How long does oak tree pollen last

Surviving Oak Allergy Season: Symptoms, Relief, & Treatment

Many people across the country have had the pleasant experience of accidentally parking a car under an oak tree. All it takes is a couple hours and your car is now much more yellow and sticky.

Oak is a mainstay in my home state of Texas. We have streets, cities, and even beer named after oak trees. They’re part of what make this state so green and beautiful, but they also make it miserable for a great deal people during the spring allergy season. Oak allergies and tree allergies in general aren't limited to Texas, though. People all across the Unites States suffer from tree allergies. Our allergy clinics in Colorado, as well as our allergy clinics in Florida, all have patients who suffer from tree pollen allergies. Let's take a deeper look into oak pollen allergies and general tree allergies and how to manage them.

Symptoms of Oak Pollen Allergies

Oak tree allergy symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and red, watery, or itchy eyes. Some people may also experience an itchy throat or nose, fatigue, and potentially dark circles under the eyes.

How to get relief from tree pollen allergies

First, let’s get it clear that the strategy to just “tough it out” is a BAD way to handle your allergies. Your body isn’t simply going to get better, and with allergy seasons only getting worse, so will allergic reactions and symptoms.

We hear from a lot of tree allergy sufferers, both jokingly and seriously, about how they need to “just move out of Texas”. The unfortunate news is that tree allergies can be bad across most of the country. So, unless you're hoping on landing some sweet real estate in the North Pole or the Sahara, allergies are going to be a part of your life until you take the steps to conquer them.  

Fortunately for allergies like oak tree allergies, you know when it’s coming and when it’s bad by just looking at the shade of yellow on your car (unless you have a yellow car then just use our pollen count tool)!  Oak is an airborne pollen, which means that there are a few simple steps you can do to limit how much contact you have!

Here are 5 steps to manage your oak pollen allergy symptoms:

1) The first thing you can do is to take your allergy medication BEFORE the day starts. You can already see how miserable this day can make you feel so why not combat it before you start feeling the symptoms? Medicine like antihistamines are the quickest form of relief, but they still take a while before they start kicking in.

2) Make sure you’re changing your clothes and at least washing off your face after being outside for a significant amount time. As we all know, oak tree pollen is very sticky. It sticks to everything and this includes your skin and clothes. This is makes an excellent excuse to swap into your comfiest shirt when you get home from work, or when you need an extra reason to convince your kids to get out of stinky clothes.

3) Avoid outdoor exercise in the morning. Keep the early exercising inside if you’re worried about pollen affecting your performance. It’s best to save outside activities for the late afternoon and evening when pollen levels are lower.

4) Make sure to keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to tree pollen. We know how nice it is to open up your windows and the loot spring breeze into your home, but this is a no-no for allergy sufferers. One of the best ways to reduce allergies is by reducing the amount of time spent around the allergens that cause them.

If you find that these steps are not enough to get you past your oak allergies…

5) Visit a local allergy clinic and start immunotherapy through allergy drops or ExACT Immunoplasty℠. Immunotherapy will build up your resistance to allergies and now the yellow goo on your car will only be an annoyance and not a health hazard.

Oak tree allergy - a quick guide w/ photos. » Allerma™

In this article, we will learn to identify oak trees (scientific name: Quercus) as well as how and when their pollen spreads.

Oak (Genus: Quercus)Pollen allergy profile
Pollen seasonSpring, Summer
Pollination typeWind pollinated. Each tree releases a large amount of pollen into the air
Cross-reactivity with other pollenWithin the same family Fagaceae (Oak, Chestnut, Beech), but also possible with Betulaceae (Birch, Alder)
Pollen sourceMale flowers (catkins) develop during winter and release pollen during spring or summer (see pictures below.)
GenderMonoecious: Separate male and female flowers on the same tree.
FruitAcorns: Oaks are the only trees that produce acorns (see pictures below).
LeavesRounded lobs (white oaks) or Pointy lobs (red oaks), but other forms possible (see pictures below.)

How to identify an oak tree (Genus:


The oak trees have over 450 species worldwide and about 60 of them are in the US alone.[3][R1] Identifying the exact species of an oak tree can be tricky because it hybridizes easily [R1]. Oak trees are found all over the US except Hawaii and Alaska [R1] and this is why oak tree allergies are common.

The most distinct feature of an oak tree is an acorn, its fleshy fruit with a scaly cap on the top. However, a tree has to be twenty to fifty years old to produce acorns. Thus, we have to learn to identify its leaves, which, as shown in the picture below, come in many sizes and shapes.

Some of the oak species are deciduous and some are evergreen (e.g. Coast live). Some do change color during autumn (e.g. Scarlet and Pin) and some remain green.

