Dear Judy,Well, RJ, let's break this down into a couple of managable pieces. First, let's talk about poisonous plants, then allergies, and then neighbors.
Oleander? I was amazed you listed this nasty toxic tree as #1 on the desert landscape list. These trees are highly toxic and a major allergy problem for many people. Their pollen and leaves get in your pool and the oil sheen floats on the top of the pool. I poisoned my neighbor's privacy row of oleanders with HCL over a year or so time frame so he would take them out. This weed should be outlawed in the state. The cheap cost is the only reason it is used. NASTY NASTY NASTY Tree. Please don't promote this nasty tree as there are so many much better alternatives to it.
Actually there are many poisonous plants used in the Valley, and elsewhere in the country, and there are others on my list of 7 easy desert plants (not mentioned in any particular order, I might add) that fit the poisonous category. Add to that dangerous plants, like anything in the cactus family, and we have a veritable field mine of danger lurking in our yards.
I'm not saying that oleanders are not dangerous. If they are ingested, they can be very dangerous. I will note, though, that when I called the poison control center in Arizona, no one there had any recollection of any accidental deaths by oleander going back many years. There are probably more accidental deaths by ingestion of chicken bones, in this country than there are by oleander. (They didn't say that, I did!) Now, if someone wants to commit suicide, they can probably do so in many ways, and eating parts of oleanders are on that list.
Oleanders, as I say in the article, are posionous, and you should be careful with them if you have children or pets. From what I have read, they taste so awful, that a person or pet has to be pretty set on eating any part of it to get it down, but it could happen. That's why I include the following warning in the article: "Just make sure that your children and pets don't eat the leaves or flowers, and don't use the leaves or branches for barbecue fires."
If you aren't ingesting parts of oleanders, you should be fine. Try not to get the sap from freshly trimmed leaves or branches on you as they could cause skin irritation. By the way, I hope you don't have any lantana in your yard....
With respect to allergies, from what I have read, oleanders have less allergens than many other flowering plants since they produce less pollen, but the pollen from other plants tends to stay on the long, wide leaves. My guess is that if one is allergic to oleanders, one is probably allergic to many other flowering plants, as well.
As for slowly and deliberately killing your neighbor's plants--I'm not even going there.
Oleander Photo © Judy Hedding