Austine Roux Flower March 27th 2020, 15:08:46
The dandelion is a misunderstood plant. We spend all summer trying to weed them out of the lawn when this plant can actually be helpful to us. Introduced to America from Europe, the dandelion has nutritional and medicinal value and was once considered to be a beneficial plant.
But here in America, we like our lawns to be green so these little yellow buggers must go! So how to best rid your lawn of this friendly little plant?
The name of the plant comes not from its golden mane, but rather from the serrated leaves of the weed, which form an outline like lion's teeth (thus the name "dent de lion", or teeth of the lion).
Dandelion seeds can be blown into your yard from miles away, so it is virtually impossible to prevent new plants from popping up periodically, especially if your neighbors are less than diligent in their own lawn maintenance.
If your lawn is mostly weed-free and you see a new dandelion plant sprout up, pull the whole plant, including all the roots, out as soon as possible. Do not let it go to seed.
You'll need to check on the area for the next few weeks to ensure you got all the roots. A new dandelion plant can be regenerated from less than one inch of the remaining root, so complete removal and subsequent checking are important.
If your lawn is very large or contains a very large number of dandelion infestations, you may wish to resort to herbicides. Common herbicides in use in various parts of North America are glyphosate (i.e. Roundup®), triclopyr (i.e. Garlon®), and mecoprop or MCPP (i.e. Trimec®). Be aware, however, that some of these herbicides are deemed to be health hazards, and some municipalities prohibit their use.
Smaller lawns can be maintained quite easily with dandelion knives and other tools designed to remove the weed.
To pull a dandelion plant, first thoroughly water the area around the plant, then use a weed knife or dandelion digger to loosen the soil around the roots. Use the tool to lever the root out of the soil. If the root feels like it will break rather than come out, add more water and reposition the tool.
Some of the new tools created for dandelion removal include a blade that attaches to a drill to extract the root and a water-powered weeder that uses a high-pressure stream of water to create a hole beside the root, making the plant easy to pull out.
What to do with those pesky dandelions?
Well, you could always just toss them, but why waste them when dandelions can be so useful?
One thing you can do is add them to your compost pile. To do this you must make sure they have not gone to seed and that they are quite dead. You can line your pulled dandelions out in the sun and let them wither and die before adding to the composter.
You can also make great use of them at the dinner table. Dandelions are full of vitamins and minerals - you can eat them raw or steam them. Both the leaves and flowers can be used in salads. You can also use them to make tea, beer, and wine.