Tree Allergies

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tree-allergiesMillions of people suffer from tree allergies around the world every year.  While there are some trees allergy symptoms during the fall months, spring is normally when tree allergies are at their worst. Trees actually pollinate before other plants and weeds and may start releasing their pollen as early as January in the southern states and as late as June in the northern part of the United States. Tree pollination is critical for the reproduction process and certain tree species such as mountain cedar are known to create havoc in people with allergies and even some who have never had allergy symptoms.

Trees can produce large amounts of pollen which can travel miles away from the original source before causing an allergic reaction. Tree pollen reactions can range from mild to severe with mild symptoms consisting of hives and sinus (runny nose) problems.  Severe reactions to tree pollen may be coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and hoarseness.

Tree Pollen Allergy?

There are believed to be at least 48,000 different kinds of trees identified worldwide. However, only about 100 of them have been proven to cause allergies.  Here are the most common trees which can cause allergic reactions:

  • Catalpa
  • Cedar
  • Elm
  • Hickory
  • Olive
  • Pecan
  • Sycamore
  • Walnut

Tree Allergy Strategies

When buying trees for your yard, consider species that are known not to aggravate allergies, such as:

  • Ash
  • Box elder
  • Cottonwood
  • Crape myrtle
  • Date palm
  • Dogwood
  • Fig
  • Fir
  • Maple (red)
  • Maple (silver)
  • Palm
  • Pear
  • Phoenix palm
  • Plum
  • Poplar
  • Redbud
  • Redwood
  • Willow

Note: Some people are known to have ‘cross-reactivity allergies’ with trees in the beech, birch, and oak family, as well as the juniper and cedar families.

About the author: James Singbush owns and operates the Growing High Tree Nursery in Atlanta, Georgia.

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