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.