City Pollen

Damn interesting article:

Street trees weren’t always as allergenic as they are today. Back in the 1950s, the most popular species planted in the United States was the native American elm, which sheds little pollen. Millions of these tall, stately trees lined the streets of towns and cities from coast to coast. Sadly, in the 1960s and ’70s, Dutch elm disease killed most of the elms, and many of them were replaced with species that are highly allergenic.

Some trees shed huge amounts of highly allergenic pollen; others produce very little, or their pollen is only moderately irritating. Female plants produce no pollen at all. But arborists rarely take this into account. In New York City, street trees are selected only for their hardiness in winter; their resistance to disease, insects and drought; their ability to withstand smog; and their size, shape and color.

Entire article available here, in the New York Times — brought to my attention by

I never even thought about all this. I thought spring and fall = pollen and them’s the breaks. Of course, in North Carolina, it’s mostly pine pollen and them’s really is the breaks, and in California I haven’t detected pollen at all (though the last week or so most everyone I know has had the sneezies, so *something* must be in the air.)

The point is that it is kinda shocking that allergies rank so low on the list of motivators for picking city trees. But then again maybe most people, like me, never even knew there were options.


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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1 Response

  1. B says:

    Uuuuuuuggggghhhhhaaaaaahhh. The pollen here in NC is being said to be the worst on record since they started keeping records. Aaaannnnd, you know me, I don’t have asthma, but I feel like maybe I might now. Someone asked me if I was trying to paint my car bright yellow after a trip to Va. Good news is I start allergy shots next Thur. Bad news is no meds for 7 days prior – OMG I do not know how I will survive it. And I am not being overly dramatic at all – I promise!

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