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Is pollen season getting longer? Yes

Compared with 30 years ago, pollen production has extended by about a month, starting about 20 days earlier and ending 10 days later.

Brad Haire, Executive Editor

April 8, 2024

2 Min Read
Brad Haire

There was no whiff of smoke in the air. Still, as I looked across the hazy tree line and beyond, I’d have sworn something was burning nearby. But I knew better. I saw the pollen apocalypse in full swing.

And the pollen season swung long and hard this year, punching many of us in the face.

With swollen red eyes, puffy cheeks and a slightly runny nose, I looked like I’d been on a bender the night before and woke up with the beer flu for much of February and March. I guess the pollen could come in handy to disguise a good bender. You could go on a good one, and if you made it to work the next day, you could deny the bender and blame the pollen. Nobody would think any different of it, they’d probably look like they’d been on a bender, too.

The yellow stuff covers and coats everything. Losing battle to keep a truck clean from it. Just leave it out uncovered and hope a rain pounds the stuff off. Of course, when you walk to get in the truck, your boots get caked in the yellow mud.

As she stepped up into my truck, my wife asked a dozen times this season, “Did I get pollen on my shirt?”


According to North Carolina State University, the timing of pollen production in the U.S. varies based on temperature, region and type of plant. In North Carolina and other states across the Southeast, trees and grasses typically produce pollen between March and June and ragweed produces pollen between August and November, which provides a fall season window to deny a bender.

Recent research shows that, compared with 30 years ago, pollen production has extended by about a month, starting about 20 days earlier and ending 10 days later. This has given plants more time to reproduce, causing pollen production by some trees to rise by 21%. Scientists estimate that pollen production of some plant species could increase by 250% over the next 60 to 80 years.

Also, according to N.C. State, climate change is said to be the main driver of the extended pollen season, and I can’t argue that.

All I can guess is that in our future around here, we’ll get a longer window of time to scapegoat pollen for our benders.

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