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Gardening With Allergies

21 tips for flower lovers everywhere.

21 Tips for Gardening With Allergies continued...

6. Many flowering bushes and trees -- roses, azaleas, dogwoods, plums, Bradford pears, crepe myrtles, and Japanese cherry -- don't release much pollen. So these are less likely to cause an allergy problem when planted in a yard. Just don't plant them under a bedroom window -- or you could have a pollen problem.

7. Window screens won't protect you from pollen. Pollen grains are tiny compared to the screens' holes. You may have to remove an offending plant if it's a problem.

More on trees...

8. Yews are popular evergreen landscape trees and shrubs. It's used in chemotherapy (in the breast cancer drug Taxol). If yews are planted near windows, it's best to take them out. (Female yew trees have bright red berries -- and are harmless.)

9. The evergreen shrub Ligustrum (or privet) is in the olive family and is known to produce potent pollen. If this shrub is planted at your house's foundation, prepare for a pollen blast.

10. Japanese boxwood and Abelia shrubs produce lots of pollen. Keep them closely clipped, and you'll have fewer pollen problems.

11. Burning bush (also known as summer cypress or Kochia) is one of the great beauties of autumn, turning a vibrant scarlet. But beware! It's in the tumbleweed family and is a notorious pollen producer.

12. Remove any dying shrub or tree. You'll protect yourself from the highly allergenic insect dander that predatory insects generate, as well as mold. 

13. Native shrubs, trees, and flowers are well-adapted to your region. They will thrive in your yard without much attention. But if that plant was grown from a cutting, it's likely male -- and will produce pollen. If it was grown from seed, there's a 50-50 change it's female.  

14. Healthy female shrubs draw songbirds, even hummingbirds. Check your local nursery for berry-producing female shrubs. (Male shrubs provide no fruit.)

15. The pollen from some trees -- like olive and ash trees -- is more potent compared to other trees. It doesn't take much to produce a big allergic reaction. You probably don't want these in your yard.

16. Birches, alders, and oaks have both male and female organs on the same tree. (They're called monoecious plants.) But they still shed lots of pollen in springtime.

17. In times of stress and drought, a tree will produce more pollen than usual. In heavily populated areas -- with high pollution and carbon dioxide levels in the air -- many trees are releasing pollen more than once a season.

Essentials about your lawn...

18. A healthy green lawn is a very effective pollen trap. The grass traps the sticky pollen, which washes down into the roots and soil when watered.

19. Bermuda grass produces highly allergenic pollen. When the grass is stressed, it produces more pollen. Keeping it well fertilized and watered keeps pollen under control.

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