Gardening with Allergies
Allergy season is in full swing in most parts of the country; turning cars a peculiar shade of green, causing Kleenex stocks to rise and giving allergy sufferers a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms. Allergies can cause sneezing, wheezing, coughing, headaches and worse but they shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your garden. Instead, re-evaluate your garden, replacing allergy-causing plants with those that will not contribute to your symptoms and redesign your gardening routine and habits.
Many beautiful flowers, fruit trees and shrubs will not contribute to your allergies because they are pollinated by birds, bees and other animals, instead of releasing pollen grains into the wind.
Grasses: If you must have that bright green lawn, keep it well watered and fertilized. A healthy lawn traps pollen, which is washed down into the soil when watered. Try adding Grower's Secret 521 to your watering system. Bermuda grass is among the most popular but is also a big pollen producer. Try replacing Bermuda with St. Augustine or female Buffalo grass, which produces no pollen. Keep grass from going to seed by mowing often.
Trees and Shrubs: Many deciduous trees such as oak, elm and maple are the culprit behind many an allergy attack. Switch to female trees or trees with showy flowers. Many of these are cross-pollinated by bees, butterflies and other friendly garden visitors. Try apple, cherry, plum, pear, dogwood or magnolia. Steer clear of junipers, cypress and privet, replacing them with hydrangeas and azaleas. Also, clear away any dead trees or limbs, which can aggravate mold allergies.
Flowers: Believe it or not, many flowers are not major pollen producers or are cross-pollinated by animals. Herbaceous plants with showy flowers can brighten your garden without contributing to your allergies. These include tulips, daffodils, iris, lilies, pansies, petunias, roses, sunflowers and zinnias, among others. Stay away from highly scented varieties, however, as their scent may cause allergies for those with sensitive noses.
Weeds: Of course, weeds are the biggest cause of allergies. Be sure to remove these or ask someone without allergies to remove them for you.
Chemicals: Although spring allergies may seem to stem from flowers, trees, grass and shrubs, many allergy sufferers don’t realize the impact of chemicals on their symptoms. Sensitivity to pesticides and other gardening products can cause just as many health problems. Limit or eliminate their use in your garden. Try using Grower's Secret 521 instead. 521 is organic, non-toxic and helps plants to protect themselves from pests and disease.
Working in the Garden: You should try to work in the garden on cooler, cloudy days in the evening, when the pollen count is lower. Protect your airways and skin with a facemask, glasses, gloves and a long sleeve shirt. Remove these immediately after working in the garden and take a shower to remove any remaining pollen exposure.
Allergies shouldn’t stop you from spending time in the garden. Gardening is relaxing, a great form of exercise and can produce fresh and healthy produce for you and your family.