Seasonal Allergies: Are your symptoms caused by tree pollen?

It’s official: allergy season is here. You’ve probably stocked up…

It’s official: allergy season is here.

You’ve probably stocked up on your medications, started your spring cleaning, and put a seasonal allergy plan into place. (And if not, make an appointment with us today. We can help you navigate allergy season.) Many people make it a point to avoid flowers during allergy season, but did you know some of the biggest pollen producers in New York City aren’t flowers? It’s true. In fact, a large percentage of wind-blown pollen actually comes from street trees and grasses in the city.

While street trees add a bit of beauty to the city, some of the more popular species of trees used to “spruce” up NYC streets are also some of the top producers of pollen. Many people assume that flowering trees, such as cherry or apple, produce more pollen and trigger worse allergy symptoms. In fact, the pollen from these types of trees is often stickier and larger than other pollens and is less likely to hay fever. You are more likely to experience symptoms from fine-grained pollen that travels on the wind. This powdery pollen can be so small that it’s almost invisible and, for an allergy sufferer, inhaling even a tiny amount of pollen can trigger allergy symptoms.

There are about 5.2 million trees on public and private property in the city, so it’s likely you’ll come into contact with tree pollen while you’re out and about. Fortunately, the City of New York Parks & Recreation created a handy guide to help New Yorks identify common street trees. Click here to view Page 1 and Page 2 of the NYC street tree census.

(You can also use the LeafSnap iPhone app developed by Columbia University, University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution to identify plants and leaves.)

If you’ve got an abundance of street trees around your home or office, you might want to check the day’s pollen forecast before heading out for the day. Click here to see the pollen forecast for New York City, as reported by The Weather Channel. The forecast is broken out into tree pollen, grass pollen, and weed pollen.

Also, if you’re curious about why your allergies might seem worse this season, check out our previous blog that details El Niño’s effect on allergies.

If you have questions about resources available to people with allergies, give us a call. Or, if you are looking for an allergist, we’d love to meet you. We can be reached at 212-729-1283 or send us an email at

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