Don’t blame goldenrod; allergies are ragweed’s fault

Showy goldenrod is often blamed for causing seasonal allergies when ragweed is actually the culprit. Gardenerdy

I have a ton of goldenrod on my property that flowers in late summer. I have seasonal allergies — how can I get rid of the goldenrod?

Goldenrod does not cause seasonal allergies. The most likely cause of your allergies is ragweed pollen. Ragweed is a rather insignificant-looking weed that blooms at the same time as goldenrod. It is wind pollinated and disperses large amounts of pollen into the air. Goldenrod is insect-pollinated — so very little pollen is released via the wind.

Goldenrod gets all the blame for late summer allergies because it is so bright and visible. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is a perennial and an excellent pollinator species that provide a significant source of food to insects in late summer. The flowers are attractive to bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies, moths and beetles. The plants are also good for erosion control on slopes.

Ragweed is a summer annual that is often found growing in disturbed areas; it is also an inconspicuous weed in lawns. The best way to control ragweed is to mow marginal areas before it flowers and begins to disperse pollen. Studies have shown that climate change may increase the amount of pollen produced by ragweed.

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