Many people coming to New Mexico thought they were coming to the Southwest desert and then are surprised to discover just how much pollen is in the air here. In fact, the majority of New Mexican's live at rather high elevations, 3,500 - 7,000 feet above sea level where plant life thrives. The major geologic feature of New Mexico is the southern part of the Rocky Mountain range which bisects the State in the North-South direction. These mountains are home to large forests of Mountain cedar and Juniper trees in the lower mountains transitioning to Juniper and Pinon trees at the higher elevations. These pollen grains travel up to 100 miles on a windy day. Cedar trees pollinate twice each year, beginning at the end of January and lasting till March and again from September to October. Juniper trees pollinate from February thru April. Nearly all New Mexican's live in range of these pollens, which are such a large problem here that you will find regular pollen counts on the nightly TV news. Recirculation of the old tree pollens on dry, windy spring days is a cause of continual problem for allergy sufferers thru June in most years.

New Mexico is the U.S.A.'s second largest producer of Pecans, behind Georgia and ahead of Texas. Pecan tree pollen is big problem for residents of the Southeastern part of the State. Other trees causing allergy problems for New Mexicans include elms and mulberries. In some of the lower mountains you can find apple orchards which can cause local problems.

Being in the Southwest dessert, we do have more than our share of tumbleweeds (Russian Thistle) which pollinate in the fall, along with other weeds common in the Southwest such as burning bush (kochia). Ragweed is not a problem here in New Mexico. Grass pollens cause us some problems in the summer and fall but we don't have the true prairie grasses here in New Mexico. Here you will find Bermuda grass along with some of the more heat tolerant strains of blue grass and gramma grass. Our humidity tends to be low, 15-25% so that molds are not a big problem in New Mexico.

We do have our share of stinging insects, honeybees and wasps, so people with allergies to stinging insects need to take appropriate precautions. Fire-ants have not been found in New Mexico.

Of course, you can't escape house dust by coming to New Mexico and most people bring their animals with them. We are a rural State, so we also have to treat people for allergies to horse or cow on occasion. Ferrets are legal here although not too many people have been found to have an allergy to their ferret so far.