A Seasonal Guide to Pollen by Month
The UK pollen calendar isn’t a short one, sadly. It kicks off as early as January, and continues through spring and summer well into autumn. September marks the end of the pollen highs, but that doesn’t mean there will be no pollen in winter.
While hay fever peaks last around seven months, the good news is most people won’t be dealing with allergies for that length of time. Different months bring with them different pollens - and these each come with their own symptoms. All you need to do is take note when your nose starts twitching, your eyes watering and you’re reaching for the tissues. Then look at our calendar below and see if you can identify the pollen that’s causing the problems.
Tree pollen is the first to arrive in the pollen calendar with February recording high numbers, followed by grass pollen peaking in June and then weed pollen in October. In this guide, we’ve taken a closer look at the different pollens that come out to play month-to-month.
- Pollen by month
- When are certain pollens most common?
- When does pollen peak?
- Pollen type by season
Pollen Types by Month
Learn when the different types of pollen come out, and don’t forget you can use Your Pollen Pal to check for low pollen areas near you.
While this month has a low pollen count, tree pollen is starting to say hello – specifically hazel, yew, alder, and willow trees. This means you can actually get hay fever in January, but symptoms are often mistaken for a winter cold.
Seven tree pollen variants start causing havoc in February. As well as hazel, yew, alder and willow, we also see ash, elm and birch pollen coming into play. It’s in this month we see our first peak in pollen season with hazel and yew hitting their highs until mid-March.
In March, poplar, oak and plane pollen make an appearance. Hay fever in March rises due to elm, alder, willow, and poplar pollen – but it’s also the end of hazel pollen.
Pine pollen shows its face in April while ash, birch, oak and plane all peak this month. April may be known for its showers, but it’s also when tree pollen season starts to come to an end – yippee! Just birch, oak, pine and plane remain from the tree-pollen family. Grass, oilseed rape and weed pollen also start to emerge – boo! – with nettle and plantain beginning their pollen season.
This month is quite the rollercoaster when it comes to tracking pollen. Dock and lime pollen start triggering hay fever in May as they begin their season, while both pine and oil seed rape peak and end within the month. Oak and plane end their peak – but grass pollen begins hitting its high notes. If you have a birch pollen allergy, you’ll be pleased to hear birch pollen season ends.
Oak, pine, oil seed rape and plane pollen season comes to an end in June, while grass pollen continues its peak. Mugwort pollen season starts.
Grass and nettle pollen peak ends now, while mugwort begins its peak. Lime pollen season now comes to an end.
The good news is that we’re starting to see less pollen now and, thankfully, dock and plantain pollen season ends this month.
Grass and nettle pollen seasons end, signalling the end of hay fever season. Windows can finally be opened wide and the fresh air can sweep through your home without causing any runny noses or itchy eyes – it may start to get a little chilly though.
When are Types of Pollen most Common?
While there are many different hay fever causes, they all fall under one of three main categories: tree, grass and weeds. While there’s some crossover of the three variants, they each have their own specific hay fever season in the UK.
- Tree pollen season is the first to arrive in January and lasts until June when pine and plane pollen season ends.
- Grass pollen season and oil seed rape both begin in April. Grass pollen is one of the longest running seasons covering around six months (until September), whereas oil seed rape is one of the shortest only lasting until the beginning of June.
- Weed pollen season begins in April and lasts until September. It’s one of the last pollen seasons.
Pollen Type by SeasonSpring (March, April and May)
Tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen are all around from March through to May. Tree pollen and grass pollen have peaks, so spring hay fever symptoms could be more severe, such as painful sinuses and a cough.Summer (June, July, August)
Summer hay fever brings with it a peak in grass and weed pollen, meaning itchy and watery eyes could be much worse, especially when going outside with allergies or around cut grass.Autumn (September, October, November)
Hay fever in autumn reduces as pollen season ends at the beginning of September.Winter (December, January, February)
Tree pollen begins its season in January, meaning hay fever in winter can sometimes be mistaken for a cold as symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, sore throat, cough and itchy eyes.
If you’re planning on spending time outdoors, especially during peak pollen season, read our tips from Allergy UK to help manage the symptoms.