Dandelions are so colourful, so cheerful – even delightful and healthy. Why, then, does our tradition label them landscaping enemy No. 1?
Not anyone loathes dandelions. Youngsters enjoy their uncomplicated gladness and puffballs of soft seeds. The unusual grownup under no circumstances unlearns that feeling.
At minimum a person grown-up gardening guru however enjoys the rather golden invaders, and is gently spreading the term about their joy and gains, as effectively as how effortless it is to regulate them devoid of chemicals.
“Dandelions can be found in my yard,” claimed Erika Johnson, coordinator of Washington State University Clark County Extension’s Learn Gardener program. “They are most welcome! They are 1 the of the earliest seasonal sources of nectar for pollinators.”
In the latest yrs, as we all test to lean greener, our position update about our connection with dandelions looks to be morphing from “Divorced” to “It’s difficult.”
We’re all skilled to admire – or even worship – the uniform environmentally friendly lawn. But why?
Gentle turf that’s excellent for strolling, enjoying and picnicking was a favored position image of the 17th century European higher crust. Generating surplus land into an high-class outdoor carpet meant you had prosperity to spare and leisure time to appreciate.
That attitude arrived to America and trickled down to the normal house owner, who usually feels obliged to make war on weeds, specifically unruly dandelions. That prices dollars, labor and environmental health and fitness – all in the title of artificial, unsustainable uniformity.
It just doesn’t make feeling, Johnson reported.
“An immaculate, great, manicured garden seems to proceed to be the aim of lots of a house owner inspite of the truth that (lawns) choose a good deal of expenditure in phrases of servicing, funds and chemical inputs,” Johnson reported in e-mail.
Lawns “offer nearly nothing at all to wildlife, and attempting to retain them no cost of weeds and wanting ‘terrific’ frequently final results in damage to wildlife and polluted rivers, lakes and streams,” Johnson mentioned.
What’s a weed?
A plant earns the label “weed” when it’s so sneakily great at having maintain and reproducing, it arrives to dominate the landscape.
Johnson said the markers of a weed are “the capability to colonize a bare spot swiftly, swift expansion and extremely effective replica.”
Horticulturist and master gardener volunteer Eve Hanlin provided a succinct definition in a modern Columbian tale: “It’s a plant that came up where by we didn’t want it.”
And loads of people today don’t want dandelions in their yards. Dandelions are common all through Western Washington. But that doesn’t mean a scorched-earth coverage is very best. Comprehending them can aid us control them the natural way, with out resorting to harmful chemical compounds.
Dandelions are perennials, which means they can live a few or more many years. (Annuals dwell one particular yr and biennials dwell two. If you know a weed will die in a 12 months or two, Johnson stated, you could possibly forget about about eradicating it and merely focus on holding it from spreading seeds.)
Not like quite a few other perennial weeds, dandelions do not unfold vegetatively, that is, by creeping along the floor like blackberry vines, or spreading underground by the root like Canada thistle.
Due to the fact they really don’t do that, dandelions are termed “simple” perennials. To reproduce, all they’ve got is seeds on the breeze.
If you eschew herbicides but merely should be rid of the dandelions in your yard, pull out just about every person dandelion plant wholly, all the way down to the root. That is known as grubbing.
“Solitary new dandelion plants alongside fence rows, roadsides, flower beds, and in turfgrass must be grubbed out (taken out by digging out the full plant, taproot and all) before they make seed,” suggests the College of California’s Agriculture and Purely natural Resources site. “Monitor the location for numerous months to make guaranteed that removal of the taproot was finish.”
Dandelions’ extended, central taproot helps make them notoriously rough to eradicate. Taproots can expand as long as a foot or much more, and they are superior at snapping aside and regenerating from the remainders. That’s why you will have to get the whole plant, which is difficult.
“Removing dandelions by hand-pulling or hoeing is typically futile, except if finished frequently around a long period of time, since of the deep taproot technique of proven plants,” in accordance to the College of California.
Gardening experts suggest moistening the soil to loosen it before grubbing dandelions. Modern day anti-dandelion device technological innovation has presented us a assortment of weaponry: weed knives, metal claws, cobra-headed grabbers and grubbers on metallic poles that occur in handy if your back hates bending above.
Folk treatments for dandelions, like options of vinegar and/or cleaning soap, show up to kill the top rated of the plant but that is all, according to numerous sources. The roots remain and will regrow.
They might be “most welcome” in her garden, but Johnson nonetheless mows dandelions down promptly plenty of to halt them spreading seeds.
“I don’t carry out any form of eradication for dandelions,” she explained. “I use the built-in pest administration approach known as ‘tolerance.’ ”
Built-in pest management is a extravagant expression for using the the very least poisonous, most environmentally helpful technique to controlling landscaping difficulties like weeds and illnesses.
“Dandelions spread only by seed,” Johnson stated. “You can leave them all-around only as extended as they have not set seeds. Given that I mow my dandelions prior to they can established seed, they really don’t do much in conditions of reproducing.”
If you can see their minimal yellow heads, it’s time to mow. If you can see their puffy seed balls, you’re far too late. Thoroughly slash off and dispose of the puffballs just before the seeds go traveling. Then go right after those people roots with your steel claw.
The best way of warding off parachuting seeds and averting dandelion infestations is by sustaining a thick, strong, healthier lawn. Overseed in the slide to regrow bare patches in which weeds can get a foothold. Fill in other bare spots with woody mulch that suppresses weeds.
Or, attempt placing down your steel blade and receiving together with dandelions, which are in fact very good for your landscape, the complete ecosystem and even for you.
• Dandelions loosen and enrich the soil. These significant taproots are exceptional soil aerators, and help neighboring plants as they attract up nutrients from way down underneath.
• Insects love dandelions. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators performing nature’s every day get the job done find them yummy. Among the ongoing cascade of horrible environmental news is a throughout the world bee die-off that’s by now affecting our flora and our foods. Each individual tiny yellow bloom in your property can assist.
• Folks uncover them yummy also. The mild bitterness of dandelions can be cooked or sweetened absent, or just liked for its very own sake. (But under no circumstances consume dandelions that have been sprayed.)
Every solitary element of the dandelion is edible and healthy. The flowers are entire of most cancers-preventing anti-oxidants and vitamins A and B12. The environmentally friendly leaves are packed with potassium, calcium and nutritional vitamins A and C.
The bouquets can be created into tea, wine, pancakes, muffins and significantly additional. The leaves can be tossed into salads or sauteed like spinach. Test frying some up with your morning eggs. The normal sodium in dandelion greens tends to make them a wonderful flavoring choice to table salt. The not-far too-flavorful roots can be boiled in stews and soups.
For limitless suggestions and ideas, lookup “dandelion recipes” on line. For an rapid dose of the good cheer that comes from combining healthier eating and purely natural weed control, go outdoors, seize the greatest dandelion clump in your property and chow down.