, yuk! Last year was terrible, I hope they’re less plentiful this year.

  2. tannawings says:

    I only have strawberries and am thinking of doing asparagus- wishing it wasnt so shady!

  3. I have never been good at recognizing poison ivy…but I am terrified of ticks.
    Thanks for the helpful advice and the diagram of poison leaves….maybe I should carry it with me!

    • that’s how i feel about poison oak. i’m not actually allergic to poison ivy so i never really had to pay attention, but poison oak scares me. it’s really confusing trying to tell them apart.


  1. […] was just talking the other day about how this past weekend we were going to finally plant our garden and then guess what happened? A storm raged through the St. Louis area and swept that idea right […]

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