Here's a question that might sound a bit strange. Are the trees in your town or city sexist? Urban planning has led to botanical sexism, which is when the male varieties of the chosen tree species are planted rather than the female. The female varieties are those that flower, and these flowers create debris which are then deposited onto the streets and footpaths. All that the male varieties generally create is pollen, which fertilises the females.

This botanical sexism means that some urban areas have an abundance of trees which create less mess, but create a disproportionate amount of pollen when compared to a naturally-occuring forest or grove of trees. This is bad news for allergy sufferers, and this botanical sexism can certainly aggravate the condition. But what about the trees in your backyard?  

Gymnosperm Tree Varieties

If the trees in your backyard produce flowers, this does not conclusively prove that they're female. They might be self-pollinating, which means they possess both male and female characteristics in botanical terms (which means that they flower). They might also be gymnosperm varieties. This means that a section of the tree, whether it's a cone, a smaller flower, or another type of small protrusion exists to produce pollen. Just where the pollen is produced will vary greatly, depending on the variety of tree. How can allergy sufferers minimise the amount of pollen produced just outside their home?

Gender Identification

You could have the precise type and gender of your backyard trees identified by a professional arborist, but with some online detective work, you can probably uncover the necessary information yourself. So what happens if you find that you have a backyard full of male, pollen-producing trees?

Pruning and Lopping

You'll want to minimise the tree's gymnosperm production capacity, and professional, strategic tree lopping can achieve this by essentially removing the specific components of the tree that will produce the most pollen. This won't entirely cancel the tree's ability to produce pollen and reproduce, and yet it will greatly minimise the amount of residual pollen in your backyard. Exactly how much of the tree that needs to be removed, along with the precise sections of the tree that need to be removed, will depend on the variety and size of the male tree.

It's not a feminist goal as such, but by cutting those (backyard tree) males down to size, you might find that your seasonal allergies will be greatly improved.