Burning is the worst of all possible methods for poison oak
eradication.... using a defoliant is about the surest and easiest
On Tue, 08 Jan 2013 09:30:23 -0500, David L. Martel wrote:
No burns allowed.
Plus, the smoke could kill my neighbors.
This is California in a high fire hazard high smog zone.
It's my understanding we can't even use a wood-burning fireplace
for half the year, but that's for smog reasons. So burning is out.
But chain sawing wasn't all that great either.
The chain saw splattered urushiol all over the place.
My hair was covered in wood chips, as was my face.
The rest of my body was covered, except at the wrists and
ankles and lower back (my shirt kept pulling up and the tangly
vines would lightly smack me in the back as I pulled on them).
I didn't want to use a chain saw, but I would have been
there forever had I used clippers - and I've been spraying
it for years - it's just too large for spraying.
Clippers would (eventually work), but even clippers won't cut
the 5-inch thick vines anyway - and simply pulling was
crazy (I tried that first) because all the vines are
I once rented a cultivator and tried to push my way through,
but the vines simply fouled the cultivator blades, and the
hardest part was unwrapping them without getting the
urushiol all over my hands (an almost impossible task).
And, now I have the problem with getting rid of it.
I labeled the bins, so I hope they take them on trash day.
So that's why I ask.
I wonder if it is possible to build or rebuild an immunity to poison ivy, like you can to iocaine powder (see Princess Bride).
I mention this because there was a recent article on egg allergies. Children with severe egg allergies were given trace amounts of diluted egg protein daily, slowly building from something like a millionth of an egg up to three eggs a day over a two year period, and they now eat eggs without difficulty. (not sure I remember the details, but that's the gist of the article)
Fictional stuff aside, I and others have noted becoming less sensitve to
poison oak over time and have attributed it to drinking the milk of
goats that eat the stuff. I am not aware of any experiments to test
that hypothesis, but the immune effect is real, whatever its cause.
“Brigham Young agrees to confine himself to one woman,
On Thu, 10 Jan 2013 01:43:07 -0500, Wes Groleau wrote:
I suspect that very well could be the case. Allergies are clearly complex
things, and they clearly have competing actions.
For example, we all know that to be exposed to allergens as a child when
our immune systems are developing is a way for the body to learn to
ignore harmless things such as almost invisible pollen or mold or dust.
Yet, there's the conflicting statement in this UC Davis site:
Which says (verbatim):
"Once a reaction occurs, repeated exposures further increase
sensitivity. Conversely, long periods with no exposure will
reduce an individual’s susceptibility."
That sentence makes sense based on how cell mediated immune responses
work in the body.
Yet, on the contrary side, as you noted, you can be exposed to the
allergen via other methods (in your case, via goat's milk).
For example, this site says some people were sensitized to urushiol via
And this Wikipedia article says the same thing about cashew nuts:
Of course, people with AIDS or other immune disorders are said to have
vastly less of a response to poison oak.
And, just as our eyes and muscle mass deteriorate as we age, I suspect
our immune systems go downhill also as we age, which would potentially
affect the effect of urushiol on our bodies.
So, my only point is that the immune system is so complex, and so variant
by individual and age, that I don't doubt that goat's milk might help
confer greater immunity to the urushiol.
As for me, if the rash on my neck, ears, cheek, wrists and ankle is of
any evidence, I'm clearly not immune. Of course, this site says that a
single drop the size of a pinhead can infect 500 people:
So, I would be shocked if I did not get a rash, after all the globs of
sap that I was exposed to this week.
On Fri, 11 Jan 2013 02:07:03 -0500, Wes Groleau wrote:
It depends a LOT on what's in the milk, and, what your body does to it.
The entire process is complicated, and I don't profess to fully
But, it starts with urushiol & T cells.
The actual urushiol is a benzene ring with two hydroxides (i.e., a
catechol), with a specific alkyl group which is slightly different
depending on species (e.g., poison ivy = 15 carbon chain, poison oak = 17
carbon chain). This molecule is harmless, and it, in and of itself, does
not provoke the immune response.
The immune response is complicated in so much as the longer carbon chains
in poison oak sap appear to have a greater immune response than the
shorter ones of ivy ... and ... the more unsaturated the chain (i.e.,
double bonds), the more our immune systems react to it (at least it says
so in Wikipedia).
Once on the skin, the oil penetrates to the lower antigen-presenting
immune cells whose job is to capture foreign invaders and transport them
to the lymph notes to be presented as evidence to the specific white
blood cells which had matured in the thymus in front of your heart, and
which play a role in the cell mediated immune response.
