The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping

The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping

by Thomas Leo Ogren


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607744917
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 02/17/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 576,037
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

THOMAS LEO OGREN has a master’s degree in agricultural science and is the creator of the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS), a plant-allergy ranking system now used by the United States Department of Agriculture. He is a horticulturist and allergy researcher as well as a former landscape gardening instructor, nursery owner, and gardening radio show host. He lives in San Luis Obispo, California.

Read an Excerpt

Very rarely do we come across an idea that is both exceptionally good and revolutionary in its scope; the book The Allergy-Fighting Garden by Thomas Leo Ogren is such an idea. I was a practicing allergist for more than fifty years. In the past I often advised people to avoid the “toxic” highly allergenic shrubs and trees, but my knowledge of botany was limited. Today, allergies are given short shrift in American medical schools. Students preparing for a medical career will receive only one or two lectures on the subject during a four-year course of intense study.

Allergies cause a huge amount of pain and suffering. There are many medical treatments for allergies, and none of them is perfect. All of them have side effects. The very best treatment for allergy is to avoid the offending substance. But when the state or city park department plants trees for shade, for example, they can end up causing intense suffering because of their poor choice of trees. Homeowners, too, unknowingly make poor choices and cause themselves years of allergy as they surround their houses with allergy-causing trees, shrubs, and lawns.
However, before this book, if you wanted to plant a landscape with allergy-free plants, you had few places to turn to for advice. Some landscapers knew that fruitless mulberries and olive trees caused allergy, but that was about it.

The Allergy-Fighting Garden is therefore a greatly needed book. Several things especially make this work so valuable. Ogren’s allergy scale, assigning all plants a simple 1 to 10 allergy ranking, is a marvelous idea. All plants are not created equal. Certain plants cause no allergy, some cause very little, and some cause a great deal of suffering. Ogren’s allergy scale addresses this problem head-on.

Another fine idea in this book is the reasoning about the dioecious species of plants. Dioecious (separate-sexed) plants cause far more than their share of allergies, because the male plants usually produce so much airborne pollen. These species, which include many common plants such as willows, ash, and maples, are often described as the worst allergy offenders. What Ogren figured out here is that the flip side is also true. If the males are the worst, then the females are the best! This is a simple idea, perhaps, but up until now no one has really addressed it.

The Allergy-Fighting Garden should be on the shelf of every serious gardener. All allergy specialists would be wise to own a copy, and certainly the book should be in the library of every nursery and municipal park department. Perhaps most important of all, this text should be required reading for every college student of landscape design or horticulture. Ogren has made a valuable contribution to our good health, and now it is up to us to put the information to work.
David A. Stadtner, MD

Table of Contents

Foreword by David A. Stadtner, MD 
Part I: Creating an Allergy-Fighting Garden
One: Botanical Sexism and Our Current Allergy Crisis 
Two: How to Fight Allergies Close to Home 
Three: Understanding Plant Sex and Its Importance in Allergies 
Four: Allergy-Blocking Hedges 
five: Eliminating Allergy-Causing Mold Spores 
six: Fighting Allergies in Your Neighborhood and City 
Part II: The Allergy-Fighting Plants seven: Understanding OPALS 
eight: Using the A to Z Plant Listings 
nine: A to Z Plant Listings with OPALS Allergy Rankings 
Glossary of Horticultural Terms 
Recommended Reading 
Useful Websites 
Pollen Calendar 
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map 
About the Author 

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The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Allergy Fighting Garden is the culmination of decade’s worth of research with the single goal of making our communities healthier places in which to live. As you read this book you will sense Tom Ogren sitting beside you: his writing style will engage you in conversation as you progress from simple botany lessons to the working chapter- selecting plants that will fit your landscape and your health. The comprehensive OPALS rating system is nothing short of brilliant. This is a good book but, more to the point, this is an important book. There is no longer any doubt about the direct correlation between male plants and allergies: there is no longer any doubt about the direct correlation between allergies and the danger to health. If you talk to a nursery person or landscaper who discounts this concept, move on. Invite them to read this book, but move on. Tell them you’ll consider doing business with them once they have read it. I see this book as an important piece of the home library, a tool fro the professional and a text book for the educator.