03-10-2015, 11:14 AM
#1
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
While I really liked the six Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low' - Fragrant sumac I installed in our back garden (May 2011), last year I finally! decided they needed to go...

[Image: xme7Ije.jpg]

2014-07-05: 3 x 'Gro-Low' Fragrant sumac's (left side) need to go due to Urushiol



[Image: AvtRxPJ.jpg]

2014-07-05: 3 x 'Gro-Low' Fragrant sumac's (right side) need to go due to Urushiol

Missouri Botanical Gardens Wrote:Leaves and twigs are aromatic when bruised (hence the species name). Leaves are smaller but resemble in appearance those of the related poison ivy (Rhus radicans), however this fragrant sumac is a totally non-poisonous plant.

I wish the above was 100% true, but ever since planting them in our garden, I increasingly became convinced I was experiencing an allergic reaction to them -- as I discovered I needed to get in amongst them to prune them at least twice a year, to help keep them under some sort of control (they grew much larger, spread wise, than advertised).

Last year I decided enough was enough. I had had enough of my arms and legs blistering up, plus the skin around my eyes swelling, to the point where my eyes would almost close shut (for a week or so). After spending some (serious) time researching on the internet (see below), plus talking to someone else who firmly believed Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low' - Fragrant sumac contained  Urushiol, regardless what is said and stated elsewhere, as they also only needed to get within 20 feet of them, to experience an allergic reaction...

Flora of Missouri - !Rhus aromatica Aiton

Quote:The fruits of both R. aromatica and R. trilobata sometimes are steeped in hot water to make a pleasant beverage with a somewhat lemony flavor. However, because these species contain trace amounts of the same chemical substances that are produced more abundantly in Toxicodendron, a very small percentage of individuals who are hypersensitive to urushiols develop a strong allergic reaction to drinking the tea.

Sumac, Aromatic (Rhus aromatica)

Quote:Also, as a cautionary note, it has been claimed that, as a relative of Poison Ivy, there may be trace amounts of the nasty ingredient that make people blister and itch.  Super-sensitive individuals might have a bad reaction, so consider yourself cautioned.  Maybe our picker of litter above wasn’t so crazy after all?

Don't ask me how they knew, but a neighbour told me to wash (shower) with "Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar & Stain Remover" soap bar immeadately before going out to remove the Fragrant sumac's, as there is something in that particular soap bar that creates a "protective barrier" on the skin... Somewhat skeptical, but for less than $2, I thought it was worth a try.

With "Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar & Stain Remover" soap bar in hand, I washed all over, dried myself, then got fully clothed (from head to toe) in *old* clothes that would go straight in the bin (trash) once I had finished removing the six Fragrant sumac's...

[Image: 9GngXSW.jpg]

2014-07-05: 3 x 'Gro-Low' Fragrant sumac's (left side) cleared away



[Image: 2jPI6N3.jpg]

2014-07-05: 3 x 'Gro-Low' Fragrant sumac's (right side) cleared away

Every part (roots and all) of the six Fragrant sumac's were taken off site to be composted. Everything I was wearing, was double bagged and put straight in the bin (trash). I then showered (this time in cold water). Miraculously no allergic reaction. Was it the "Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar & Stain Remover" soap bar? Was it being covered from head to toe in *old* clothes that went straight in the bin (trash) afterward? Or was it a combination of the two? In all honesty, I don't know, but if I every have to do something similar again I will go with the combination of the two.

In the Autumn (2014) I planted some Missouri native grasses and perennials in those cleared areas...

[Image: 5YTIv9m.jpg]

2014-09-15: (left side) Planted out with 12 Missouri native grasses and 4 Missouri native flowering perennials.



[Image: fPRHnq7.jpg]

2014-09-15: (left side) Planted out with 11 Missouri native grasses and 4 Missouri native flowering perennials.

Then in early winter (2014) I also planted some Allium 'Purple Sensation' (bulbs) and Daffodil bulbs in those same areas.

Sometime within the next few weeks I plan to get out there and plant a few more Missouri native grasses in those areas, help fill in a few of the larger gaps...

23 1,872
Reply
 03-10-2015, 12:05 PM
#2
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
I'm going to start calling you Green Thumbed Mike. Smile  I know when finished it will look superb like the rest of your plantings.

179 23,943
Reply
 03-10-2015, 12:13 PM
#3
User Info
Mike, it's not the washing before with lye soap that does it, it's the washing afterward. Lye soap is better to wash it off, but any washing is better than no washing. The offending oil washes off as long as it's removed promptly; that is, before it soaks in to the skin. After that...

For future reference, there are products on the market that will neutralize it. One that I know of is Tech-Nu. I find that in my supermarket so I can remember the name otherwise it would be like a breeze in my brain... there and gone. If I was allergic I'd definitely keep some in my medicine cabinet. But just because I'm not allergic that doesn't stop me from waging war against poison ivy. My neighbor is extremely allergic to it and I don't want to harbor plants that seed and spread to their land. I have one area where it likes to grow, and late last year I defoliated the area, I'll probably need to spray it one or 2 more times to fully kill it. I find spring is a great time to look for the newly emergent leaves since they are a sort of purplish color. Nothing else looks like it.

32 6,471
Reply
 03-10-2015, 12:22 PM
#4
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
User Info
Mike, I'm glad you were able to pull the offending plants safely and will look forward to pictures of that section of the garden when the new flora takes hold. Smile

2 11,211
Reply
 03-11-2015, 09:42 AM
#5
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
(03-10-2015, 12:05 PM)Johnny Wrote: I'm going to start calling you Green Thumbed Mike. Smile

I'll certainly take that, especially as I have been called a lot! worse (by the wife) Rolleyes


(03-10-2015, 12:13 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Mike, it's not the washing before with lye soap that does it, it's the washing afterward. Lye soap is better to wash it off, but any washing is better than no washing. The offending oil washes off as long as it's removed promptly; that is, before it soaks in to the skin. After that...

For future reference, there are products on the market that will neutralize it. One that I know of is Tech-Nu. I find that in my supermarket so I can remember the name otherwise it would be like a breeze in my brain... there and gone. If I was allergic I'd definitely keep some in my medicine cabinet. But just because I'm not allergic that doesn't stop me from waging war against poison ivy. My neighbor is extremely allergic to it and I don't want to harbor plants that seed and spread to their land. I have one area where it likes to grow, and late last year I defoliated the area, I'll probably need to spray it one or 2 more times to fully kill it. I find spring is a great time to look for the newly emergent leaves since they are a sort of purplish color. Nothing else looks like it.

Good info Thumbup And hat-tip for looking out for your neighbour Number_one


(03-10-2015, 12:22 PM)freddy Wrote: ... and will look forward to pictures of that section of the garden when the new flora takes hold.

Won't be this year, but with some favourable luck from the weather gods, those 8 Missouri native flowering perennials should really begin to take hold by next year (2016), plus start putting on a good show of colour...

23 1,872
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)