Love to garden but hate allergy season? Minimize your suffering by knowing which plants to avoid in your own yard.
Not in my backyard
Most trees begin to release their pollen into the air in late spring and early winter, causing hay fever or allergic rhinitis in one out of five people in the U.S. True, you can’t do much about the flowering trees in your community, but you can control what blooms in your own backyard. The worst offenders when it comes to tree pollen include:
- Box elder
- Mountain cedar
If tree allergies are a problem, it’s likely other pollens will have the same effect. Reduce pollens in your immediate surroundings by avoiding these grasses and plants:
- Bermuda grass
- Russian thistle (tumbleweed)
- Timothy grass
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Redtop grass
- Orchard grass
- Sweet vernal grass
Finally, having allergies doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a colorful garden. Just make sure your flower bed is free of these allergy-inducing blooms:
Relief for allergy symptoms
Avoiding high-pollen-producing plants in your yard is a good first step, but that’s not going to stop those nasty pollen grains from traveling hundreds of miles to zip right up your unsuspecting nostrils. Fortunately for allergy sufferers, relief comes in many forms.
Use over-the-counter or prescription medications
Talk to your doctor about nasal sprays, eye drops, inhalers, corticosteroids and antihistamines in pill or liquid form. Allergy shots are another way to gradually reduce your allergy symptoms over time.
Eat, drink, breathe
The Vitamin C found in citrus fruit is a natural way of getting your antihistamine, which counteracts the histamine found in pollen. Spicy foods and green and herbal teas help clear sinus passages. Local honey helps your body get used to local pollens, so start having a teaspoon or two each day, even before pollen season begins.
Delegate yard work duties
If possible, take a break from working in the yard or garden. Designate a family member or hire help during peak allergy season.
When allergy season strikes, stay inside and keep doors and windows closed — yes, even when you’re dying to feel that cool spring breeze! Crank up the air conditioner and invest in a good HEPA filter to slurp up the pollen. Save your outdoor time for after a good cleansing rain.
Channel your inner clean freak
Now is the time to get obsessive about cleaning. Strip off your clothes when you get home and put them straight in the washer. Shower often. Wash pets, bedding and curtains early and often. Vacuum regularly, and make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. Change your home’s air filter monthly — it can make a huge difference in indoor air quality.
Give your nose a drink
Buy a neti pot and wash away the pollen, dust and irritants lodged in your nasal passage.
More allergy-friendly gardening info
What to plant if you have allergies
Ragweed allergies: plants to avoid in your own yard
Grass allergies: plants to avoid in your own yard