Well, spring seems to be winning the battle with winter, but if things continue as they are, it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory at best. Welcome to the last Saturday Post in the A to Z Challenge.It’s almost the end of April and the temperature is still below zero, the furnace is still on, and I’ve got the winter blahs.
The winter has been hard on me and my plants. My maple trees have white spots on them that may be a fungus, but then again may just be the result of the harsh winter. In December, thanks to gale force winds, I lost a holly tree in front of the house,and now, I’m not sure what to do to fill the space.
Spring will come, and I’ll have to make that decision, but when it does, how many other plants will I have lost because of heavy frost after the shoots pushed their way to the surface? Last year, many of my perennials didn’t make it, forcing me to fill the gap with annuals, which died quickly during the short, and unseasonably cold, rainy summer. In fact the only plants that grew well last year, were the weeds. By the time we got back form our vacation, they’d crowded out not only the flowers in the flower beds, they’d taken over the lawn. If you have season allergies, you know how miserable I was with all that nasty pollen floating around. I need to figure out how to get rid of the weeds, before they get rid of me.
There are people who believe we should just letter Mother Nature do her thing–that we should naturalize our yards. Obviously those people don’t have allergies. I plant flowers that don’t bother me. Here is a charming excerpt on allergies from http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/seasonal-allergies#1
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis range from mild to severe. In addition, many people with hay fever suffer from asthma as well. The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- runny or stuffy nose
- watery eyes
- itchy sinuses, throat, eyes, or ear canals
- ear congestion
- postnasal drainage
Less common symptoms may include: headache, shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing.
Trees are responsible for most springtime seasonal allergies. Birch is the main offender in the northern latitudes, with between 15 and 20 percent of hay fever sufferers affected by its pollen. Other allergy producing trees in North America include cedar, alder, horse chestnut, willow, and poplar. Don’t forget dandelions, my personal nemesis. My grandchildren love to blow those seedpods around.
Hay fever gets its name not from an allergy to hay, but from the fact that many people are afflicted at about the same time as the historical hay-cutting season during the summer months. The real culprits of summertime seasonal allergies are grasses such as ryegrass and Timothy-grass, along with certain weeds. Some 90 percent of hay fever sufferers react to grass pollens, making them the most notorious allergens on the planet.
Autumn is ragweed season. Also known as Ambrosia, there are more than 40 species of ragweed worldwide, most occurring in temperate regions in North and South America. The invasive weeds themselves are difficult to control and symptoms of ragweed allergy can be especially severe. Other plants that drop their pollen in the fall include nettles, mugworts, sorrels, fat hens, and plantains.
By winter, most outdoor allergens lie dormant. While the cold weather may bring much-needed relief to many millions of people with hay fever, it also means more folks are spending time indoors. For those prone to seasonal allergies, outdoor allergens are simply replaced by indoor ones such as mold, pet dander, and dust mites. And let’s not forget snow mold, is a fungal disease that appears in the early spring as the snow melts, and is responsible for killing so much of the grass we had left.
How do you vanquish weeds and other unwanted plants? Well you used to be able to use weed killer, but in their wisdom, the government has banned those that actually work. Now they offer an iron-based weed control, that doesn’t work and costs a fortune. I’m beginning to think the solution is simple. I think I’ll pave the lawn. Ah wait. That won’t work. Winter will make it heave like the drive way, and those pesky weeds will come through the cracks.
I give up! It looks like the weeds will vanquish me after all.
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