Tree Pollen – Portland’s own free-range tormentor

The winter has been fairly pleasant, with plenty of sunshine and bursts of warm weather. Spring awaits, just around the corner. To many of us, this is welcome news; a chance to get an early start on the numerous outdoor activities Portlandians love so dearly. Unfortunately, not everyone is so excited at the prospect of spring. What many see as new life, those who suffer from allergies see as impending doom. Tree pollen can force some people indoors just as surely as frigid, wet weather, an unhappy circumstance when the scene outside is so lovely.

What is Tree Pollen?

tree pollen Portland

Tree pollen from a pine tree.

Pollen is a very fine powder that trees and other plants release into the air. It can carry for miles, spread by way of wind and animals. For people with sensitive allergies, inhaling only a small amount is enough to trigger a powerful reaction.

You might assume that trees with large, colorful flowers are the biggest tree pollen pollutants, but that is a false assumption. In fact, flowering trees have stickier pollen that doesn’t carry on the wind but is instead only spread by birds and insects.

Another important thing to note is the pollen count, the amount of pollen in the air on a given day. This number will change with the weather. Hot, dry weather raises the pollen count, as I’m sure most people with allergies already know, while cold, damp weather will lower the pollen count. This is good to keep in mind when planning an outdoor adventure where tree pollen could sabotage your fun.

Keep in Mind

  • Warm, windy days. The warm, dry air will lead to a high pollen count and the wind will carry it for miles.
  • Prepare yourself. If you venture into the gorgeous green outdoors around Portland, or even into your own yard to work, avoid touching trees and plants if possible. If working outside, wear a mask and gloves.
  • Tree identification. Learn what trees will lead to strong symptoms. Need help? Keep reading…

Learn your Trees

Take a look at the following lists to identify what trees  may be causing your allergy problems.

Strong Allergens:

  • Ash
  • Juniper
  • Mulberry
  • Oak
  • Poison Oak (the gift that keeps on giving)
  • Willow

Moderate Allergens:

  • Alder
  • Arborvitae
  • Aspen
  • Birch
  • Cedar
  • Hazelnut
  • Maple
  • Pine
  • Poplar

What is in Your Yard?

Look around your yard to see which trees are near you. Tree pollen originating in your yard can expose you to significantly more pollen than a tree down the street. If you have a tree on one of the above lists, consider pruning it to reduce the amount of tree pollen it spreads into the world, or perhaps replace it altogether. There are many beautiful trees to choose from that will be much safer to the allergy-prone, and we’d like to help you select a tree that’s perfect for your yard. Give us a call.