Having a lush garden or backyard is wonderful but for allergy sufferers, it can be quite the opposite. But if you or someone in your household is an allergy sufferer, you don’t need to give up on your love for green! Gardening for allergy sufferers simply requires one to put some thought into planning the garden and including elements that will work.

Here are some garden elements that can cause allergy symptoms and some tips to help you grow a low-allergen garden.

Grass

Grasses are great for landscaping and ornamental varieties provide the much needed texture and color to gardens and backyards. However, grasses can trigger severe allergies and also worsen asthma and pollen allergy symptoms.

What You Can Do

  • Mow the lawn regularly and fertilize it frequently; this will prevent grass from flowering and thus eliminate pollen. Further, keep grass trimmed low so as to restrict the growth of pollen stems and to prevent pollen from becoming airborne.

  • Stay away from Bermuda, Perennial Rye, Timothy, and other pasture grasses as these produce a lot of pollen. Opt for grass varieties like St. Augustine instead.

  • Grow creeping thyme, vinca, or Corsican mint as ground cover instead of grass. They will not only look good but also reduce dust and pollen.

  • Consider installing fake grass- it’ll not only look natural, you won’t have to deal with watering, mowing, seeding, and fertilizing the lawn.

  • Pave the lawn with a hard material of your choice and grow potted plants to keep allergens at bay.

Weeds

Weeds are annoying and if you want to have a tidy looking garden or backyard, you’ll have to put in endless hours trying to get rid of all the weeds. Weeds are also responsible for triggering allergy symptoms so this is one element you have to keep away from your garden.

What You Can Do

  • Weed seeds germinate only in the presence of adequate sunlight. As such, depriving seeds of sunlight by covering the ground with mulch can prevent weed growth. Be sure to cover the ground with enough mulch- at least 2 inches deep to ensure that weeds don’t sprout through any gaps in the mulch. Don’t use too much mulch or you’ll deprive the soil of oxygen!

  • If you’re growing natural grass, keep it lush by seeding it regularly so that weeds don’t have space to grow. Also, grow other plants close together to choke emerging weeds.

  • Avoid disturbing the soil too much- this will only expose weed seeds to sunlight and cause them to germinate. Dig around plants and other areas only when absolutely necessary. Remember to cover dug up areas with plants or mulch to let sleeping weed seeds lie.

  • Deprive weeds of water to kill them and only water the plants you want to grow. Drip or soaker hoses placed beneath the mulch can be effective in irrigating plants while leaving weeds thirsty.

  • Replenish soil with organic matter as needed- weeds are less likely to sprout in soils that are well-fed.

Hedges

Ornamental grasses as hedges will worsen allergy symptoms. Even if you grow other plants as a hedge around your property, hedges are bound to accumulate dust, pollen, and other allergens.

What You Can Do

  • Prune hedges regularly to avoid allergen build-up. Doing so will also keep mold growth in check.

  • Avoid hedges altogether and fence your property instead. You can also use pollen-blocking screens on the fence to keep allergens from outside getting into your garden.

Landscaping Trees

Trees can add aesthetic value to your garden while also providing shade and lowering utility bills. However, certain trees can exacerbate allergy symptoms, so it will help if you know your trees well before you plant them.

What You Can Do

  • Male flowers produce pollen which is responsible for allergies so avoid growing monoecious trees as these have both male and female flowers growing on them.

  • Dioecious trees have male and female flowers growing on different trees. As such, growing female trees will limit your exposure to allergy-inducing pollen. Do keep in mind that female trees require more yard maintenance as they are fruit and seed bearers.

  • In case you already have a male tree that is well-established in your garden, you can graft it with wood from a female tree of the same species.

Fragrant Flowers

While you may want your garden to have beautiful flowers, many of them can worsen your allergy symptoms.

What You Can Do

  • Choose non-fragrant flowers instead of heavily perfumed varieties.

  • Grow plants with double flowers as these release less pollen compared to others.

  • Tubular flowers that have pollen deep inside will spread less pollen into the air.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read about these common backyard elements that can worsen allergies and know what you can do about them, you can start planning your garden and grow plants you love without any worries.

Happy gardening!