Reading the Tea Leaves of Texas Fall Color

December 03, 2019

fall leaf color as an indicator of seasonal pollen

Every Cedar Season is different.  Sometimes it seems like it lingers for weeks with high pollen counts coming in waves day after day, and some years it shows up, sets a record and then vanishes.  So how can we tell what it is going to do this year?
The short answer is, we can’t tell for sure, but there are some hints we can see and some patterns to look for that might help.  If you come to the same conclusion we have, you might want to stock up on Easy Breather and to make that easier we have included a pretty large discount code at the bottom.  
  1. Cedar trees require two things to release their pollen:  cold temperatures and wind. If we get cold fronts that tip-toe in calmly with only moderate daytime breezes then we have the kind of allergy season that has days and days of high pollen counts.  If we get icy freight trains that blow in like crazy, we get insanely high pollen counts for a day and then not that much afterward.  
  2.  Cedar (Ashe juniper) pollen can come from hundreds of miles away.  Oklahoma, North Texas and New Mexico all have Junipers that release pollen.  Sometimes when the cedar pollen is in the air but it seems early, that cedar flies in singing Boomer Sooner.  
  3. Healthy trees make more pollen than unhealthy trees. Healthy trees come from mild conditions and sufficient rain.  In Texas, if we have a year with good conditions for cedar pollen formation, we also have a year that makes our deciduous trees more colorful than normal.  Some years the deciduous tree leaves go straight from green to brown. But some years we see actual yellows and reds when the leaves turn instead of brownish-yellow and brownish-red, and those are the years to worry about.  
What does this all mean?  Recent climate models show stronger cold fronts coming out of the Arctic and with them colder temperatures further South with stronger winds.  This suggests that we might be more likely to see the pattern where a couple of big storms blow through and give us a couple of days of insanely high pollen counts with a lot of days where the pollen is moderate to low.
As far as climactic conditions go, the picture above was taken in Austin over Thanksgiving weekend.  Texas Hill Country trees
It isn’t exactly leaf peeping in Vermont, but this is pretty good for fall color in Texas. That means we could have a reasonably healthy amount of pollen formation.  
It all comes down to how the cold fronts come in.  
Here is what I can tell you for sure.  If you get caught on one side of a mountain in the winter where the pass is closed unless you have chains, you will not be able to find chains for your tires anywhere for 100 miles.  If we get a huge pollen release and the pollen counts skyrocket, there won’t be anything left on the shelves of your local market. My advice: Stock up and be ready.  If you use Discount Code SaveYourself2019 and want to stock up on $100 worth of Easy Breather, you get 25% off.  

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