Our porch is probably our favorite room in the house during the warmer months. It’s where mister gardener drinks his morning coffee and reads the newspaper. It’s where we love to sit and watch the dozens and dozens of hummingbirds that battle at nectar feeders. It’s a nice place to end the day without experiencing biting insects. BUT right now it is practically unusable.

A yellow haze is clogging the air. The loblolly pines (Pinus taeda L.) are reproducing. Although the loblolly’s pollen does not cause allergic reactions, it does cause a different reaction in most people. Lines at the car wash are longer these days. Our black dogs are both ‘Old Yellas.’  The fish pond is yellow. Leaves are yellow. And the porch is yellow. Windy days like today are dreaded. A little rain is always welcome to wash the pollen to the ground.

The pollen is sticky. We make a valid attempt to wash and vacuum the porch regularly or the coated surfaces form a difficult to remove thick mat that eventually turns a darker not so pretty shade of yellow.

Forest biologist Claire Williams, who studies airborne pollen at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC, says that during peak pollen season in late March and early April, loblolly pines shed millions of pounds of pollen into the air. Although most of that pollen lands nearby, perhaps in our porch, Williams and her colleagues discovered viable pine pollen as far as 2,000 feet in the air and 25 miles offshore. I think the pines are here to stay.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

5 thoughts on “Ahhhhh-choo!

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