Managing Poison Ivy in the Fall and Winter

Posted on October 5, 2023 at 12:00 AM by Tom Swegle

Photo of poison ivy in the fall

As the temperature drops and other plants begin to die, poison ivy is probably the last thing you’re worried about. But this plant can still cause problems during the colder months.

Identifying Poison Ivy In the Fall

Poison ivy is one of the first plants to change color in the fall. Its leaves can be red, orange, or yellow, and its waxy white berries become more noticeable. These berries are a popular food source for migrating birds, who aren’t affected by urushiol, the compound that causes the painful, itchy rash we associate with this plant.

Identifying Poison Ivy in the Winter

During the winter, the leaves of poison ivy turn dark red and eventually fall off. But the leaves aren’t the only part of poison ivy that can cause a reaction. All parts of the plant contain urushiol. Poison ivy vines, which remain throughout the winter on trees and other structures, have a hairy appearance and can still cause a painful reaction.

Watch What You Wear

If you’re heading outside for recreation or yard work, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and boots. This is especially important as poison ivy begins to lose its leaves, which can make the vines harder to spot.

Watch What You Burn

Bonfires are popular activities as the temperature gets colder, but take care not to burn any poison ivy. Burning the plant produces smoke that can irritate the lungs and cause a reaction. Additionally, be careful not to burn anything that has come in contact with the plant, such as wood from a tree with poison ivy vines, as the compounds that cause a rash can remain even after the plant is gone.

Year Round Protection

Outdoor Joe’s® Poison Ivy Pro can be used all year to provide protection against poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. This homeopathic oral treatment for poison ivy effectively reduces the body’s sensitivity to urushiol and builds the body’s resistance and immunity.