Enjoy Gardening During Allergy Season
Sunday, January 29, 2023

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While spring pollen is one cause of allergic misery, it's not the only one. In fact, the great outdoors is full of pollen from trees, plants, and weeds that can cause problems in all seasons. However, there is hope for the millions of Americans who suffer from allergy symptoms but also love to dig in the garden dirt. Follow the steps below to lighten the allergy burden this gardening season. Say yes to plants with pretty brightly colored flowers. Generally speaking, roses and other attractive flowering shrubs have waxy pollens carried from plant to plant by bees and other insects and do not usually trigger allergy symptoms.

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Avoid certain grasses, including timothy, Bermuda, orchard, sweet vernal, red top, and some blue grasses along with low-growing weeds such as sagebrush, pig weed, tumbleweed, Russian thistle, and cockle. These offenders have small, light, dry pollens easily disseminated by the wind.

Know your trees:

Trees can get into the allergy act, too. Some culprits include:  Oak, Western red cedar, Elm, Birch, Ash, Hickory, Poplar, Sycamore, Maple, Cypress, Walnut. But don't go overboard by ripping out your landscaping in hopes of an allergy cure and don't be concerned about the sex of the tree, either. Some think that male trees, which are often responsible for more pollen, can be allergy-causers. Though there may be some truth to it, there is no need to chopp down trees or tear up grass or ragweed to avoid allergic reactions. You should keep away from common garden chemicals, including fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides as much as possible. Many products contain potent allergens such as pyrethrum, which can be tested for with an allergy skin test. However, even without an actual allergy to these chemicals, they can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs. Learn allergy hot spots. Beware of mold on plants, moist soil, drainage areas, and rotting wood. If possible, have someone else rake leaves and mow the lawn, to avoid leaf piles and compost areas, which can trigger allergy symptoms.

Time Your Work Carefully:

Pollen count is highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so garden later in the day if possible. Rainy, cloudy, or windless days will have fewer allergens in the air, whereas hot, dry, and windy conditions can trigger reactions. Check pollen counts on local weather reports available from the National Allergy Bureau Web site. Avoid working outside when counts are especially high. Use protection. Wear gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat, and sunglasses or goggles. Severe sufferers might add a mask as well. Be sure to shower, thoroughly wash your hair, and change clothes when work is complete so you don't bring allergens into the house.

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Garden lovers and allergy sufferers can still enjoy their pastime if they do it wisely

     

     

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