Tips for Spring Gardening

By Heather Legg

Here in the south, we’ve had a lot of rain which we haven’t seen in years. We even put some floweres in which we haven’t done for a while due to drought and watering restrictions. But it’s been raining fairly consistently all spring. Everyone’s yards and flowers look beautiful, but you know what that means, pollen. There’s the argument that rain washes the pollen away (good) but it also makes the flowers and grasses grow more intensely, which means more pollen. Add some wind, like we’ve been having, and the sneezing begins.

The other day was a gorgeous may day, blue skies, fast moving clouds, around 70 degrees. Everyone now and then a  brisk breeze would blow and you could just see the pollen blowing around. Even I was sneezing and I don’t sneeze a whole lot in the spring (fall’s my time!).  But there’s only so much you can ask from Mother Nature, so try to enjoy it as much as you can.

Here are some allergy sufferer’s tips for you and your yard from Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine. He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
• Wear a pollen mask while gardening
• Keep grass cut short
• Avoid touching your eyes and nose while gardening
• Plan outdoor time for rainy, wet, cloudy and windless days — which usually have lower pollen counts
• After yard work, leave your clothing outside of your bedroom, brush off your shoes and rinse your glasses. Also, wear gloves to minimize local contact and reduce irritation to the skin of your hands and arms
• Limit your gardening to short intervals on “high” pollen days
• If you are allergic to mold spores, avoid damp places and stagnant water
• Proximity and location of pollen-producing trees, shrubs and plants will affect your exposure to seasonal allergens
• Planting female trees in one’s own yard may trap incoming airborne pollen from male plants


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