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Pollen Is In The Air

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(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Ragweed will soon be making lots of people miserable. I noticed a patch of it in my neighborhood growing taller through July.

Common ragweed has feathery/ferny leaves as you can see in the photo here. There’s also a giant version with slightly different leaves, see them both at PSU.edu. Ragweed tends to grow in places where you may not be paying a lot of attention, like along the road, or at the far edge of a property.

The ragweed I see growing is in front of some goldenrod, which will bloom at the same time, and its bright yellow flowers attract attention and get blamed, but goldenrod doesn’t cause allergies – its pollen is way too heavy for the wind to carry. Ragweed on the other hand, has flowers you hardly notice, but its pollen easily blows up your nose.

If you mow ragweed reliably every single week you can sort of control it. But it’s much better to wear gloves (because it can be irritating) and dig it out; or whack ragweed down to the ground and cover the spot with cardboard and a layer of mulch, to try to stop it from resprouting, flowering, and setting off the sneezing.

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