Although many people view gardens as the best spot where a lot of good and beautiful things grow, it can also easily become a problematic area. This specifically applies to people who suffer from hay fever and other types of allergies.
Allergens in Gardens
During spring, certain things in the garden can cause some people to suffer from bouts of sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and even skin rashes and hives. However, these allergies are actually caused by the plants in one’s yard; it’s actually the pollen and moulds coming from certain plants and grasses.
Cool climate grasses such as rye and other types of pasture grasses produce large quantities of pollen when they flower. In spring, the air is filled with pollen that can cause you to keep sneezing and have itchy, red eyes. Aside from grasses, deciduous trees also contribute their share of pollen. Once they are airborne, they can cause allergies as well. The biggest culprits are ash, oak, liquidambar, and plane trees – they produce pollen that can trigger hay fever.
Pellitory or asthma weed causes distress for many allergy sufferers. They grow in cracks in rocks, walls, and the pavement present in forgotten nooks and crannies. At present, they are quite prevalent in areas in and around Sydney, Wollongong, and Newcastle. It is also slowly spreading in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth. This weed causes allergic reactions through its pollen which is produced year round but more abundantly during spring. Its sticky leaves can also cause allergies so it is best not to touch them.
If you or another member of your family suffers from allergies (particularly hay fever and asthma), here are some tips for maintaining a low-allergen garden:
Cultivate non-allergenic plants. Many people think that since flowering plants have pollen, persons with allergies should never have them in their gardens. However, the truth is that many of these plants don’t release their pollen into the air because they are pollinated by birds and insects. These plants include camellias, hibiscus, banksia, dwarf flowering gums, and bottlebrush. In terms of trees, bauhinia, eucalyptus, and magnolia are some of the most popular low-allergen ones.
Revamp your turf. If you have rye grass on your lawn, consider replacing them with a low-allergen variety such as greenless couch, buffalo and rice (weeping), kangaroo (Themeda triandra), and wallaby. If replacement isn’t an option, you can place an alternative ground cover over the turf such as pebbles, native violets or kidney creeper.
Get rid of weeds immediately. Due to the abundant amount of pollen that weeds carry, it is important to remove them immediately from your garden. If you have allergies, have another person do it or entrust this job to lawn care contractors.
Know the best time to go outdoors. Lastly, if you are prone to allergies, gardening is best done in the morning before the cool breeze starts to blow and on cool, cloudy days. It isn’t advisable for you to go outdoors during windy days since aside from inhaling the air blown pollen, they’ll stick to your clothes as well.
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