With a change of season right around the corner, many people will wonder how to reduce spring yard allergens in landscapes. Even here in sunny, southwest central Florida, throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, most plants remain dormant during the winter months. But as spring draws near, plenty of pollen and other allergens will become quite common in your outdoor living space. So, it’s good to know some ways to reduce spring yard allergens in landscaping.
Common Spring Yard Allergens
The most common spring yard allergens are found in trees, weeds, and grasses. Killing off crabgrass is always a good idea, but it won’t do very much for allergy suffers as digitaria produces only mild allergens. However, there are plenty of others which fall into the severe allergen category. Among them are the following trees: Bluejack Oak (Quercus incana), Carolina Willow (Salix caroliniana), Eastern Poison-Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia), Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), Myrtle Oak (Quercus myrtifolia), Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra), Red Mulberry (Morus rubra), Water Hickory (Carya aquatica), and Water Oak (Quercus nigra).
Prepping your yard can give you a head start on spring landscaping, but it can also mean suffering from seasonal allergies. Ragweed pollen and lingering mold can create double the symptoms for some allergy sufferers. “The daunting task of yard work can be favorable for allergy sufferers if they know how to reduce allergens in the areas surrounding the home,” said allergist Richard Weber, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Many people think you can only control the environment inside the home, but there are also precautions you can take to help eliminate allergens outside as well.” —American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Weeds producing severe allergens are: Annual Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), Chinese Mustard (Brassica juncea), Florida Pellitory (Parietaria floridana), Saltwater False Willow (Baccharis angustifolia), and Spiny Amaranth (Amaranthus spinosus). While grasses which produce severe allergens are Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) and Perennial Rye Grass (Lolium perenne).
How to Reduce Spring Yard Allergens in Your Landscaping
All the above trees, weeds, and grasses can really be difficult for allergy sufferers to cope with but it doesn’t end there. Pet dander, outdoor animal dander, pollinating plants, and dust are also notorious allergens. With so much potential exposure, it can be difficult to keep a landscape looking its best. But, there are measures you can take to lessen your exposure to allergens, both inside and outside your home. Here’s how to reduce spring yard allergens in your landscaping:
- Leave flowering plants outside. If you love springtime flowering plants, do yourself a huge favor and leave these outside. While it’s certainly tempting to bring them inside your home, you’re only adding to the number of allergens already present inside your house. By keeping flowering springtime plants outside, you’ll have less to worry about.
- Keep your home and pets clean. Often times, allergens hitch a ride into your home on clothing and pets. Both collect allergens and you unwittingly let them waltz right inside without even thinking about it. Keep all your outdoor clothing clean, including your shoes. Additionally, bathe your pets regularly. This will help to reduce pollen and it has the added bonus of reducing mold spores as well.
- Time your landscape work wisely. During the midday hours and on into the afternoon, the pollen count is typically at its highest. It’s best to garden and landscape during the early morning or even during the evening. Morning is the best time because the pollen count is usually low, due to early morning dew helping to tamp it down. Or, just after a rainstorm is another good time.
- Be sure to cover up your skin. Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants might not be your first choice, but it’s a good way to combat allergies with little effort. Wearing gloves is another good measure in your fight against allergens. When you’re done, be sure to wash what you’ve worn outside so it doesn’t linger in the house.
- Keep your grass mowed. This is perhaps the most simple and easy ways to combat spring yard allergens. Just the routine act of keeping the grass mowed will do quite a lot to lessen allergen exposure. By keeping the grass trimmed to about a 2 inch height, you’ll do much because it’s at the very top where grasses release pollen.