Poison Ivy is a dangerous plant: All parts of it are poisonous.

Severe skin inflammation and water blisters accompanied by persistent itching can result from touching it; the toxin is easily transfered from one object to another, particularly by pets that touch the plants; and even the smoke from burning the plants can cause infection.

Some people are more susceptible than others to injury; but it is believed that no one is ever fully immune.

The only way to deal safely with the plant, particularly where children are around, is to get rid of it. A fre gardeners train it to grow up the trunk of a tree for the brilliant fall color of the foliage, but even that can be risky.

The plant is easy to identify. The leaf stalk bears three leaflets. (Remeber the old saying: "Leaflets three, let it be!") The leaves are arranged alternately on the stem. The flowers are greenish-white and so inconspicuous that they're seldom noticed.

Clusters of waxy white berries develop in late summer and hang on throughout the winter. Many kinds of birds use the berries for food. At least some of the seeds pass through their intestinal tract without injury, going on to germinate readily, and seedings and young plants can often be found under trees, shrubs and fences where birds perch. They can become established and grow unnoticed among other plants in the garden.

Poison ivy is fairly easy to kill in the spring and early summer when it's making its growth. Amino triazole (sold as Amitrole, Weedazol and Poison Ivy Killer) is a good chemical to use for its control.

Usually roots and all are killed by one application. It isn't a quick death. Ten days or more may pass before the poison ivy leaves begin to drop. Directions on the label should be followed closely.

Amino triazole may seriously damage or kill other plants if it touchs them. The killing chemical that can be used to control poison ivy.

Solvex can be used to get rid of poison ivy growing on the lawn. It will destroy the plant without harm to the grass if directions on the label are followed.

There is a way to kill poison ivy growing in a hedge of pachysandra bed without harm to the grass if directions on the label are followed.

There is a way to kill poison ivy growing in a hedge of pachysandra bed without damage to the good plants: Mix Amitrole in a tin can and use a long-handled small brush to paint it onto the leaves of the poison ivy. Paint at least a dozen leaves on each stem. Q: The tulip tree in our yard gets spotted leaves each summer and they are constantly falling off. What's wrong with the tree and what can be done about it ? A: The tulip tree is susceptible to a fungus disease that causes large brown irregular blotches on the leaves. There is no good preventive control, perhaps because the disease is not considered harmful enough to justify spraying. Also, during hot, dry periods in midsummer leaves may turn yellow and drop prematurely. This may be due to the roots' inability to provide enough to provide enough moisture to replace that lost by the leaves during hot, dry weather. Q: What can I do to keep the bottom (blossom end) of my tomatoes from turning black ? A: Blossom-end rot of tomatoes is caused by a lack of calcium in the blossom end of the fruit. This could be done to the plant's not getting enough water at that particular time or to a lack of soluble calcium in the soil, perhaps because the soil is too acid. See that your tomato plants get at least an inch of water every 10 days and have your soil tested to see if it needs lime. Q: Our Chinese Burford holly is getting too big for its location; can we keep it smaller by shearing it once or twice a year . A: Shearing is the removal of everything at the same length. Formal hedges are sheared. When pruning, selected limbs or branches are removed, usually deep down in the plant. Shearing is not recommended for Burford holly, since it removes all the growth terminals and this is the growth that produces next year's berries. Burford requires frequent pruning to be kept within bounds, especially after it's been in place five to ten years. It can be done any time of the year except late summer and early fall; the best time to do it is early spring, before growth begins. Q: I am growing Tiny Tim tomatores on my windowsill and can't make the plants grow upright. They keep bending as if they want to see what's going on outdoors. Is this normal ? A: When a plant is near a window, its stem bends toward the light because the cells on the darker side of the stem grow more rapidly than those on the lighter side. If the plant is turned about a quarter of the way around each day the new growth will be upright. Q: I noticed that there are several large seed pods on one of my Mollis azalea plants. Would I get anything if I planted the seed ? A: Mollis, Ghent and Knap Hill azalea hybrids can be grown from seed, but there is no knowing what the quality of the plants may be. In other words, they do not come true. Q: My tulips are beautiful this spring. What can I do to help make them equally attractive next spring ? A: One of the best things is to cut off the faded flowers. If they're left on, food (energy) may be spent producing seed instead of being stored in the bulbs for better flowers next year. Q: Last year after they finished blooming, I transplanted some daffadils. This year not one bloomed, although the plants seemed healthy. What did I do wrong ? A: After daffodils finish blooming, the foliage produces food for storage in the bulbs. If anything happens to interfere with 100 percent food production, there may be no flowers the following spring. The foliage should be kept green and healthy until it turns brown naturally. If given good treatment this year, the daffodils should bloom next year. Q: What's a starter solution? My neighbor uses it and says he gets ripe tomatoes sooner because of it . A: A starter solution is fertilizer high in phosphorus, such as Plantabbs (11-15-20) or VHPF (6-25-15) dissolved in water and applied when the plant is planted outdoors. Follow the directions on the label for the amount to use. Research has shown that use of a starter solution can increase the yield as much as 40 percent. Q -- What causes turnip greens to wilt after getting to be about four inches high ? A -- It could be inadequate light or improper watering or it could be a disease called damping off. Q -- My brother has two cherry trees. Each year they bear fruit, but one has worms in all the cherries . A -- Wormy cherries are caused by an insect call plum curculio. Spray with methoxychlor when the last of the flower petals are falling in the spring and two additional times at eight-day intervals. Q -- How can I get the seed out of a pine cone ? A -- Most pine cones open up and shed their seeds naturally as they dry out. A few, like the jack pine, will open readily only when heated up to about 100*F. for about a day. Q -- I want to plant some primroses. My daughter insists they are poisonous to animals. We have some tiny poodles and two cats. Would primroses hurt them? A -- Primroses that grow outdoors the year around are widely planted and are not considered harmful to dogs, cats, birds or humans except possibly to those allergic to them. The winter-flowering greenhouse Primula obconica has grandular hairs on stems and leaves that can cause some people to itch. Q -- I think the Queen Elizabeth is a wonderful rose. Can you give me the origin of its name and anything else about it . A -- Queen Elizabeth was hybridized by Walter E. Lammberts; Charlotte Armstrong, a hybrid tea, was the mother, and the male pollen came from Floradora, a floribunda. In 1952, the rose appeared likely to be an All-America winner, Lammert sent Queen Elizabeth a number of the plants and asked permission to name the rose for her. She gave her consent. At that time there was no recognized grandiflora class of roses. Queen Elizabeth was not a hybrid tea or a floribunda, someone said to Lammerts, but a grand floribunda; he then called it a grandiflora, and a new class of roses was established.