By Master Gardener Volunteer Lesley Arrandale
mail@floridanewsline.com

I think we are probably over the worst of the pollen season involving common trees like oaks and pines, but my daughter recently found an article in Scientific American, “Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies” (https://tinyurl.com/y8trc4ep), which she knew I would appreciate. The title certainly piqued my interest! Apparently plant breeders have unwittingly added to our pollen burden by employing specialist cloning techniques in order to offer male trees to the public, so that we don’t have to bother with the messy fruits and seeds of female trees. One tree introduction that springs to mind is the sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua; apparently the cultivar L. styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ has been bred to produce only small sterile flowers, and since we all know how troublesome the round prickly seed balls can be, that seems like a good thing.

There are not only male pollen-producing clones of trees in the market, but also shrubs. The article made the point that an overabundance of male pollen-producing trees could be causing the increases in allergies and asthma, especially among children. It is also the case that toxins are absorbed by trees, but then they may be released back into the air in wind-borne pollen, which is alarming, since we breathe in those toxins with the pollen.

Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!

The article also described how female trees produce an electrical charge that literally attracts wind-blown pollen to their flowers, thereby reducing the amount of pollen that reaches our olfactory systems. It seems to me that we may need to strike a better balance for our well-being by planting a more natural mix of plant material, and simply enjoy their female flowers. This next article may help: https://tinyurl.com/yxt6tx6b. It describes some of the less allergenic woody plants we could use in our landscapes.

Already the weather is heating up. As of early May we have had a reasonable amount of rain, but according to the drought monitor, areas of central north Florida are “abnormally dry” (https://tinyurl.com/y6d3kkh2). Perhaps it’s time to check on your irrigation practices if you haven’t done so already, since we often miss out on those eastward-sweeping rain bands at this time of year.

The latest edition of A New Leaf is available here: https://tinyurl.com/y6hszolv, and is well worth reading, particularly if you have an interest in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer. Classes are open to all and you don’t need a vast background in horticulture to be considered, just a general interest in gardening and a willingness to learn. The main requirement is that you want to volunteer your time. For vegetable, herb, and fruit growers, Beth Marlowe, our new Urban Garden coordinator, describes the Urban Garden Program and how it benefits our citizens. Terry DelValle reminds us of best lawn mowing practices, and our Urban Forester, Larry Figart, fills us in on the history of our famous Treaty Oak. As always, there are upcoming classes for the general public, and timely tips on what to plant now.

I encourage all NewsLine readers to do their bit for our wonderful Florida. We each have an opportunity, however small our outdoor space, to cater for our wildlife by keeping our immediate environment as chemical-free as possible, and planting beautiful flowers for our valuable pollinating bees and butterflies, and for the other unsung beneficial insects that also do their part. Almost all our birds rely on insects to feed their young, even the delightful ruby-throated hummingbird, and in doing so they keep insect numbers in check. The more we keep our environment in balance, the more we benefit. This summer I hope that by simply keeping grass clippings, fallen leaves, and fertilizer well inside our own properties, either composting those leaves and clippings, or using them as mulch, or even bagging them for collection, the excess nutrients that fueled the algae in the St. Johns River in recent years will be reduced, and the river will stay healthy. We shall see!

  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Starling Nocatee, 360 degree virtual tour
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Tutoring club of st johns. Text tutoring to 484848 for a chance to win one month of free tutoring
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience, complete lawn maintenance
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • All About Ballroom
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Creeks Air Conditioning & Heating. We service all makes and models for residential and commerical!
  • Crosswinds Veterinary Hospital. Preventative Medicine and wellness, Surgery, Dentistry, Labs and Imaging, Farm Animal Medicine, In-Patient and Emergency Care
  • Florida Waterways Inc. Your trusted Waterway Advisers
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Julington Creek Family Dentistry. Implant Cosmetic and Restoration Dentistry. We are following Advanced Safety protocols set forth by CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines for dental practices
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Alicia Washington for Circuit Judge
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Re-elect Mike Orfinger for circuit judge
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021