While walking my dog several weeks ago, I noticed something unexpected; a number of ash trees in full bloom. This was unexpected because it was the first week of February and ash trees usually pollinate later in the month. It was also unexpected because this was near a school in the Foothills of Ahwatukee were the ash trees are supposed to be of a less allergenic variety. This is in distinction from the Arizona Ash, Fraxinus velutina, which is notorious for it’s prolific production of allergenic pollen. For this reason landscapers have been discouraged from planting Arizona Ash trees for a number of years although they are very numerous in older communities such as the Warner Ranch area as well as old Ahwatukee and Tempe.
Ash trees are in the same family as olive trees, possible the most allergenic tree in Phoenix, and so people who are allergic to one will be allergic to the other
So the ash trees are pollinating a full two to three week early this year, probable because of the warm weather. This along with large amount of Arizona Cypress and Juniper pollen in the air is creating a very difficult winter for people with allergies.