Since T cells, which originate in the bone marrow, randomly mutate in the
thymus, some of those mutations select for "self" proteins. But that's
bad news for the body, so the thymus has a system for weeding out these
Unfortunately, what the thymus lets out are T cells who have receptors
that key for the quinole that the urushiol oxidizes to. Hence the rash.
Point is, this is a complicated mechanism, which, we have only two basic
approaches to combat:
1. Build up an immunity (i.e., don't create Tcells coded for the quinone)
2. Remove the quinone from the body as soon as you can
I'm working on the second approach ... you've resolved the first.
That looks like an incredible lot of work, and a risk of some wicked
allergic reaction. I've not yet reacted to poison ivy, but know friends who
are super sensetive.
With poison ivy, I'm told not to burn it, as the fire releases the poison
into the air, and anyone down wind will have allergic reaction. Not sure
about poison oak.
You have courage, and a lot of hard work. And, you have my respect. Wonder
if the local municipality has chipper shredders to do this job?
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
This weekend, I needed to remove a poison oak plant along
my property but the plant was too big and too much on a hill
for spraying; so I cut it with an 18" chainsaw and packed
it up for proper disposal.
After just two hours, I was covered in the poison oak oil
(my clothes came out of the wash all streaked black as if
the kids had taken a black marker to them) - but I had to
stop as the two recyling bins were jam packed to the brim.
Since I still have a few more poison oak plants to remove,
I'm wondering if you outdoor experts have a better way than
what I'm doing for removal of a poison oak plant from your
property? (The last picture is of me washing up!)
Here are 19 annotated pictures, taken sequentially.
I didn't measure it, but this one plant is about 20 feet long
(or so), by about 20 feet deep down a hill - but I only removed
about 5 feet along the curb as I ran out of room in the bins.
On Tue, 08 Jan 2013 09:51:58 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:
I have a few red bubbly spots on me, but it's not too bad yet.
Mostly it's on my left wrist and right ankle and the back of my neck.
I'm very surprised my eyes don't itch since I kept getting chips caught
in my eye, and my camera & chainsaw have to be covered in urushiol too!
I cleaned the camera with rubbing alcohol (but I'm not sure if that
actually works) - but the strap needs cleaning somehow.
I looked it up in gory detail. NOBODY is ever immune.
Eventually everyone gets it (unless they die first). It's like being in
war. Just because the first bullets didn't get you doesn't mean your cell
mediated immune reactions won't at some point kick in and the next one is
the one you regret.
Note: Actually, I'm told people with AIDS don't get it, but that's a
Yes. I know. Inside your body, the immune reaction can kill you.
I called the waste company - they just told me they won't take it.
Luckily I have a 4-inch chipper, but it's a royal pain getting anything
down the chute (I'm sorry I bought that loud monstrosity).
Brush cutter / mower.. (rotary lawn mower on steroids)
Make sure the unit is powerful enough to handle the material size.
A large mower will chop material so disposal is at higher density or
chopped material could be left on ground.
Cutting path across hill face much faster than a chain saw.
Be prepared to follow up with the proper herbicide at the correct time
in the plant's yearly cycle.
True eradication is not a "one time" effort.
Geez if access to this area is limited just cut all the plants at the
base with a loping cutter, mark each location by driving a stake in
then when it begins to regrow, herbicide it heavily.
i had great success on poision ivy by mixing 50% roundup with 50%
poision ivy killer... they wilted by the next morning and just died...
either seperately was not effective:(
do not chip or BURN !! Burning smoke will give anyone in area poision
whatever in the lungs! can be life threatening!!
why work hard if you can work easy? the dead plants will eventually
rot, but will be a itch hazard till they have rotted away...
but the OP will have a much easier job
On Tuesday, January 8, 2013 11:05:32 AM UTC-5, bob haller wrote:
then when it begins to regrow, herbicide it heavily. i had great success on
poision ivy by mixing 50% roundup with 50% poision ivy killer... they wilted by
the next morning and just died... either seperately was not effective
Roundup has worked fine for me. The plants take about a week to die, but that
gives time to get the poison through the system and kill it all. When they die
the next day I don't get the root.
Yes. The Roundup weed killer works.
I buy this concentrate for about $100
The problem with Roundup isn't that it doesn't work.
The problem is getting to the plant, which fortresses itself with 10 to
20 feet of vines, such that I can't get the roundup to the leaves.
The fact the poison oak, out here, is always on a steep hill, makes it
doubly hard to get the roundup to the leaves.
I'm thinking whether a pressure washer could work to throw the roundup
the necessary 20 feet, but I've only hooked my pressure washer to a
garden hose and never to a 25-gallon bucket of weed killer.
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