Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On Seasonal Allergies

Not much keeps me from getting outside to work in the garden, but this year seasonal allergies have me cowering indoors trying to escape from tree pollen for the past few days.  It's a relatively short season, thank goodness, but I am more miserable this year than I have been in years past.  From the sound of it, a lot of other people here at work are suffering too.  We're sniffling, sneezing, and coughing in a symphony conducted by the waving tree limbs. 

As airborne delivery is not the most efficient delivery method for propagating your species, male trees must launch extra pollen into the air to increase the chances of pollinating a flower on a female tree.  The size and weight of the pollen is what allows it to remain airborne, rather than the heavier pollen that requires pollinators (insects, birds, bats) to move it from one plant to another.  These small light capsules of genetic information unfortunately find their way into our mucous membranes, triggering a immune system response in some people - the severity of which varies by person and day.

Landscape planners often choose male trees because they do not create messy seed pods and fruits, or stinky flowers; however, this predisposition towards planting male trees also increases the amount of pollen in the air.  The oak and maple trees in my neighbors' yards can quickly cover my silver car in pollen, turning it a funky shade of yellow.  Temperature also has an effect, stressed plants tend to go into reproduction mode, and produce more flowers and pollen.

In any case, I'll be over here cursing the trees instead of hugging them, for at least another week.