Q: I have allergies. Should I remove my wildflowers?

Q: I live in an area surrounded by wildflowers and I have noticed the goldenrod is blooming. Some people say the goldenrod causes my allergies but others say it is pollen from another plant. I don’t want to remove my wildflowers unless it is totally necessary. What do you think?

A: You are not alone in having allergy reactions this time of year, thousands of people experience some form of allergic reaction in the fall. Hay fever is a commonly used term for pollen allergy, a type of seasonal allergic rhinitis (nasal irritation or inflammation). Pollen grains can be dispersed into the air in all year long depending on the type of tree, grass, weeds and/or weather conditions. Ragweed is a common cause of pollen allergy reactions in the fall. In Northeast Florida, ragweed often grows along the same sites as goldenrod. Since goldenrod puts out a showy yellow flower people assume it is to blame for the allergic reaction when ragweed is actually the culprit. Plain-looking trees, grasses and weeds, which do not have showy flowers, produce the types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic reactions. These plants manufacture small, light, dry pollen granules that are custom-made for wind transport. Although most allergenic pollen comes from plants that produce it in huge quantities, it’s the chemical makeup of the pollen that determines whether it is likely to cause hay fever. I checked the National Allergy Bureau for the pollen count in our area, which was done in Ocala last week, and the pollen count from weeds and grass registered as “high severity”. Many of our local news media now discuss the pollen counts during their weather reports so check those out if you know you have specific problems. The National Allergy Bureau monitors pollen counts in many locations throughout the United States and you can call them at 1-800-9-POLLEN for pollen counts. Generally, pollen is most abundant in the early morning, especially between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. so if you exercise outdoors you might consider changing to an afternoon or evening time. Rain can wash pollen out of the air for a time, and some plants may not pollinate in damp weather. (This information was adapted from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).


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Posted: June 14, 2017

Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Allergies, Goldenrod

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