A Sneezin' Season with a Twist

Pollen Seasons Switching Gears

Let me be honest with you. The tree pollen season we are coming out of has been as unusual as they get. We never soared to barbaric levels, and now at a time when levels are usually mellowing, we remain high (just not super high).

What happened is easy to describe. Trees responded to the sustained warmth of late March and began budding and of course pollinating up a storm. Tree pollen levels jumped to annoyingly high levels setting the stage for a would-be blockbuster April. But then out of the deep blue (Canada to be exact) came the great Easter weekend cold snap and snowfall. Trees and early season flowers were zapped. The Bradford pear and Flowering Crap Apple trees lost there luster so quickly, that it was left to the Dogwood to salvage a pretty April. Trouble was the dogwood too were nipped under the freeze blast effect of a series of 18-25 degree nights. The dullest spring in memory graced our presence.

All the while, deciduous trees like the maple and oak, which had come out in the March warmth, went into a pollinating hibernation. The cold snap was then followed by a gray and wet and chilly period for 10 days. Trees remained semi-dormant.

Finally, beginning Hillbilly Days weekend in April, temperatures warmed back to the 70s thanks to plenty of golden sunshine. Now this week, 80s are expected. Pollen levels are once again on the up-swing. But my suspicion is this is the last hurrah for trees. Levels will be up all week, but not even close to the levels we have reached in other springs. While it is true that low levels of tree pollen remain in the air all summer and fall long, this week is it for tree pollen-hay fever sufferers.

Now, grasses are joining in the pollinating fun! So as trees fade in their pollinating prowess, grasses will take over the wheezing and sneezing universe. I look for grass pollen levels to be annoying by Memorial day weekend for the Ironton and Grayson parades, peak thru Mid June in time for Father’s Day weekend then wane by Fourth of July when folks line Hamlin and Ripley for Yankee Doodle parades.

So, in a nutshell, tree pollen levels will be evening off then falling next week as grass pollens begin their 6-8 week run of pollination! This means, assuming my ascertion is spot on,that the normal yellow pollen fallout that makes our outdoor furniture so ickey in spring will not be a problem this year!


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