If it looks like there is a lot more cotton seed and yellow pollen floating around these days, there is a reason for that.
Carla Hyrcyna, co-owner of St. Mary’s Nursery & Garden Centre Ltd, explains why the trees are sending out an abundant amount of seeds this spring.
“I suspect that we are seeing a higher density of this because of the stress of the last two years that trees have been under, you know, from the drought and then the influence of such a wet season,” she says.
Hyrcyna explains that the trees are in survival mode, releasing seeds and pollen to re-populate.
“We normally see that if a tree is under stress, the first thing it wants to do is try and go into survival mode, and that in that way it wants to produce as many seeds as it can for the longevity and the continuation of a Cottonwood tree,” she says. “So, you see heavy production in flower or in some cases, sometimes fruit.”
Along with the abundance of cotton seeds being sent out by trees in the region, there is a yellow dust-like substance that covers anything and everything outside.
Hyrcyna explains that yellow dust is pollen from evergreens and cedars, which gets sent out every spring.
"It may be a little bit later than we normally see it because the season has not really been in the heavy portion of it,” she notes. “We're delayed because of the weather that we've been having.”
Regarding the amount of yellow pollen, Hyrcyna says the reason for that is the same as with the cotton seeds; trees have experienced a lot of weather-related stress and are trying hard to make sure their species continues.
This part of the reproductive process usually lasts around two or three weeks. For allergy sufferers, that can feel like a really long time.