In late May to early June, we often start to see the cottonwood trees shed their seeds. White, fluffy, cotton-like material can be seen floating all over the place. Some people get itchy and sneeze right around this same time of the year. Naturally, they blame the cotton. Their symptoms must be due to cottonwood tree allergies, right? Wrong.
Cottonwood trees (also known as poplar trees) actually pollenate in April. Their large fluffy seeds that we see in late May and early June are NOT the allergen people react to. So, if it’s not the cottonwood, then what is it? It turns out that Hickory trees, Walnut trees, Sheep Sorrel weed, and mid-western grass all start to pollenate at the same time that the cotton-like seeds are released. In all likelihood, the allergy symptoms are caused by one or more of those 4 culprits. So, don’t blame the cotton!