Obviously, the plants around us make pollen- the bane of the seasonal allergy sufferer’s existence. But did you know that because of our planting habits in the US we’ve drastically increased the amount of pollen-producing plants, significantly contributing to the epidemic that is seasonal allergies?
Pollen producers are pretty much always male plants. And male plants are hugely favored in landscape gardens and urban settings across the US (4 out of 5 trees sold in nurseries are male). Why? Male plants are “litter free” plants: no seeds, seedpods or fruit mess to clean up. And as we rush to greenscape urban settings—should be a good thing– those plants are almost always….male. We’re unintentionally actively stoking the allergic epidemic with our planting habits. Furthermore, female plants trap pollen and clean the air. So not only are we dumping more pollen, but we’ve removed the female air cleaners, too.
What to do?
Easiest first fix: Even removing just one offending pollen-producing tree or shrub from your yard can really reduce your symptoms by lowering total allergic load. Especially if the offender is by a window— pollen’s small size jumps right through the best of screens.
Second thing: Plant females!
Third thing: If you really want to go full-on reversing those allergies, when you’re purchasing plants this year, look for plants rated using the OPALS system (Ogren Plant Allergy Scale). The lower the number the better. Check out this great resource.
And stay tuned. As I incorporate these ideas in practice, I’ll report back…
I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to control allergies naturally?