Tree Pollen Allergy Which Trees Cause Symptoms?

Feb 9, 2011Updated 8 months ago

Oak, Ash, Maple, & Pecan Trees May Cause Allergy Symptoms
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, over 35 million people in the United States suffer from hay fever or allergic rhinitis. Many of these people may have a sensitivity to tree pollen.

Tree pollen often marks the start of the seasonal allergies that may begin in late winter or early spring. America’s southern states may begin producing tree pollen as early as January, while the northernmost states’ tree pollen counts tend to rise in May or June. Learn more about which trees tend to cause more allergies and which may be less likely to cause hay fever symptoms.

Which Trees Tend to Cause Allergy Symptoms?

People who suffer from tree pollen allergies may have a difficult time determining which trees are the culprits because the trees may or may not be in close vicinity. Many trees may flower and/or produce pollen at the same time. A flowering crape myrtle in the back yard that one thought was causing sneezing, a runny nose, ringing in the ears, and itchy eyes may not be the problem. However, another type of tree at the end of the block or even miles away may indeed be producing the allergy symptoms.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) article entitled “Pollen,” several types of trees tend to cause allergy symptoms, including:

  • catalpa, also known as catawba or fish bait tree
  • nut-bearing trees such as pecan and walnut
  • hickory, elm, and sycamore
  • olive
Male cultivars of some tress produce pollen, yet the female cultivars do not and therefore do not tend to bring on those annoying allergy symptoms. According to the above NIH article, examples of trees in which only the male cultivar may produce allergy symptoms include:

  • red and silver maple and box elder
  • Phoenix palm and date palm
  • ash
  • cottonwood
  • poplar
  • willow
Additional trees that may trigger allergy symptoms or cross-sensitivity in people who suffer from hay fever include:

  • alder
  • beech
  • cedar
  • juniper
  • oak
People who are interested in determining when tree pollen counts are higher in a particular area may wish to view levels or sign up for email alerts at the National Allergy Bureau.

Which Trees Do Not Tend to Cause Allergies?

Only approximately 100 different types of trees have been shown to cause allergy symptoms out of the more than 50,000 types of known trees. One might assume that a tree with beautiful, bright, scented flowers would be more likely to cause allergy symptoms, but often these trees are pollinated by bees and insects and may be less likely to cause allergic reactions. The wind often carries the pollen of trees with tiny flowers and little scent, and these are more likely to produce hay fever symptoms.

The time of day and weather can play a critical role in tree pollen counts, which is the amount of tree pollen in the air in a particular area that is usually measured or predicted daily. Pollen is often released during early morning hours just after dawn. Days that are warm and dry with a breeze may produce higher tree pollen counts when compared to days that are cooler or rainy.

The above NIH article suggests these trees as ones that are not known to cause hay fever symptoms:

  • flowering trees such as crape myrtle and dogwood
  • fruit-producing trees such as fig, pear, plum
  • palm, redbud, and redwood
Even areas that do not tend to have many wind-pollinated trees are likely to become more allergy-prone as people move to those areas and bring their trees, flowers, and shrubs with them. People who have an allergy to one type of tree can also develop additional allergies to other types of trees and grasses, molds, dust, and more.

Trees That Cause Tree Pollen Allergy Symptoms

Although only a small percentage of trees tend to cause allergy symptoms, those who suffer from hay fever due to tree pollen may find it difficult to determine just which trees are causing the symptoms because tree pollen can travel for miles on a warm and windy day. Knowing which trees tend to cause allergy symptoms and which ones do not may be helpful to someone who wishes to discover the source of those telltale allergy symptoms.

Readers may also wish to read:

  • Allergic to Tree Pollen? Tips for Preventing Allergy Symptoms
  • How to Prevent a Sinus Infection: Practical Tips to Avoid Sinusitis
  • Cleaning Tips to Remove Mold in the Home
  • How to Control Dust Mites at Home: Decrease Dust Allergy Symptoms
  • Asthma Symptoms and Triggers in Seniors
  • Latex Allergy? Foods May Cause Allergic Reaction
  • Tips for Camping with Asthma Allergies Celiac & Sensitivities, Allergies, Celiac, & Sensitivities
  • Normal and Abnormal Breathing in Seniors
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.