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Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping

Written by Thomas Leo OgrenAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Thomas Leo Ogren


List Price: $14.99


On Sale: February 17, 2015
Pages: 256 | ISBN: 978-1-60774-492-4
Published by : Ten Speed Press Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents


The Groundbreaking Guide to Health-Conscious Gardening 

If you are one of the millions of people with allergies or asthma, this totally unique book shows you how to avoid plants that trigger allergies and to create a garden that will actually protect you by trapping pollen and cleaning the air around you. This revolutionary approach combines the best of horticulturist Thomas Ogren’s previous books—Allergy-Free Gardening and Safe Sex in the Garden—into a full-color guide, including hundreds of new and updated plant listings and photographs.

Ogren’s innovative system for combating allergens is based on the crucial matter of plant sex. By replacing troublesome male plants in your yard with pollen-blocking female “pollen screens,” allergy sufferers can reduce or eliminate their symptoms. More than 3,000 plant listings are included, accompanied by an easy-to-use allergy ranking scale of 1 to 10. With many new pollen-free plants to choose from, as well as clearly marked “worst offenders” to avoid, this is the ultimate resource for home gardeners and professionals alike who want to build healthy, safe, and beautiful gardens that everyone can enjoy.


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 
Thomas Leo Ogren

About Thomas Leo Ogren

Thomas Leo Ogren - The Allergy-Fighting Garden

Photo © Thomas Leo Ogren

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.

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