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Nothing To Sneeze At: 5 Landscaping Tips For Allergy-Prone Homeowners

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If you're a homeowner looking for ways to beautify your home with an aesthetically pleasing landscape and relaxing yard, there are many ways to accomplish this. However, if you're an allergy sufferer wishing to enjoy time in your outdoor oasis, your landscape should include trees, shrubs and flowers that produce the least amount of pollen. The location for your landscaping projects or garden is equally important. Before you hire a contractor or attempt a do-it-yourself project, consider these allergy-friendly pointers for creating a landscape that is nothing to sneeze at:

1. Plant Allergy-Friendly Trees

If you wish to cultivate a landscape that is the least likely to create allergy issues, consider planting a fruit-bearing tree such as apple, pear, plum or cherry. These produce less pollen than oak, elm, cedar or maple. You might also plant cactus trees. The cacti family are not as likely to produce pollen or cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

Here's another pointer for choosing the most allergy-friendly trees: Avoid the males. That's right, trees may be male, female or monoecious, meaning it may have both male and female reproductive parts or flowers.

Dioecious trees are either entirely male or entirely female. Male trees do not bear fruit, although they are often the worst offenders for dispersing allergy-triggered pollen into the air. To differentiate between the male and female trees, note that males produce flowers with pollen, while the females produce seeds and fruit.

2. Consider The Location Of Your Garden

When landscaping your yard, remember this rule of thumb: Don't plant shrubs, flowers or trees near doors and windows. When your windows and doors are opened, the wind-borne pollen will enter your house and aggravate your allergies. If you must plant a few pollen-producing plants or trees, avoid planting them in close proximity of entrances or the patio.

3. Trim the Grass and Clip Those Hedges

Grass is a natural enemy of allergy sufferers because of the pollen many grasses produce. It stands to reason that taller grasses will harbor more pollen and release it into the air. This is why it is very important to trim your lawn regularly. Be sure all hedges are neatly manicured as well.

4. Kill The Weeds

Weeds not only make a landscape unattractive, they may make an allergy sufferer miserable. If your landscape has become overrun with ragweed and dandelions, this could be a contributing factor to your sneezing, congestion and watery eyes. Use a high-grade weed killer and help control your symptoms.

5. Keep Your Landscape Healthy and Disease Free

A tree or plant that is diseased may produce more allergens into your environment. As an allergy sufferer, you need to keep your living landscape well and healthy. Insect-infected plants or trees that have become diseased may produce mold spore. Many allergy sufferers are affected by mold, so reduce the risk by inspecting your landscape regularly for the warning signs:

  • A significant reduction of leaves: Has your tree begun to show a marked reduction in leaves? This could mean the tree is affected by disease.

  • Spots on Leaves: Dark brown or tan or black spots on tree leaves may indicate disease or fungal growth. Tree specialists often refer to this condition as "leaf spot." Apart from fungi, the tree may be affected by bacteria. If you notice only a few spots, it's best to remove the affected leaves at once to prevent spreading. Doing so may reduce the risk of allergens in the air.

  • Spindly-looking tree limbs and weakened branches: When a tree is diseased, limbs of the tree will look brittle and the bark may shed. The branches on a dying trees will easily break off when bent, whereas a healthy tree's branch will be flexible.

If you suspect tree disease is causing your allergy symptoms to worsen, contact a tree specialist or arborist for advice. In some cases, fungicide may kill the mold spores that trigger your allergies. Otherwise, it may be best to remove the offending plant or tree. Be smart and create a landscape that is allergy-free, because your symptoms are nothing to sneeze at.