Dandelions are so colorful, so cheerful — even delightful and wholesome. Why, then, does our culture label them landscaping enemy No. 1?
Not everyone loathes dandelions. Youngsters like their very simple gladness and puffballs of smooth seeds. The unusual grownup under no circumstances unlearns that feeling.
At minimum 1 grown-up gardening guru even now loves the rather golden invaders, and is carefully spreading the phrase about their joy and positive aspects, as properly as how uncomplicated it is to manage them without having chemical substances.
“Dandelions can be identified in my backyard,” reported Erika Johnson, coordinator of Washington Condition University Clark County Extension’s Learn Gardener application. “They are most welcome! They are just one the of the earliest seasonal sources of nectar for pollinators.”
In modern many years, as we all try to lean greener, our status update about our relationship with dandelions appears to be to be morphing from “Divorced” to “It’s complicated.”
We’re all properly trained to admire — or even worship — the uniform environmentally friendly lawn. But why?
Gentle turf which is fantastic for strolling, playing and picnicking was a beloved status symbol of the 17th century European upper crust. Generating surplus land into an luxurious outside carpet intended you had prosperity to spare and leisure time to appreciate.
That attitude arrived to The united states and trickled down to the regular homeowner, who generally feels obliged to make war on weeds, specifically unruly dandelions. That prices income, labor and environmental overall health — all in the identify of synthetic, unsustainable uniformity.
It just does not make sense, Johnson mentioned.
“An immaculate, ideal, manicured lawn appears to be to continue on to be the goal of lots of a homeowner despite the reality that (lawns) get a large amount of expenditure in conditions of upkeep, income and chemical inputs,” Johnson said in email.
Lawns “offer virtually very little to wildlife, and hoping to hold them free of weeds and wanting ‘terrific’ usually benefits in damage to wildlife and polluted rivers, lakes and streams,” Johnson mentioned.
What is a weed?
A plant earns the label “weed” when it is so sneakily great at using maintain and reproducing, it will come to dominate the landscape.
Johnson reported the markers of a weed are “the means to colonize a bare spot speedily, immediate advancement and really helpful copy.”
Horticulturist and grasp gardener volunteer Eve Hanlin provided a succinct definition in a current Columbian story: “It’s a plant that arrived up where by we did not want it.”
And plenty of folks do not want dandelions in their yards. Dandelions are prevalent through Western Washington. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a scorched-earth coverage is finest. Comprehending them can assist us command them naturally, with no resorting to damaging substances.
Dandelions are perennials, which means they can are living a few or additional a long time. (Annuals stay one particular year and biennials dwell two. If you know a weed will die in a year or two, Johnson explained, you could forget about eradicating it and merely concentrate on preserving it from spreading seeds.)
Unlike many other perennial weeds, dandelions never unfold vegetatively, that is, by creeping along the floor like blackberry vines, or spreading underground by the root like Canada thistle.
Since they 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 basically should be rid of the dandelions in your yard, pull out each individual specific dandelion plant totally, all the way down to the root. That’s identified as grubbing.
“Solitary new dandelion crops alongside fence rows, roadsides, flower beds, and in turfgrass need to be grubbed out (eliminated by digging out the overall plant, taproot and all) prior to they make seed,” suggests the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Methods internet site. “Monitor the region for quite a few months to make confident that elimination of the taproot was complete.”
Dandelions’ long, central taproot tends to make them notoriously challenging to eradicate. Taproots can grow as very long as a foot or far more, and they’re superior at snapping apart and regenerating from the remainders. That is why you ought to get the complete plant, which is challenging.
“Removing dandelions by hand-pulling or hoeing is typically futile, except if accomplished repeatedly around a very long period of time of time, mainly because of the deep taproot program of set up vegetation,” according to the College of California.
Gardening specialists recommend moistening the soil to loosen it just before grubbing dandelions. Modern day anti-dandelion tool engineering has supplied us a range of weaponry: weed knives, metal claws, cobra-headed grabbers and grubbers on steel poles that occur in handy if your again hates bending over.
Folk cures for dandelions, like options of vinegar and/or soap, show up to eliminate the prime of the plant but that is all, according to many sources. The roots remain and will regrow.
They may possibly be “most welcome” in her lawn, but Johnson nonetheless mows dandelions down immediately enough to quit them spreading seeds.
“I never carry out any type of eradication for dandelions,” she explained. “I use the built-in pest administration technique acknowledged as ‘tolerance.’ ”
Built-in pest management is a extravagant expression for employing the minimum harmful, most environmentally helpful solution to handling landscaping issues like weeds and ailments.
“Dandelions unfold only by seed,” Johnson claimed. “You can leave them around only as long as they have not set seeds. Considering the fact that I mow my dandelions prior to they can established seed, they really don’t do considerably in phrases of reproducing.”
If you can see their little yellow heads, it is time to mow. If you can see their puffy seed balls, you’re way too late. Carefully slash off and dispose of the puffballs prior to the seeds go traveling. Then go immediately after those roots with your steel claw.
The very best way of warding off parachuting seeds and preventing dandelion infestations is by protecting a thick, robust, healthy garden. Overseed in the slide to regrow bare patches where by weeds can get a foothold. Fill in other bare places with woody mulch that suppresses weeds.
Or, try out placing down your steel blade and acquiring along with dandelions, which are essentially fantastic for your landscape, the whole environment and even for you.
- Dandelions loosen and enrich the soil. Those large taproots are fantastic soil aerators, and assistance neighboring plants as they attract up vitamins from way down underneath.
- Bugs adore dandelions. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators undertaking nature’s day-to-day function uncover them yummy. Among the ongoing cascade of awful environmental information is a globally bee die-off which is already impacting our flora and our foodstuff. Each individual very little yellow bloom in your yard can enable.
- People today locate them yummy also. The moderate bitterness of dandelions can be cooked or sweetened away, or just relished for its personal sake. (But in no way eat dandelions that have been sprayed.)
Every solitary portion of the dandelion is edible and healthy. The flowers are complete of most cancers-battling anti-oxidants and natural vitamins A and B12. The environmentally friendly leaves are packed with potassium, calcium and natural vitamins A and C.
The flowers can be made into tea, wine, pancakes, muffins and substantially extra. The leaves can be tossed into salads or sauteed like spinach. Test frying some up with your early morning eggs. The purely natural sodium in dandelion greens can make them a nice flavoring alternative to table salt. The not-far too-flavorful roots can be boiled in stews and soups.
For countless concepts and recommendations, look for “dandelion recipes” on the internet. For an fast dose of the good cheer that will come from combining nutritious having and normal weed command, go exterior, seize the largest dandelion clump in your lawn and chow down.