The leaves of oaks shown in the picture are all collected from an area within a 5-mile radius of my lab. This is how diverse looking this genus of the tree is.

Some species form the group called “Red oaks” and they have several lobes with pointy tips. The examples of species that fall in the “red oaks” category are Scarlet, Pin, and the Northern oaks (#4, 5,10 in the picture below).

Some species form the group called “White oaks” and they have several round-tipped lobes. The examples of “White oaks” are English and Valley oaks (#1 and 2 in the picture below).

There are other species such as Coast live, cork, Holly that do not neatly fit into the red or white oak groupings because they do not have leaves with multiple lobes. Most, however, will have tiny spikes on the edges of the leaves (#3,6,8,9 in the picture below)

Leaves and fruit

Oak tree leaves and acorns.

Tree size and shapes

With over 450 species in existence, it is rather difficult to describe oak trees. Some oak trees live up to their reputation and are indeed mighty, and some not so much.

Here are pictures of three different oak trees just as an example.

Coast live tree (Quercus agrifolia).Shumard oak tree (Quercus Schumardii)Scarlet oak tree (Quercus coccinea) during fall.

Bark and trunk

For an allergy sufferer, it is not practical to rely on the bark or trunk to identify an oak tree. The barks and trunks are so different from one tree to the other that it is not an easy trait to master. We leave that to the experts. I have found acorns and leaves to be enough to identify an oak tree.

But for the curious minds, here are examples of the bark of three different species of oak trees. As you can see, each one of them is remarkably different from the other.

Coast live oak tree trunk (Quercus agrifolia)Cork oak trunk (Quercus suber)Northern oak tree trunk (Quercus rubra)

During which months oak trees release pollen?

Different species of oak trees release pollen from early spring to early summer.

In the San Francisco bay area, oak pollen is found in our air surveys from Mar-15th to June-30th.

Even though each tree release pollen only for six to eight weeks, the overall oak pollen season lasts nearly four months because of the sequential blooming of different species. In Northern California, the coast live species start the oak pollen season in March, and Holly and cork oaks end the pollen season in June. Most other red and white oak species bloom during April and May.

Each year, the pollen season shifts a little bit due to weather conditions. Therefore it is useful to learn about the oak trees and their pollen-producing habits to be able to accurately predict the pollen season each year.

However, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you have an easier way out! I do regular tree inspections and air sampling in the area to provide reliable pollen updates on our website

How does oak pollen spread?

Oak trees release pollen into the air and wind can carry the pollen many miles.

Since the tree is widely present in the mainland USA, its pollen is expected to be in the air surveys everywhere during spring and early summer.

When compared to other allergy plants, iIn most US cities, oak produces one of the largest pollen loads as well as the longest pollen season.

What does oak pollen look like?

The male catkins release pollen in the form of fine yellow powder. However, once the pollen disperses in the air, it becomes invisible to the naked eye.

Each oak pollen grain is around 30 micrometers (0.03 mm) in size and has three furrows. It has a warty exterior surface. Quercus pollen: Tricolpate (some scientific literature considers it tricolporate) with verrucate exine.

Live Coast Oak Pollen at ~400x magnification.

How do you know if oak tree is releasing pollen?

The tell-tale sign of an oak tree releasing pollen is the presence of male flowers (catkins) on its twigs. When the catkins first appear on the trees, they are like green beads hanging in groups (first picture) and are still too young to release pollen.

When the catkins turn yellow and have a brush-like appearance, they are mature and capable of releasing pollen (second picture).

Mature catkins eventually fall on the ground. If you suffer from oak tree allergies, be especially careful on days when the leaf blowers or street cleaners come and disturb these catkins on the ground.

Young male catkins of oak.Mature, pollen releasing, catkins of oak.

Final thoughts

Oak (Genus: Quercus) is an important allergen in the US, and in the world, because of its widespread presence.

Furthermore, it belongs to the order Fagales, which means if you have oak tree allergies, it is possible for you to have allergies or cross-reactivity to other genera of the same order such as Birch, Alder, Walnut, and Casuarina[R4].

I have also written about Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis), Sycamore (Platanus), Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Hackberry (Cletis), and Olive (Olea Europaea) trees that release pollen at the same time as some of the species of oak.




  1. Allergy Plants by Mary Jelks, M.D.
  2. Plant identification terminology by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris (Second Edition)
  3. Sampling and indentifying pollens and Molds by E. Grant Smith
  4. Hay Fever by Jonathan Brostoff, M.D and Linda Gamlin

All pictures, unless otherwise credited to another source, are taken by the author and are copyrighted material. The pollen picture is taken in our aerobiology lab using an Olympus compound microscope.

