A season of rebirth and renewal, spring is the time when gardens come alive and our social calendars start to heat up. For many of us, it’s also when hayfever symptoms are triggered and mowing the lawn starts to become a weekly chore.
We’ve gathered a few garden care tips to help you get the most out of every mow, along with some lifestyle tips to help reduce allergens around the home.
Breathe easy this spring
Thanks to billions of tiny microspores known as pollen, the months from August to March causes extreme discomfort and frustration to tens of thousands of Australians. While hayfever can strike at any time, pollen counts are much higher in spring and summer, leading to runny noses, itchy eyes and fits of sneezing.
Medically known as allergic rhinitis (rhino meaning of the nose and itis meaning inflammatory), hayfever comes in two forms: seasonal and perennial.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually caused by sensitivity to different types of pollen that are carried by the wind in spring and summer and inhaled into the nose. Perennial allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, is typically caused by allergens like house dust mites, particles from family pets (known as animal dander), and particular moulds that are carried in the air.
Hayfever and other allergies are typically triggered by pollen, the powdery particles produced by trees, grasses, flowers and weeds required for reproduction. Pollen can be carried by wind, transported by shoes, and caught up in our hair and clothing. While pollen is a relatively benign entity, inhaling the tiny microspores can stimulate an allergic reaction, which is the body’s way of defending itself against what it believes is a foreign entity.
While you can find temporary relief from a number of over-the-counter medications at your local chemist, there are a number of ways to avoid contact with allergens, and thereby reducing hayfever symptoms. These include:
- Staying indoors when pollen counts are high, which is typically on hot and windy days
- Keeping windows and doors closed when lawns are being mowed; if mowing the lawn, wearing a mask
- Avoiding feather and down pillows, and high pile carpets
- Keeping pets away from bedrooms (especially pillows) and off all furniture
- Damp dusting and vacuuming your home regularly to minimise the presence of pollen and dust
- Airing bedclothes in direct sunlight and away from pollen-producing plants
- Avoiding areas of high pollen concentration like freshly cut lawn, long grass, and fragrant flowers and trees
- Removing allergens from the air with an air conditioner or filter
- Looking out for the Weatherzone Pollen Index forecast, which measures the potential for pollen to trigger allergic reactions in susceptible people
6 lawn care tips
From fledgling buds to full blown blooms, gardens big and small are starting to burst with colour, texture and aroma. Spring is also the time when lawns require more maintenance to ensure they can withstand warmer conditions and increased wear and tear.
Here are six spring lawn care tips that are designed to reduce maintenance time and effort:
- Tune up your mower to increase efficiency and prevent wear and tear
- Mow mid-to-late morning when the dew has evaporated as this helps you achieve a straighter cut
- To encourage a deeper root system and help prevent invasive weeds from spreading, don’t mow more than one-third of the total leaf surface at any given time
- Change directions when you mow to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your mower and causing grass to grow in the same direction (and potentially falling flat)
- Sharpen your lawnmower blade to achieve a cleaner, quicker cut quicker with a newly sharpened blade
- Check out Scotts lawncare for expert horticultural advice on maintaining your lawn