Monday, March 7, 2011

Allergen Free Gardening

And so begins our discussion on tree pollen in the desert.  Once thought of as a safe haven for people who suffered from allergies, desert towns, like Tucson, are today feeling the affects of people planting non native trees in their landscapes.  Allergy sufferers begin their sniffles and coughs during the month of March as trees begin to awake from their "naps".  The olive tree, palo verde, mulberry, live oak, and magnolia trees are several of the major offenders in our area.  Some trees, like the mulberry and olive tree, are even banned from city use and illegal to plant(unless they are the fruiting variety of mulberry). Today I am going to share with you some information that I hope is useful for you allergy sufferers in  the garden.  After this post, I'll be getting back to my garden journal at El Presidio.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 26 million Americans suffer from pollen allergies. Here's a list of things to consider for your Allergen-Free Garden.....
  • Choose plants that are pollinated by creatures(hummingbirds,etc) rather than the wind(think bright fragrant flowers)
  • Add many different plant species to your landscape, rather than repeating the same species in quantity.  This reduces the exposure to particular pollen.
  • Select plants well-adapted for your area and maintain them properly.  Stressed plants trying to reproduce before they die create two to three times their normal pollen.
  • Do not use leaf blowers, as they stir up particulates.
  • Pull weeds as soon as they appear.  Many weeds are major pollen producers.
  • Common or improved Bermuda grass grown from seed produces considerable pollen. Replace with a sterile vegetative hybrid Bermuda that doesn't produce flowers or pollen.
  • Limit the time spent in the garden on our windy days in March and April.  Pollen count is typically highest between the hours of 5 and 10 AM.

Outside of the El Presidio Gardens...
High-Allergen Plants to Avoid if you are allergy sensitive......
  • Arizona Ash-male
  • Arizona Cypress
  • Canyon ragweed
  • Common or improved Bermuda Grass
  • Fruitless Mulberry
  • Hop Bush
  • Italian Cypress
  • Juniper-Male
  • Live Oak
  • Mesquite
  • Fruiting Olive Tree
  • Saltbush
  • Sumac
  • Triangleleaf Bursage
Source:  Phoenix Home and Garden

Until next time.....get ready for the Spring Pollen event. Live Oak tree's about to begin:)

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