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Mindful Gardening

5 Pollen Prevention Tips

April 24, 2017

Being an avid gardener who is allergic to pollen can put a major damper on your outdoor activities this spring, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are steps you can take to limit your exposure to pollen while you tend to your yard.

Plants can be pollinated by two ways: abiotic and biotic. Pollinators (like bees) carry pollen from plant to plant in biotic pollination and abiotic pollination is a result of the wind.  It’s the wind-pollination that causes the most problems for those with allergies. It’s estimated that 40 million Americans have indoor/outdoor allergies. Some of the most common triggers are pollen from trees, weeds, and grass, as well as mold spores. Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis), which is caused by these triggers, may lead to symptoms such as congestion, nose irritation, sore throat, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes.

Listed below are some Mindful Gardening® tips for avoiding pollen when you’re out in your garden.

  1. Time and weather conditions. Various pollens release at different times of the day. Try to work in the garden when it’s cool and cloudy or after a heavy rain. Avoid garden work when days are hot, the air is dry or when there are high, pollen spreading winds. Gardening after a light rain isn’t always a good idea (as it activates some pollen).
  2. Proper yard maintenance. Grass can be a pollen hazard, so keeping your lawn cut short is important. If cutting your own grass gives you the sniffles consider paying someone (like a kid from your neighborhood) to do it for you. If you suffer from mold allergies be aware of wet mulch and straw where mold thrives.
  3. Have the right gear. When you tend to your garden consider wearing working goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes. Also, consider wearing masks to protect your nose and mouth from pollen. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, and long pants can also help as well.
  4. Stay clean. To keep the pollen from settling into your home, be sure to clean up right after you’re done gardening. Wash your hands, take a shower, and don’t forget to immediately wash your clothes.
  5. Grow a hypoallergenic garden. Though this isn’t an immediate solution, it is something you could consider for the future. Some plants produce more pollen than others. By planting more hypoallergenic plants you can limit the amount of pollen in your own yard. Consider plants such as cherry trees, daisies, dogwoods, irises, lilacs, pear trees, peonies, redwoods, roses, and tulips. If these plants don’t suit you consider asking you nearest plant nursery for female plants and reduce the male plants in your garden, as they are the ones that produce the pollen.
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