Pollen season starts early

By Khambrel Marshall - Meteorologist, 'Newsmakers' Host

HOUSTON - Trees are blooming and producing pollen as spring prematurely takes effect.

"Everything is happening earlier than normal this year," said Peter Riger, the vice president of environment at the Houston Zoo. "Everything was blooming back in January and February and other than a cold front or two ... Spring is here."

The result will be high pollen counts, especially from trees.

"When you see the beautiful blooms, those are fine because they are the ones that are pollinated by the birds and the bees," said Pat Marks with the Houston Arboretum. "Those aren't the ones that cause problems. The problems are with the non-flowering pollen that is wind blown and it gets all up in your nose and in your eyes."

The news isn't encouraging for people who suffer from sensitive allergies. The pollen that will coat nearly everything with a greenish dusty-like sheen in a few weeks will also induce a lot of sneezing.

"You shouldn't be happy about your sneezing, but you should be happy that the hummingbirds and the bees and the regular birds are happy as well," said Riger. "Pollinators help us produce up to 30 percent of our fruits and vegetables by pollinating plants, so they're really important not only to the economy but for our food security."

The reason for the early Spring can be traced to a lack of cold weather this winter and to problems caused by the Texas drought. The trees and shrubs sense it's time to pollinate and because of the dry climate, will release more pollen in order to give their species a better chance to survive in the harsh conditions.

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