Grass allergies: Plants to avoid in your own yard

Apr 3, 2014 at 2:24 p.m. ET

Got allergies? If so, you probably know allergy season kicks off with the arrival of grass pollen. Find out which grasses you should avoid in your own yard and learn how to minimize the symptoms associated with grass allergies.

Woman's feet walking in grass |
Photo credit: Yulia Podlesnova/iStock/360/Getty Images

Know the symptoms

Do you turn into a red-eyed, itchy-nosed sneezing, congested mess when the weather gets warmer? If so, you’re probably suffering from a reaction to the grass pollen in the air. Not sure if you have allergies? Check out the following list of symptoms: 

  • Itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Congested sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Post nasal drip
  • Coughing and hoarse voice

Know the difference between
a cold and grass allergies

While a cold will go away anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, allergies will last as long as you're in contact with the offending pollen — from days to months. A cold will come on slowly, but allergies strike immediately upon exposure. With a cold, mucus can be yellow while allergy-related mucus is clear. (Go ahead and peek in that tissue to see what you’re dealing with.) Itchy, watery eyes that just won’t quit are another good indicator you’re dealing with allergies and not a common cold.

Know the season

Typically grasses begin growing in early Spring, releasing their pollen into the air in late Spring to early Summer — about the time you start to hear the lawn mowers being fired up every Saturday morning.

Know the grass types

Usually if someone is allergic to one type of grass pollen, they’re allergic to them all. The pollens have very similar allergy-inducing proteins.

The worst grasses for allergies are:

  • Timothy grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Johnson grass
  • Bermuda grass
  • Redtop grass
  • Orchard grass
  • Sweet vernal grass

Know the three C’s

Keep pollens and irritants away with the three C’s: Closed home, Cool air and a Clean environment. As good as that Spring breeze feels wafting through your house, you should close the windows and keep pollen out. Turning on the air conditioner does more than just cool your home; it also cleans pollen from the air. Finally, keep it clean. Your clothes, your carpet, your bedding, your pets. Invest in a good HEPA air purifier and vacuum, and be ruthless when it comes to sucking up the irritants from their hiding spots.

Quick Tip

Not sure if you have grass allergies? See your primary care doctor or an allergist for an allergy test.

More allergy-friendly gardening info

What to plant if you have allergies
Tree pollen allergies: plants to avoid in your own yard
Ragweed allergies: plants to avoid in your own yard