Allergy in May and June: flowering of bird cherry, oak, birch

These days are hard times for people with hay fever. Some trees are blooming, others are blooming. And not just trees. What does the flowering calendar for allergy sufferers look like in late spring - early summer? What can an allergy develop in May?

Doctor's consultation

You can get the consultation of the necessary specialist online in the Doctis application


You can undergo a comprehensive examination of all major body systems

  • Birch and Ash
  • Poplar down
  • Oak pollen
  • Bird cherry and lilac

Of course, the condition of an allergic person in May depends on the climate zone. Let's talk about the middle lane, because “pollen” abundance is now observed here. In order to hide in time from the ubiquitous pollen, you need to know what and in what sequence blooms in April, May, June.

Allergy bloom calendar

I am severely allergic to birch and ash. I feel very bad: tears stream, nose stuffy, choking cough... Do birch and ash blossom at the same time? How long will it last their dusting?

According to the ability to dust, trees are divided into early and late. The early ones include alder, hazel and birch. Alder and hazel begin to dust in late March - early April. Birch blooms at the end of April and actively dusty until mid-May (and allergies in May are most often caused by increased sensitivity to pollen birches: this is the most malicious spring allergen). Then the amount of birch pollen gradually decreases.

However, in the second half of May, late-flowering trees join - oak and ash. They will bloom until about the first decade of June. Approximately - because the flowering calendar may change: it depends on the weather. So, in dry, warm weather, trees dust more actively than in cold and rainy weather.

In addition, cereal herbs can cause allergies in May: ryegrass, bluegrass, timothy. They begin to bloom in the second half of the month. Back in May, Compositae bloom - coltsfoot, dandelions. They also have allergies. True, as a monoallergy, it almost never occurs. - usually combined with hay fever on the pollen of trees or cereals.

I suffer from allergies not only in spring, but also in summer, when poplar fluff flies. This is the "resonance" allergies to trees, or is the allergy in June associated with poplar?

Allergy in June may be an "echo" of an allergy to trees - birch, oak, ash. However, if you feel worse when poplar is dusty, increased sensitivity is not ruled out ... to pollen cereal grass. Yes, yes, poplar allergy is not a “wooden” hay fever, as they think many. This is pollinosis for grass! The fact is that poplar seeds are similar to cereal grasses. Therefore, you need to check the sensitivity to weeds. It is possible that it is cereals - culprit of allergies in June.

Is it true that oak pollen is similar to birch pollen, so "birch" Allergy sufferers can also feel bad when oak blossoms?

Yes, there is a partial crossover. Approximately 60% of patients allergic to birch also react to oak (as well as on alder and hazel). Therefore, tearing, sneezing attacks, dry cough and others hay fever symptoms can persist until almost mid-June. The birch has already blossomed. And oak - not yet.

Cherry blossoms for… allergies

Are flowering bird cherry and lilac dangerous for people allergic to tree pollen? I want to bring home a bouquet, but I'm afraid. Suddenly I develop an allergy to bird cherry or lilac.


Allergy to bird cherry and lilac are extremely rare types of allergies. True hay fever, as a rule, on them does not happen, because the pollen of bird cherry and lilac is not similar to trees in its properties.

Another thing is the smell. An allergic person may well react to it. The smell is non-specific irritants. And even if there are usually no serious consequences from bird cherry and lilac - swelling Quincke, asthma attack, but there may be vascular spasm, headache. Like any other strongly smelling irritant - perfume, household chemicals, essential oils. Therefore, people with pollen allergies It is better not to bring flowering bouquets of trees home.

After all, in the midst of pollinosis, patients can react even to what did not react before. Let's say, without exacerbation, a person can safely eat apples. And during exacerbation, you can’t even put an apple on your lip - it will swell clearly. With bird cherry and lilac - the same thing. At other times of the year, perhaps an allergic person would normally tolerate their smell. And now the situation may worsen.

If you have any questions, you can ask your allergist at Doctis app.

The author of the article: Tatyana Vyacheslavovna Semenycheva

Doctor's consultation

You can get the consultation of the necessary specialist online


You can undergo a comprehensive examination of all major body systems

How much pollen is in the air and what kind of pollen causes allergies / Sudo Null IT News Allergy in general and pollen allergy in particular is a broad topic, and there will be several posts about it on the Tion blog.

To begin with, we propose to throw two "zero" views on pollen: quantitative and qualitative. A quantitative look: how much pollen is in the air we breathe and which pollen monitoring services you should pay attention to. Qualitative view: what features should allergenic pollen have and how it looks under an electron microscope.

