Thursday, June 3, 2010

Beware of Dangers Lurking in the Underbrush on Minnesota Acreage!

Anoka, Chisago, and Washington Counties in Minnesota boast some of the most beautiful, desirable acreage properties in the state. As a REALTOR® in the Columbus, Ham Lake, Forest Lake and Lino Lakes area, I have to walk acres with my home buyers to assess the land. I walk the perimeter of properties with potential acreage sellers to understand the property lines. Whenever showing homes on Minnesota acreage, I am prepared. There are dangers lurking in the underbrush.

Poison Ivy--Be aware and on the look out for these poisonous plants as they are all over in Minnesota yards and wooded areas. Many property owners don't even realize the plants are poison ivy. Poison ivy is found all over the US while a close relative poison oak is found most often in the west. The plants to have a similar look and exposure to either of these plants will cause a similar, painfully itchy reaction.

Poison Ivy in Summer
  • Classic poison ivy is in full swing
  • Some leaves are notched and some are not
  • New leaves are shiny and still somewhat reddish
  • Older leaves are duller in color
Photo courtesy of
Poison ivy can be a ground cover, a vine or a bush. One small neglected patch can spread very quickly to a huge area. Exposure to this plant is an itchy nightmare that can last for several weeks unless treated with prescription medicines, usually steroids. These plants can leave oil on clothing which can spread in the laundry. Be aware of this hazard when walking in any wooded area that you are unfamiliar with.
Think you know what poison ivy looks like? Take a quick poison ivy PHOTO QUIZ
Wood Ticks/Deer Ticks—While the woods are often a haven for white-tailed deer, the beauty of these animals is overshadowed by a frightening reality. Deer ticks are carriers of Lyme disease; a painful disease that can be quite debilitating if untreated. Deer ticks (or Blacklegged ticks) are rarely found in maintained yards and are very tiny and often not noticed even after having bitten a host. The best defense is prevention of a deer tick bite.
  • Dress Appropriately—When walking acreage with underbrush or on property that has not been maintained, wear long sleeves and tuck in pant legs. Hats are a good idea to keep ticks out of your hair and off your head!
  • Use Bug Spray—Effective repellents include DEET and Permanone. Spray clothing with Permanone repellent prior to wearing as it is not to be sprayed directly on the skin. DEET can be used on clothing and/or skin.
For additional information on ticks commonly found in Minnesota, read article “Ticks and Their Control”, by Jeffery D. Hahn

Of course ticks aren’t the only biting critters on acreage. If walking an acreage property in the evening or near a lake or wetland, I am prepared to ward off
mosquitoes, deer flies and no-see-ems too. Luckily, the advice for ticks, a good bug spray with DEET, a hat and long sleeves, works to a keep bites from these pests to a minimum as well.

Copyright 2010 Teri Eckholm