UK Pollen Calendar: What Seasons are the Worst for Hayfever?

Spring becomes unenjoyable with hay fever.

UK Pollen Calendar: What Seasons are the Worst for Hayfever?

People experience hay fever throughout the year. The pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds is the leading cause. The weather patterns influence the abundance, reproduction, pollination, and blooming of these plants, and seasonal variations in the severity of the signs exist. An understanding of the peak season of the allergens is helpful to manage the symptoms better.

A young woman with hayfever

Besides weather, the regional variations of terrain, vegetation and precipitation influence the level of pollen allergens. This article summarises some key features of the seasonal variations in the hayfever.

Worst for months for Hayfever 

The hay fever is associated with spring and summer. The peak season starts in March and continues well into September, although some people experience symptoms in autumn and winter. This season is long due to the overlapping pollen season of different plants and changes in the weather patterns that influence pollen production. So, it is necessary to understand the seasonal variations of other plant species.  

Weed pollen

Weed pollen, e.g., ragweed, tumbleweed, sagebrush and pigweed pollen, is shed throughout the year. However, peak season occurs during summer and early fall (June to September), as high humidity and fast winds cause rapid spread and growth. Experiencing the signs of pollen in these months is a sign of weed pollen allergy. 

However, dust mites and other household allergens also cause symptoms in these months, and a careful approach is necessary to determine the cause. 

Grass pollen 

Grass pollen has a significantly long season, and most people experiencing signs of hay fever are allergic to grass pollens. The grass pollen experiences two peaks in the summer months. During these seasons, the grasses undergo pollination and release a large amount of pollen. Moreover, long daylight hours and warm temperature favours grass growth. The first peak occurs at the start of June and the other at the beginning of July. The second peak is less severe, and the signs improve after July. 

However, signs do not develop in all people as they depend on factors like coldness, warmth, and humidity. 

Tree Pollen 

The tree pollens are the first culprits to kickstart the hay fever season as the signs start from late February to match and continue well into mid-May. So, the signs of hay fever in early spring are likely due to tree pollen. 

However, it is less common, and only a quarter (25%) of the people with hay fever have a tree pollen allergy (Allergy UK).

Types of Pollen by Month 

Different pollen reaches peaks in different months, and knowing which pollen is responsible for the symptoms helps develop management strategies.

UK pollen chart

January 

This month has a low pollen count, but tree pollen is rising to reach a peak in March. Willow, Hazel, alder and yew are the most common tree species. Hayfever is possible in extreme winter, and the signs are occasionally confused with cold and flu. According to Asthma UK, 80% of people with asthma experience winter allergies. 

February 

Seven variants of tree pollen start causing signs this month. Along with Willow, Alder, Yew and Hazel, Birch, Elm, and Ash enter the arena. Yew and Hazel start experiencing a peak that lasts until mid-March. 

March 

Plane, oak and poplar join their comrades this month. It signals the end of Hazel season, and other tree species continue to cause symptoms. 

April 

Plane, oak, birch and ash pollen peak, while pine pollen enters this month. The end of this month signals the end of tree pollen while weed, oilseed rape, plantain, nettle and grass pollen start surfacing. 

May 

This month is among the Big Months for Pollen. Lime and dock pollen make entry, and oilseed rape pollen achieves a peak and then ends this month. Likewise, plane and oak pollen start to fall while grass pollen begins to peak. Similarly, birch pollen allergy season is also over. 

June 

Plane, rapeseed oil, pine and oak pollen finish, while grass pollen strengthens daily. The season of Mugwort pollen also starts. The symptoms are often confused with the summer cold and viral infections, but hay fever symptoms last much longer.

July 

The nettle and grass pollen peak season ends in July, and mugwort and lime pollen reach peaks. The end of July is a good sign for people experiencing grass pollen allergy as the grasses are at their lowest point, and mugwort and lime pollen are the most likely culprits of the signs. 

August 

The end of summer brings up good tidings of the decline of pollen season and the end of plantain and dock pollen season. Some weed pollen allergies continue to cause symptoms this month and include oilseed rape, nettle, mugwort, dock and ragweed. Practising preventive measures is still a better choice. 

September 

This month signals the start of the relaxation period as the nettle and grass pollen finally end, and the end of hayfever season is finally in sight. It is the time to breathe fresh air without worrying about itchy eyes and a snotty nose.

October 

Although hay fever season is over, autumn allergies surface and ragweed pollen causes itchy eyes and sneezing this month. As nearly 75% of people with pollen allergy are also sensitive to ragweed, it is still not the time to relax completely. 

November 

Pollen release slows down this month, but some resilient weeds continue to release pollen. Mould spores enter the party and are the most common cause of signs this month—damp areas in the house experience high mould growth. 

December 

The weed pollen season ends, but the cycle starts here, and some tree pollen enters the air. Some related issues, e.g., dust mite allergy, are often confused with winter allergies.


Hayfer is very difficult to live with.

Frequently Asked Questions  

What is the peak season of hay fever in the UK? 

People experience signs throughout the years. However, the months from late March to the end of May are the most sensitive as it is the peak season of tree pollen and weed and grass pollen are also entering the air. Moreover, naive people are exposed to allergens for the first time and experience severe signs. 

What are the worst seasons for a hay fever patient? 

The spring and fall months are the worst, corresponding to the peak growths of flowering plants and weeds.

Are the symptoms experienced in autumn in the UK? 

Summer is generally the most notorious season for hay fever. However, autumn has its own set of symptoms, as extreme wetness is ideal for the growth of mould spores that cause a different set of symptoms. 

Why are hay fever symptoms less common in coastal areas than inland areas? 

It is not necessarily true. However, some people note this phenomenon. Medical professionals attribute it to high-speed winds in the coastal areas that push the pollen away from coastal regions and more inland. 

Which areas in the UK have lower pollen? 

According to the allergists at the Pollen Research Unit, University College Worcester, UK, the northern regions of the UK have a shorter season starting later and low pollen counts. Likewise, the pollen count is higher in the inland areas than in the coastal regions and the countryside compared to the urban areas. 

A young man with hayfever

How do you permanently get rid of hay fever? 

There is no permanent cure or practical option to avoid exposure to allergens in the peak season, and avoiding exposure and taking medications to manage signs are the only options. 

Which antihistamines are best for tree pollen allergy in the UK? 

The most commonly prescribed antihistamines are Loratadine (Claritin®), Cetirizine (Zirtek®) and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®). The patients must consult healthcare professionals for more personalised treatment.

Does immunity develop against hay fever? 

Several immunotherapy treatments are available, e.g., sublingual immunotherapy and weekly allergy shots. The patients need to consult an allergist for guidance.

Bottom-line

Plant pollen is responsible for hay fever. There is a significant seasonal variation; most people experience signs from spring to fall, and the winter has lower pollen abundance. In general, tree pollen appears earlier in the spring, followed by grass pollen in the mid-summer and weed pollen in the late summer and early fall. Identification of pollen abundance of each month is necessary to develop a comprehensive prevention plan.

A young, beautiful girl enjoying the spring

Hayfever and allergies cause various signs and symptoms that must be addressed appropriately. Welzo offers several treatment options in the form of eye drops, tablets and wipes. Click here to view. 

The medications to treat the signs of hay fever in children are different. Click here to learn more and view the products.

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