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Ah-choo !

It's the grasses, weeds and some trees that are the worst allergens for people, especially in the fall. Contrary to popular belief, roses and goldenrod are not what the doctors call allergic rhinitis. But there are exceptions to the rule and everyone reacts differently.

In addition to grasses and weeds (i.e.. ragweeds, pigweeds, and kochia) the main producers of pollen are the shade trees. For example, oaks, elms, maples, pecans, mulberries, and cottonwoods can make it miserable for allergic individuals. This usually happens for those few weeks in the spring.

Also producing highly allergic reaction are trees such as juniper, cypress, and the eastern red cedar.  Even in January, February, and early March these trees can catch people by surprise.

Other allergic producing culprits are molds or fungi. Greenhouses especially have hidden molds. Rotting vegetation in compost piles can also trigger an attack.

To help yourself, do not work on hot or windy days. Working on light misty days will lessen the exposure. Most plants do not like to pollinate during rain.

You can also help your yard to be allergy-free with certain types of plants.

Some deciduous trees that are allergy-free are: redbud, dogwood, crab apple, flowering pear, crape myrtle, fringe tree, persimmon, and the golden rain tree.

Some evergreens that are allergy-free are: magnolia, holly, spruce, and the Carolina cherry laurel.

Ground covers that are allergy-free are - ajuga, hosta, sedums, vinca, lambs ear, bishops' weed, lambs-ear, English ivy, and pachysandra.

Deciduous shrubs that can be allergy-free are mock orange, spirea, roses, chaste tree, weigela, hawthorn, cleylea, boxwood, glossy abelia, ocuba, barberry, yucca, viburnum, and yews.

As a gardener, here are some steps you can take to diminish those attacks:

  1. Don't use power blowers. They just scatter everything.

  2. Find out specifically what you might be allergic to.

  3. Wear a mask when raking, mowing, or doing garden work.

  4. Keep the lawn short to weeds from blooming and producing seeds.

  5. Garden when the pollen count is not high like after a rain.

  6. Weed well in the garden and mulch afterwards.

  7. Avoid the wind-pollinated plants. A good rule of thumb: the more color a plant has the safer it is.

Happy and healthy gardening. And, get rid of the sneeze.