While pollen is a welcome sight to bees, humans find the tree pollen blanketing cars and patios a nuisance.

Courtesy photo
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That powdery dusting of yellow grains atop your car, patio and yourself may be irksome, but it also signals the romance of reproduction.

For many people, spring is a double-edged sword. The fragrant flowering trees, shrubs and plants are resplendent but their pollen leaves their eyes feeling gritty and the sinuses perpetually squeezed.

Don’t blame a mild winter for the yellow-orange blanket covering moving north and east from the South. Trees, particularly conifers, typically spread pollen through the air every spring, said Doug Chapman, regional extension agent for commercial horticulture from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.

This year’s pollen production is not abnormally high, Chapman said.

He said conifers, including pines, spruces and firs, produce a tremendous amount of pollen this time of year, as do junipers.

“Most of your trees are wind pollinated using very mobile pollens,” he said.

Broadleaves such as oaks, box elder, elms, hickory, maple, pecan, cottonwoods, ashes, birches and walnuts also “mate” via wind pollination.

Flowering plants usually pollinate through bees, and are much less of a problem.

Grasses also produce pollen that irritates nasal mucosa. That season begins in April.

Chapman advises people to take pollen in stride.

“It’s just a couple of weeks and it is part of living on this planet,” he said.


Details for this story were provided by The News Courier in Athens, Ala.

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