Spring allergies are the bane of many a person’s existences in Missouri. High pollen counts coat our cars yellow and get us sneezing up a storm. Keeping an eye on pollen counts can help us with allergies, as well as knowing what trees are the biggest offenders.
While avoiding pollen in the spring altogether is impossible, there are some low-pollen trees you can plant in your Missouri garden.
Understand What Pollen Is & What Trees Produce It
Before choosing low-pollen trees for your garden, you must understand what pollen is. Some tree species are unisexual, meaning they have both male and female plants. Pollen is the male fertilizing agent of flowering plants, including trees. Tree pollen is light and dry, making it easy to spread via the wind.
Female plants do not produce pollen. If you want to reduce pollen in your garden, choose a female tree in a tree group like ashes, poplars, and willows. Ask your local nursery if they carry female varieties of your preferred tree.
Just remember that female trees will carry fruits and seeds.
‘Miss Scarlet’ Black Gum
The ‘Miss Scarlet’ Blackgum is an attractive tree with gorgeous red color in the fall and glossy, dark green foliage in the summer. This tree also produces a small blue berry that birds highly favor. A mature ‘Miss Scarlet’ Blackgum can reach up to 60 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Perfect for shade!
Ashes with female cultivars are good low-pollen trees but should be planted with caution. Ashes are susceptible to emerald ash borer in the St. Louis area and require extra care to help ensure that they do not become infected. If you wish to add an ash tree to your garden, contact an ISA-certified arborist at Hansen’s Tree Service to discuss your pros and cons.
While female poplar trees will not produce pollen, some species may produce cottonseed that homeowners may not find attractive. Some poplars are susceptible to diseases like rust and Cytospora canker, making sure that proper tree care and management are sustained.