Tips of the Month
Removing Poison Ivy and Invasives
We’re now in the ‘dog days' of summer, with everything around us growing abundantly, especially after some rain. You might’ve noticed some plants in your yard or on your street that keep coming back with a vengeance. More likely than not, these are invasives. Invasive plants are non-native, and unusually adept at out-competing other species in a way that threatens biodiversity and also can cause harm to human health.
To remove invasives with a ‘green’ thumb, try to follow this process: (1) first, try to remove by pulling the plants by hand; (2) if that isn’t making a dent, on a dry day try spot-treating the plants with an organic herbicide. Spot treatment is different from broadcast spraying – which involves spraying an entire area – and just means spraying individual plants and their foliage. Take care when removing poison ivy and other plants such as poison oak and poison sumac, all of which can cause a bothersome rash. While not invasive, removing poison ivy – along with other invasives – will help make our community more supportive of diverse plants, and be suitable for walking off the beaten path. Wear sunblock and a hat; remember that the cooler weather of September is not far off!
For more information about invasive plant species go to the Maryland Department of Agriculture website.
From the City's Committee for a Better Environment
Algae Bloom in Waterways
It’s summer, and with the high temperatures both humans and pets want to keep cool. The DMV area is lucky to have many access points for people and pets to swim. What we aren’t always aware of though, is how something as simple as algae could send your pet to the ER within hours.
This algae, called Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, grows in still and moving water when temperatures are over 75 degrees. The water may turn a shade of green, you may see slime on the water or algae moving with currents or tides. When pets come in contact with or ingest this algae, it is harmful to their health. When ingested, it can cause neurologic or liver damage with your pet.
Some symptoms of toxicity from the algae are: diarrhea, panting, seizures, respiratory failure, disorientation, excessive drooling, and vomiting. If your pet has been swimming and is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take your pet to a vet or emergency clinic immediately.
To prevent an exposure to the algae, check with the local health and parks departments in the area where you will be swimming. A lot of these departments test for bacteria numbers and send alerts when bacteria levels are dangerous in their waterways. Look for any posted notices, signs, website notices, or communications about water quality.
Before swimming, lookout for any algae in the water. Don’t allow your pet to drink the water from these areas, especially when the water temperature has been over 75 degrees consistently. After swimming, rinse your pet off. This will prevent exposure from the pet licking itself.
We all love our pets, and we want them to have a safe AND happy summer.
From the City's Animal Welfare Committee