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What are the Worst Regions in the US for Tree Pollen?

Do you suffer from allergies? What’s your least favorite time of the year? Chances are, it’s the springtime when the trees start releasing pollen into the air.

Tree pollen is a contaminant and an irritant, especially for people with allergies or asthma. Even short-term exposure to tree pollen can cause a severe reaction in sensitive individuals.

There are hundreds of pollen-bearing tree species across the United States. They all release different quantities of pollen and at other times of the year. If you have allergies, your location in the US will play a significant role in determining your quality of life, thanks to the tree pollen in the air.

Some trees release pollen year-round, while others have high pollen concentrations falling from them in the fall and winter months. Understanding the types of pollen-producing trees across America helps you prepare for the next allergy season.

What is Pollen?

Trees, and other seed-bearing plants, create and release pollen into the environment as part of the reproductive cycle. Since trees and plants are rooted to the ground, they rely on pollen to spread their genetics into the air and towards other seed-bearing trees in the same species.

Pollen created by trees can carry on the wind for miles, covering vast distances, especially in open areas. If you get exposed to pollen on the wind, it could come from a tree some distance away.

People with pollen allergies experience an immune response to the organic material. The immune system recognizes pollen as invading particles, producing antibodies to fight what it mistakes for an infection.

As a result, the affected individual experiences allergy symptoms like watering, red eyes, itching, skin irritation, respiratory problems like shortness of breath, sneezing and coughing. People with asthma may experience the fast onset of an asthma attack with exposure to high pollen levels in the air.

The Most Widespread Tree Pollen Types in the US

If you live in the United States, you will encounter tree pollen regardless of the state. However, it’s important to note that many people with tree pollen allergies only have allergies that respond to specific species of trees.

Therefore, by understanding where trees reside across the US, you can pick a location where you can avoid the allergens the tree produces. With fewer allergens in the air, you have reduced allergy responses and asthma attacks throughout the year, enhancing your quality of life.

To start, let’s unpack the most common tree species across the United States.

Oak Trees

Oak trees actively release pollen during the early morning hours of the day. If you have oak allergies, it’s a better idea to reserve activities for the afternoon if you live around these trees.

Oaks are common in residential areas and in forests throughout the US. They produce significant amounts of pollen, so be careful to limit exposure around them.

Pine Trees

Pines are an evergreen variety producing heavy levels of pollen. Many people think that pine trees are responsible for the “Christmas tree allergy.”

However, it’s not the case. Medical experts believe individuals are allergic to the airborne weed pollen settled on the tree during the fall rather than the tree itself.

Mulberry Trees

The mulberry tree is another big pollen producer. They are a drought-resistant species and widespread across the southern and western United States.

The males are the biggest trouble makers, and many cities ban them because of the sheer amount of pollen they produce in season.

Juniper Trees

The family of trees includes around 70 evergreen varieties. The infamous “mountain cedar” is juniper, and it’s well known for releasing large amounts of pollen in the fall and winter.

Allergies to this tree are so severe that the locals call an allergy attack “cedar fever.”

Palm Trees

The palm tree is a relative of grass. Therefore, if you have allergies to grass pollen, you’re probably going to have allergies to palm trees.

The number of pollen palms produces during the year varies depending on the species. Date palms are the heist producers of allergens, while Royal Palms hardly produce any at all.

Regions for Pollen Producing Trees

Next, let’s look at the regions across the United States where these trees are present. Climates vary between areas of the US, making different species of trees active during different seasons. Here is a list of the top allergy trouble makers and the regions where they are native across the country.

Western Region

This United States region includes Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, California, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona.

The juniper is the primary pollen-producing tree in this area, with the cedar being the biggest threat to allergy sufferers. The Common and Rocky Mountain Junipers have the widest distribution, with both releasing pollen in the spring.

Some of the other tree species releasing pollen in the western US are the following.

  • Spring: Willow, maple, ash, and oak.
  • Summertime: Privet, willow, and olive.
  • Fall: Privet and Sagebrush, in western-Pacific states with milder climates.
  • Wintertime: Ash, mulberry, and maple.

Southern Region

In the western south-central states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, the Mountain Cedar, also known as “Ashe’s Juniper,” is the biggest pollen releasing tree species. The Mountain Cedar pollinates from November through to January during the winter months.

Some of the other pollen-producing allergens come from the following trees in the southern US.

  • Spring: Willow, oak, hickory, walnut, mulberry, juniper, and maple.
  • Summertime: Walnut, willow, and mulberry.
  • Fall: Groundsel tree (LA and AR and) and the privet (Los Angeles only).
  • Wintertime: Mulberry, maple, and ash.

In South Atlantic states like Florida, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, the biggest pollen producers are the following tree species.

  • Spring: Willow, Juniper, oak, hickory, maple, and mulberry.
  • Summertime: Walnut, willow, and mulberry.
  • Fall: Groundsel tree
  • Wintertime: Ash, mulberry, and willow.

In Florida’s climate, some palm species release pollen year-round.

Northeastern Region

The Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have to deal with pollen produced by large oak tree groves throughout the region.

These trees are common in many neighborhoods across these states. Mulberry trees are another problematic variety that releases heavy amounts of pollen through the early springtime.

The following pollen-producing trees are a threat to allergy-sensitive individuals across the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

  • Spring: Willow, Juniper, hickory, walnut, oak, and mulberry
  • Summertime: Walnut, willow, and ash.
  • Fall: Privet and the Groundsel tree.
  • Wintertime: Ash, mulberry, and willow.

Midwestern Region

The Midwest region of the US includes the states of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

This region is most at risk from pollen occurring from the Juniper species during the spring and from the mulberry tree in the summer. Some of the other top pollen producers include the following.

  • Spring: Willow, hickory, ash, oak, walnut, mulberry, and juniper.
  • Summertime: Walnut, privet, mulberry, willow, and ash.
  • Fall: N/A
  • Wintertime: Ash, willow, and mulberry

Other pollen releasers in the area that are less problematic include the following tree species.

  • Birch: Spring through to the summer.
  • Cottonwood: Winter through to the springtime.
  • Eucalyptus: Springtime.
  • Elm: Spring through to winter (depending on species and location).
  • Alder: Winter through to the springtime.

Tips to Stop Tree Pollen from Affecting Your Quality of Life

To start, avoid contact with trees that release heavy amounts of pollen into the air. Avoid moving into neighborhoods or buying homes where these trees have large groves.

Avoid going outdoors on windy days during the pollen season, as the pollen is more active in the air, and you may breathe it in. Look at the Air Quality Index (AQI) before leaving home on windy days during the pollen season.

Wash all your clothes after being outdoors, and change into fresh clothing for your time at home. Pollen sticks to your clothes, and you might unknowingly wipe it onto your hands and then onto your face, causing an allergy attack. Make sure you wash your face and hands after returning home from being in outdoor locations.

Understand which trees are the biggest contributors to your allergies, and avoid contact or neighborhoods with those trees. Check the regions where those trees exist and consider moving to other states where the trees are not native.

Installing a fixed or portable air purification system in your home is a great way to combat pollen from entering the bedroom and other living areas around the house. By sealing your home from the outdoor environment and running an HVAC or air-con system, you can avoid unwanted pollen particles from floating into your home.

The biggest tip we have for homeowners sensitive to pollen is to get an air test. MI&T offers you a service where we’ll visit your home and test the air quality using the latest technology. We’ll issue you with a full report of the air quality in your home and tips for remediating the air.,

We also specialize in identifying mold, and we can help you locate mold spores and infestations in any room. Contact our service desk for more information on how we can help you in the process of improving the air quality in your residence.