We all have those things that stop us in our tracks. I have a few but one of the things that will have me retreating at speeds that can't be clocked is Poison Ivy. As a kid Poison Ivy never really bothered me but as I grew up my sensitivity to the plant has turned into a full blown allergy.

I never realized how much Poison Ivy we have in the Hudson Valley. It is very invasive and can adapt to just about every growing environment. It climbs trees, it weaves through gardens and can even with stand growing on the side of the road. Poison Ivy doesn't mind hot dry summer weather so this summer you will need to keep a look out for it everywhere.

So how do you avoid the leafs of three? It's not easy but I have three simple rules.

1 - I never walk through tall grass. Poison Ivy and it's nasty cousins Oak and Sumac love to grow low in overgrown areas. Besides tall grass also means ticks and that is a whole other matter we'd need another blog to cover.

2 - I make sure my pets and the places they play don't have Poison Ivy. I walk around with the spray killer in the early spring and then keep an eye for new growth during the summer. It never occured to me that if the oil from the Poison Ivy got on my dog i would get it from petting the dog.

3 - I never pick up wood or other objects from the yard that maybe be near where Poison Ivy grows. It is so easy to forget especially at the wood pile that the tree may have had Poison Ivy growing on it at one time.

Basically I keep in mind if I am not sure what plant it is then just don't come in contact with it. If you love to hike that Hudson Valley you are going to run into one or all three Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac at some point so keep a watchful eye and steer clear. And if you do get itchy the Mayo Clinic online can help.