How much pollen is in the air

It is impossible to determine the permissible norms for the concentration of pollen. The reaction to allergens is different for everyone, so the MPC will be different for everyone. You can find your threshold of sensitivity if, during the allergy season, you correlate your well-being and the amount of pollen in the air.

The concentration of pollen in the air is estimated using pollen monitoring. In Russia, it is worth highlighting two services: Kestin and Pollen Club.

Pollen monitoring Kestin was developed jointly with the Russian Association of Allergists and Clinical Immunologists (RAAKI), Moscow State University and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. The service publishes daily monitoring results in the form of a pie chart and gives a general commentary for the day from allergists.

There you can also see the archived data of past seasons. The service operates in several large cities of Russia. In 2016, Kestin has not yet published the results of pollen monitoring. We think that from day to day we can wait for the first data.

Pollen monitoring Pollen Club is a mobile application for allergy sufferers, the first such project in Russia. So far, the service works only in Moscow, but other cities are on the way. The service also provides daily pollen monitoring reports and practical expert advice. A feature of the Pollen Club service is an indicator of the well-being of allergy sufferers who use the application.

Unlike Kestin, monitoring Pollen Club has already opened a new season. And according to the first data, despite the cold March, the first pollen has already flown in Moscow. On March 16, alder and hazel began to "dust". The concentration of alder pollen in the air of the capital on March 16-17 was up to 250 units/m3, and hazel - up to 15 units/m3. And already on March 17, 50% of the users of the application noted a deterioration in their well-being.

To give you an idea of ​​what the app looks like, here is a nice picture with screenshots from the Pollen Club website.

Which pollen causes an allergic response

In order for an allergic person to have an exacerbation, three conditions must be met.

Condition #1. A lot of pollen

An allergy occurs when its amount of pollen exceeds a person's individual sensitivity threshold. Therefore, the main danger is the pollen of widespread plants that people encounter every day. In Russia, such plants are birch, alder, pine, wormwood, and other weeds and field grasses.

Different plants bloom at different times, and during the allergic season one pollen replaces another. Some people are allergic to only one plant. In this case, the exacerbation lasts 1-1.5 months. Others have a so-called polyvalent allergy, "allergic to everything." In such allergy sufferers, exacerbation can last the entire warm period, from spring to autumn.

Here is the flowering calendar of some plants common in Russia.

Condition #2. Pollen is easily transported over long distances

Not only the timing of flowering differs, but also the morphology of pollen. The variety of pollen grains with the help of an electron microscope was excellently shown by the Swiss photographer Martin Ogerli. His macro shots show that the pollen varies in size, shape, furrows and pores on the surface. And all these parameters directly affect the behavior of pollen in the air.

Most allergenic pollen belongs to wind pollinated plants. Their pollen grains are light, dry and smooth. They are easily transported over long distances. Examples: birch, alder, willow, hazel, oak, spruce, pine, wormwood, nettle, timothy, oatmeal.

alder, grain size 25-50 microns


Birch, size of grains: 30-50 microns

Pine, sizes: 45-65 microns

9000 9000 9000

indoors, bus grains: 20-50 microns

Almost no pollen from insects in the air. It is sticky, travels short distances, settles quickly, and rarely causes allergies. The exception is some plants with high pollen production. For example, clover. Sometimes it “dusts” so much that a high concentration of its pollen accumulates in the air, even despite the type of pollination.

Clover, grain size: 10-12 microns

Condition #3. Pollen contains a lot of allergenic protein

At different stages of flowering, pollen contains different amounts of allergenic protein. For example, in birch pollen, the allergen is the Bet 1 protein. In the spring of 2015, experts noted an increased content of this protein in birch pollen. Because of this, many users of the Pollen Club application complained of feeling unwell at relatively low concentrations of birch pollen.


Hundreds of species of wind-pollinated allergenic plants grow in Russia. Their main distinguishing feature is small and inconspicuous flowers with high pollen productivity. Remember what earrings on birches look like. There are 5.5 million grains in one earring. And there are thousands of such earrings on the tree.

At home, you can hide from this amount of pollen only behind tightly closed windows and forced ventilation with good filters.

It is better to plan outdoor trips knowing your sensitivity threshold to the allergen. Keep personal statistics with the help of pollen monitoring - this will make your life much easier.

Later in the blog we will write about what happens to the allergenic protein in the body, how an allergic response develops and how to treat an allergy. At the same time, we will talk about the means of preventing allergies, including filtering room air from pollen grains (10-100 microns) and their fragments (0.1-10 microns).

And for starters, another macro shot, this time not by Martin Ogerly, but our own. This is how the fibers of a HEPA filter from the supply ventilation look like with a stuck pollen particle with a diameter of just over 2 microns.

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