Tree Pollen Explosion
These days it seems like everything grows in spurts. The Powerball Lottery, March Madness and Capital Hill posturing come immediately to mind.
So it is that the long-awaited “breakout” to spring weather has awakened our formerly dormant trees and sent them into a pollinating frenzy.
During the long, damp and chilly months of March and early April, trees held back their spring growths. Easter weekend was cold enough for wet snow in the mountains and a chilling rain in the river valleys. It was also the dullest Easter in many years, partly due to its early arrival but mainly due to the cold weather.
On the air we half heartedly joked that soon we would go from winter to summer weather while skipping spring.
Well that light hearted talk has now come to fruition save for a mild springy weekend as temperatures are about to soar into the mid 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those are values we normally see in early summer.
With our trees now quickly responding to the advent of true spring, the Ornamental Pair, Japanese Cherry, Redbud and Saucer/Tulip Magnolia have joined the Forsythia in sprouting.
Indeed, the air in downtown Huntington on this Monday night is spiced with the distinctive “pungent” fragrance of the Bradford Pear.
Tree pollen levels spiked into the 500 to 1,000 grains per cubic meter range on Sunday, and above 1,000 on Monday. Now with highs heading for the mid 80s and overnight lows staying near 60, Oak and Maple pollen will join in the fun and send pollen levels soaring to the 2,000 to 5,000 grains per cubic meter range this week.
Oh yeah, 100 is considered high, so 2,000-5,000 is 20 to 50 times higher than high!
The next break in the pollen explosion will arrive with rain and cooler air by Friday and the weekend, but until then tree sufferers take your antihistamine and follow these suggestions.
1. Keep the windows at home closed so pollen does not infiltrate thru the screen doors.
2. Drive with windows up and air conditioning on.
3. When you come inside, damp mop your hair since pollen will cling to your scalp and you could sleep all night and inhale the pollen without even knowing it.
4. Wear a face mask outdoors if you are highly allergic and curtail strenuous outdoor activities when counts are high.