Sneeze Guard: It's Pollen Season Again

Tips for beating seasonal allergies in the garden.
Birch Grown for White Peeling Bark

Birch Grown for White Peeling Bark

Birch trees are one of the many pollen-causing culprits in the garden.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Birch trees are one of the many pollen-causing culprits in the garden.

An estimated 1 in 6 Americans suffers from seasonal allergies. I’ve been suffering from watery eyes, uncontrollable sneezing and an itchy throat for the past few days, which is making me reluctant to get up close and personal with pollen in my yard.

You might think those huge lumps of yellow pollen floating around this time of year are what’s causing your symptoms. But actually, the teeny pollen you can’t see is what tends to cause allergic reactions. Hardwood deciduous trees like oak, maple, cedar, birch, box elder and elm can cause sneezing, while trees with big, bright flowers, like apple, cherry and dogwood, usually have larger pollen that doesn’t blow around as much. The same rule applies to plants: daffodils, daisies, lilies, pansies, and zinnias are among the flowering plants with larger pollen, so they may not bother you as much as ragweed and pigweed.

In any case, there are steps you can take to lower your allergy symptoms this time of year! Here are a few:

  • In the spring, pollen counts are generally highest in the afternoon, so try to garden at a different time of day. (In the fall, it’s early mornings you’ll want to avoid.) And try to avoid gardening on windy days, since pollen can blow in from all over.
  • Change your clothes and shower – or at least wash your hands and face well – after working in the garden.
  • Look for insect-pollinated plants – the showy, flowery kind mentioned above – rather than wind-pollinated plants.
  • Compost piles and damp mulch can produce mold, another allergy source. Keep your compost pile away from where you work and play, if possible, and consider using gravel instead of mulch.
  • A hat and, if needed, a breathing mask can help cut down on pollen exposure.
Keep Reading

Next Up

Spring Gardening Planner

Do these tasks during spring and caring for your garden will be easier, quicker and more satisfying.

6 New Plants for Spring

Try one of these drool-worthy plant introductions in your garden next season.

In the Mood to Garden? Try These 6 Ideas to Get You Started

Check out these trending products and must-have tools to nurture your budding interest in gardening. 

Sow Easy Summer Seeds

Growing summer bedding plants from seed is both fun and cost-effective, especially if you have several pots to fill.

Ideas for Creating Spring Beds and Borders

Decorate your garden with these beautiful blooms for colorful spring flowers and foliage.

Create a Cold Frame for Your Garden

Get a head start on spring planting with this DIY cold frame.

Late Frost Happens: How to Help Your Plants

Protect trees, shrubs, flowers and veggies from late spring frosts and freezes with these tried-and-true tips. 

Salvaging Winter-Stressed Plants

Learn the right steps to take after a severe winter ravages your landscape.

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Caribbean Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Island Life

10pm | 9c

Island Life

10:30pm | 9:30c

Hawaii Life

11pm | 10c

Hawaii Life

11:30pm | 10:30c

Caribbean Life

12am | 11c

Caribbean Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Island Life

1am | 12c

Island Life

1:30am | 12:30c

Hawaii Life

2am | 1c

Hawaii Life

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.