Landscaping Tips For People With Allergies

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Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is incredibly common in the US with over 50 million people affected. It's caused by allergic sensitivities to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. The surrounding landscape plays a big role in determining how much a person suffers from their allergies. Being near certain plants and trees can wreak havoc on an individual's daily life. While it may be impossible to control the landscape everywhere, changing up the landscape near the home can really make a big difference in the everyday life of someone who suffers from allergies. Here are a few landscaping tips for people with allergies.

Tree Removal

Trees are a much desired part of many landscapes, but they are also responsible for allergies in many individuals. The first step when it comes to controlling a tree pollen allergy is to get tested in order to figure out which trees trigger an allergic reaction. Some of the most common culprits include:

  • Ash
  • Cedar
  • Elm
  • Beech
  • Cottonwood
  • Mulberry 
  • Willow

Once the allergy sufferer knows which trees cause the problems, the next step is to figure out whether or not their landscape contains these trees. If any trees that trigger allergies are found near the home, tree removal may be the best option. This will greatly reduce the amount of irritating pollen that enters the home.

Look For Female Plants

One thing that may surprise many people is that it is actually the pollen from male plants that often cause allergic reactions. Switching out male plants for female varieties can actually help relieve allergies in some people. Another way to find plants that will not aggravate allergies is by looking for varieties that score low on the Ogren Plant-Allergy Scale (OPALS). This scale ranges from 1, which is for the least allergenic plants, to 10, which is for the most allergenic plants. Anything less than a 5 is considered a low risk plant for those with allergies.

Keep Grass Short

Many people love the look of a lush green lawn. Unfortunately, this lawn can cause major problems for those with allergies to grass. The best way to keep these allergies at bay is by keeping the grass as short as possible. Keeping grass short keeps it from pollinating which in turn keeps allergies at bay. People with severe allergies should also consider other options such as xeroscaping or even synthetic grass.

Landscaping can be difficult for anyone who deals with allergies. However removing certain types of trees as well as planting female plants or plants that are low on the OPALS scale can help reduce allergy symptoms.