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One of Texas’ most troublesome plants is poison ivy. Although most Texans are familiar with this common plant, countless people experience an uncomfortable introduction to it every year. Unfortunately, the natural landscape along the trail and around Figure Four Lake in Fort Bend MUD No. 118 provides the perfect habitat for this noxious species to thrive. While the District, in cooperation with landscape professionals is working to remove this unpleasant vegetation, residents should exercise caution when venturing into District common areas. All parts of the plant are toxic and capable of causing skin irritation. For sensitive individuals encounters such as running over leaves with the lawnmower or being touched by pets who may have run through the plants, are enough to cause a reaction.
Poison ivy can be found as a low-growing shrub, can grow as a trailing vine along the ground, or can occur as a vine that climbs the trunks of trees. According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service, poison ivy may differ in appearance according to geographical region. Along lake and riverbanks in Central and East Texas the plant may grow to become a large-trunked vine capable of climbing to the top of the average tree. The leaves are compound, with three leaflets that occur alternately along the stem. The leaflets may be smooth or slightly hairy, with edges being lobed, toothed, or smooth. Leaves can occur in a variety of colors on the same plant, but leaflets typically have a greenish-red cast when they first emerge in the spring, then turn dark green throughout the summer, and eventually turn red, orange, or yellow in the fall.
If you think you have had an encounter with poison ivy, wash your skin with soap and cool water as soon as possible after contact. Alcohol can also be used to remove the irritating plant oils. The sooner you cleanse the skin, the greater the chance that you can remove the plant oil or help prevent further spread.
For questions or concerns about the presence and control of poison ivy in District common areas, please contact the District’s Parks Manager through the Fort Bend MUD No. 118 website contact page https://www.fbmud118.com/contact/ or by phone at 832-956-0868.
The Peninsula located along Figure Four Lake and within Fort Bend MUD No. 118 (MUD 118) common area is home to various species of native trees. This wooded reserve provides shade for park goers and refuge for the park’s wild inhabitants. While MUD 118 strives to preserve this natural area, there are times when intervention is needed to maintain the health of trees and safety of the public in a park setting. This includes tree pruning to maintain a safe canopy height, removal of dead or hazardous limbs and occasionally removal of trees.
In March of 2021, an evaluation was performed by a Certified Arborist assessing trees in MUD 118 park spaces. While the Arborist’s assessment included recommendations for actions that will reduce stresses, and boost growth through selective pruning and deep root fertilization, it was concluded that one Live Oak tree requires removal. The tree that is planned to be removed was found to have a non-treatable form of fungal disease that commonly attacks trees suffering from bark damage or other stresses that increase a tree’s susceptibility to pests and disease. While the tree is still alive and has continued to perform its seasonal routines, the Arborist identified signs of decline including fungal growth and die back of young branches in the canopy, and decay of the trunk and main boughs of the tree.
The recommendation for removal was based on a collection of factors including the severity of existing decay, lack of signs of healing or new growth, and proximity to and potential of spreading the disease to remaining and otherwise healthy Live Oaks. Many common tree fungi spread through the air or are carried by pests from one tree to another. As this Live Oak declines, the likelihood that the disease will spread to other nearby trees increases. According to the Arborist’s report, because this disease cannot be treated, this tree will continue to decline until mortality. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for the fungal disease and removal is the best method available to preserve nearby trees and prevent future tree mortality.
The actions outlined by the Arborist and approved by MUD 118 include the removal of the detrimentally unhealthy Live Oak and implementation of preservation techniques for other trees in the area. In addition to the on-going care and maintenance of existing trees, MUD 118 is planning enhancements to District parks that will include the reforestation of areas that have experienced tree loss due to selective removal of hazardous trees, construction, and natural mortality. The project is planned to begin in 2021 and will incorporate various landscape and park improvements as well as the planting of more than one hundred trees of varying species throughout District green spaces.
For questions and additional information please contact MUD 118 through the District website’s contact page: https://www.fbmud118.com/contact/
Or by telephone to the District’s Park Facility Manager: (832) 956-0868