Question of the Week
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Well, a few weeks ago it was a very heavy pollen season for many deciduous trees. The ones that we notice the most are the live oaks. They release a lot of yellow pollen at this time of year and then the catkins, the male flowers, fall from the trees.
Pollen is very heavy this year due to some weather issues that we've had. We had a lot of rain in the fall and winter, which made for very healthy trees after this stressful summer.
Live oaks lose their leaves in the spring. Then they develop flowers before new leaves come on. The flowers are wind-pollinated. With all the wind we've had, and some dry, warm days, that pollen has had a great chance to get around to pollinate other flowers and reproduce themselves to make acorns.
Live oaks have both male and female flowers on the same tree, but the male flowers, filled with pollen, are the ones that give us trouble. The male flowers are called catkins. They hang from the branches in cascades that kind of fall down and dry out. Warm, dry windy spring days help disburse that pollen and all the catkins fall.
First you'll notice a yellow pollen on the sidewalk or your car, before the catkins fall off.