Poison Christmas Trees?

How could a Christmas Tree be poison you ask? It happens, and perhaps more often than you might guess.  I am currently battling a horrible case of poison ivy on my arms and face- it’s pretty miserable.  I did a quick search of poison ivy and christmas.  I was surprised how many hits came up.  Seems that many people contract poison ivy as a result of Christmas trees or the tree hunt.  Weeds like poison ivy, brambles, shrubs, and even tree sprouts are particularly challenging to Christmas tree growers.  Since the trees are cultivated over a number of years the pesticides and treatments used traditionally at the beginning or end of a season won’t do.  There are pages of guides on how to combat the pesky vine from your tree harvest.  Obviously most people would not choose or cut a tree with visible vines growing through it.  The vine could be hidden on the inside branches of a thick and dense tree.  You could mistake the vine for a harmless climber.  In the fall and winter months the poison ivy vine loses it leaves (which most are trained to notice) and looks just like a green vine.  But the challenge comes with the oil that the vine secretes.  That oil is the trouble maker.  The oil could be on the branches of a tree that no longer has the vine.  It only takes 1 nano-gram of the oil (that’s 1 billionth of a gram) of the oil to cause a reaction.  The average person reacts at 100 nano-grams.  Interesting, and scary, factoid- 1/4 ounce of the oil is enough to give a rash to every person on the planet!  Put this fact in the back of your mind and remember come December to watch for the vines.  Make sure that the cut-your-own tree is clear of growth and vines and always wear gloves when handling the tree.  Wear gloves even when handling trees on a lot.  It is far better to be safe than covered in an oozing rash, especially at the holidays.  (Wish me luck that this steroid kicks this round of poison ivy quickly!)