Mulberry, olive, Italian cypress, palo verde — the trees’ names are pleasant enough, but the pollens they produce could lead to a sniffling, sneezing spring for some Tucsonans.
“I feel like it’s going to be an early spring, with everything coming out early because of the weather — shifting up by a week or two,” said Mark Sneller, an allergen expert who is the owner of Aero-Allergen Research LLC. “I don’t expect too much ragweed because we didn’t have lots of winter rain, but trees will be a factor” for allergy sufferers.
Mulberry is “a big player right now,” Sneller said. “We’ll start seeing some olive pretty soon, and olive is more allergenic than mulberry.”
Other trees producing pollens and allergic reactions in some people include ash and cottonwood.
“We will also see Italian cypress and elm coming along,” Sneller said.
He said palo verde and mesquite trees produce allergens, but their effects tend to be less severe than those of olive and mulberry.
“Even though palo verde is not the most allergenic, if you live near lots of palo verde and have a sensitivity to it, you will be affected,” Sneller said. “You don’t want to track that stuff into your house. Take off your shoes or have a floor mat outside so you don’t track it inside.”
Sneller said the allergy season typically starts in February, peaks in the spring and begins to wind down when palo verde and mesquite trees stop blooming.
In the meantime — sniffle, sniffle — you might as well enjoy the beautiful blooms.