I really HAD to write this post. Over the last week, I have read many comments on Facebook about peoples’ battles with dandelions. I had to investigate why and how we can take on this worthy adversary.
Truth be told, history paints a very different picture of our ancestors relationship with this common weed. While we “pull it and pitch it” in the past the dandelion was honoured. Acclaimed for its medicinal properties, generations of people around the world have harvested the dandelion crop for various reasons. Here’s a list of some of the things dandelions were believed to help with; liver problems, heart aliments, treatment of anemia, digestive aid and rheumatism. Today the dandelion is still used for it’s medicinal properties. Dandelion is rich in vitamin A, D, iron, potassium and zinc. The flower is used to make dandelion wine, the root for dandelion tea and the greens are used in salads. A very useful plant!
Unfortunately, aesthetically speaking the dandelion is not “pretty.” It’s invasive nature means that it likes to take over any landscape. It is extremely resilient and has the ability to send it’s seeds sailing on the breeze for miles. So, what should we do?
Pull them out!
If you cut a dandelion it will be back and if you pick a dandelion it will be back. The only real way to get rid of a dandelion is to pull it out – roots and all. Fortunately, the dandelion has a tap root, like a carrot. This root structure makes it easier to pull. Unfortunately, the dandelion has a super strong root…it holds on with all of its might! So, how do you effectively pull out a dandelion? Here’s what to do…
Find your dandelion, and grasp the entire plant
Grab your trusty weed puller tool, (Lee Valley Dandelion Remover, Fiskars Stand-up Weeder)I use my mom’s old hand tool
Drive the tool down along the side of the root
Tip the tool toward the root, without snapping the root, and pull the root up out of the ground
You might not get then entire root every time…
But, when you do get the entire root what satisfaction
When you are done, the lawn is dandelion free – just keep on top of it
Hot tip: the wet weather we have been having makes the perfect conditions for weed pulling! The soil is wet and loose.
Compete it off the lawn
Last spring we took a look at our lawn and discovered that not only were dandelions enjoying our front law, so was clover. We took that as a sign that we should try and compete the dandelion out of our lawn. Adding more clover has led to less dandelions…genius!
Corn meal gluten (CMG) is a popular natural weed inhibitor. Corn meal gluten is a natural bi-product of milling corn. When applied to a lawn, three times a year, CMG works to inhibit the germination of dandelions and crab grass (and other grasses). The added benefit is that CMG is that it is high in nitrogen, thus making it a good fertilizer.
Embrace the dandelion
If you seriously don’t mind the look of the dandelion, go for it! Let those suckers grow. Your neighbours might not be excited to see your bright yellow lawn. I suppose it is your lawn…do with it what you will.
Whatever choice you make, I hope your anxiety over having a green and yellow lawn is lessened. Good Luck!
dandelion image source botanical.com
Thanks for sharing Lindsay…great tool!