Allergy sufferers know that every week brings a different pollen challenge. In late June, one of the regular annual events is the cottonwood tree "snowfall" in Western Montana. And this year's production of those flying puffs of cotton-type seeds were plentiful (see photo). You can't help but notice the layers of of the white fluffs on the ground. The cottonwood trees actually are divided between male and female, with female trees producing the red blooms that develop into the masses of seeds surrounded by cotton. They are barely attached to the tree and when the wind blows ....

Grass pollens are active all over Montana right now and are in the "moderate" levels on most charts. Tree pollen is moderate on some reports and low on others. Pollen production on trees throughout the West is very high this year due to weather conditions. However, some experts say the the yellow pine pollen does not cause allergic reactions. Instead, those clouds of pollen arrive at the same time as the high peaks of grass pollens, which cause a lot of sneezing, etc. Keep some tissues on hand.