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Tip of the Week: Don

If you burn leaves and garden debris in the fall here’s a safety tip and an option to avoid the burn pile.
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The full article on how to handle burning poisonous plants can be found at


While these tips apply to dangers in the workplace, the same safety concerns arise for home gardeners when burning poisonous plants. Do not burn plants that may be poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Inhaling smoke from burning plants can cause severe allergic respiratory problems. Employers should prevent workers from being exposed to burning poisonous plants whenever possible. However, when exposure to burning poisonous plants is unavoidable, employers should provide workers with:

• A NIOSH-certified half-face piece particulate respirator rated R–95, P–95, or better. This recommendation does NOT apply to wildland firefighters. Firefighters may require a higher level of respiratory protection to protect against possible exposure to combustion products.

• These respirators should protect against exposure to burning poisonous plants, but will not protect against all possible combustion products in smoke, such as carbon monoxide.

• Respirators must be worn correctly and consistently throughout the time they are used.

• For respirators to be effective there must be a tight seal between the user’s face and the respirator.


Consider shredding leaves and other garden debris for use as mulch in your garden beds. Be sure not to use diseased debris in your mulch so you don't transfer this year's troubles into next year's beds.