What grows faster than ivy in May?

A rhetorical question to begin this post, but poison ivy is one of the best-adapted vines in this landscape. When a thunderstorm downpours registers “zero” on the Paw Paw Lake East rain gauge it’s time to get a ladder and investigate the gauge. Spider nests, cottonwood or maple seeds or other plant debris plugging the rain collector funnel at the top of the gauge are common offenders.

This week poison ivy, a more formidable problem, was to blame. The image above is the usual, shade-loving ground variety of the ivy whose 3 leaves mean “no contact allowed”. Below, the rain gauge decked out in what might be called “tree ivy”.

The rain gauge reports that it was a wet spring.

Again, no contact allowed with stems or leave , especially without gloves and long sleeves. Definitely no weed-eater allowed because it would create a toxic sap spray. Weedkillers are seldom used on the Bluecircle, but this situation called for a hand sprayer of ivycide. Fortunately the solar panel on the weather station was not covered, so cleanup of the collector and internal rain meter should be all that’s needed to get the station operational.

A more common form of poison ivy begins in the shade of evergreens that are too small to have a ground covering layer of old needles, or pine straw. Here ivy tendrils reach the trunk and climb, eventually branching out onto the upper boughs. In the example below nearly the entire top of the spruce is hidden. This is far too high to manage with a sprayer, so clippers will have to be used to strip ivy stems from the lower trunk and restore sunlight to the spruce top.