This is why we Think Things Through, guys
Sunday December 06th 2020, 12:18 am
Filed under: History

We’ve all heard about how Dutch Elm Disease wiped out elms across North America.

Turns out, that’s why pollen season is so bad now.

There were so many dead trees and so much replanting.

And I quote:

“1949 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture. The book advised: “When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.”

And that became How It Is Done. In species that have male and female trees, males were planted in urban landscapes everywhere and that became what was available in nurseries, since they grow new specimens from cuttings, not seeds, and it was just how it was till nobody knew or noticed anymore.

Until the guy in that article. Who is campaigning to get cities to pay attention to what they’ve got and diversify.

Another quote:

“Where human sperm each have a single tail, or flagellum, gingko sperm have around a thousand. “Once the pollen gets in your nose, it will germinate and start swimming up there to get to where it’s going,” Ogren says. “It’s pretty invasive.”

Mercifully, he only described the one tree as being that way.

And now climate change, I presume because it’s mismatching the temperature cycle from the sunlight cycle, is inducing all these poor lonely males to throw even more pollen in the air.

Whereas had they planted all female trees in the first place there would be no nuisance seeds and no pollen.

Who knew?

2 Comments so far
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How many things can humans mess up?

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 12.06.20 @ 6:57 am

Well, that’s a biggy in the law of unintended consequences. In 1949 allergies weren’t a big concept on everyone’s radar, and the mechanisms were not so well understood. For people with allergies doing landscaping, the counsel to plant female plants for your shrubbery has been given for a while, if you had someone savvy enough. (BTW, my doctor back when said that it takes about 2 years to acclimate, for good or ill, for new pollen environments, so if you moved say from western WA to AZ, a short advance visit wouldn’t necessarily guarantee long-term relief. Sometimes your system just develops new triggers, if it’s prone to allergies. A word of caution.)

Comment by Marian 12.06.20 @ 1:22 pm

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