May 9, 2014 9:23 PM by John Patrick

Banned Tucson trees add to allergy misery

TUCSON - Spring allergy season drags on across Southern Arizona.

Two of the main allergy culprits in Tucson are Mulberry and Olive trees even though they have been banned from the city for 30 years. However, those non-native trees that were planted before the ban in 1984 continue to wreak havoc on our sinuses.

Whether young or old there is likely something in the air across Southern Arizona that will get you sneezing and wheezing. Socorro Sisneroz is one of the millions who suffer some allergies and she says this year is particularly bad.

"This has been one of the worst years with all of the dust and everything going on," explains Sisneroz.

Tucson is coming off of the warmest winter on record and that has led to what some are calling the worst allergy season they have ever been through. Debbie Mounce with Harlow Gardens agrees saying this hasn't been your typical spring bloom.

"Winter was so warm so things started blooming earlier and we've seemed to have an extended period of bloom this spring," explains Mounce.

Once considered a haven for asthma and allergy sufferers Tucson now ranks worse for spring allergies than cities like Minneapolis, Miami and San Diego according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

"We were quickly becoming the allergy capital of the nation," says Mounce.

That's why non-native plant species of Mulberry, Fruiting Olive and Bermuda Grass were banned in the first place.

Throughout the months of March, April and May these species are to blame for more pollen grains in Tucson than any other native plant.

With the Mulberry and Olive trees still dotted around the city from 1984 it may be awhile before Tucson pollen levels go down as some olive trees can live for hundreds of years.


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