Preference for male trees causes urban allergies

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Arborists often claim that all-male plants are “litter-free” because they shed no messy seeds, fruits or pods. In the 1949 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, which focused on trees and forests, this advice was given to readers: “When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.” In the years following, the USDA produced and released into the market almost 100 new red maple and hybrid-maple-named clones (cultivars), and every single one of them was male.

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