Dandelions are fast growers, and their bright yellow color is definitely not hard to miss. Lawn owners are all too familiar with this plant. With or without your help, you can almost be too certain that this weed will thrive alongside your turf grass if care is not taken.
Now, should you be worried about that fact? Your first reaction might be to look for ways to inhibit their spread. But what if I told you that asides from catching your children’s fancy and adding a touch of color to your yard, dandelions could actually help your lawn.
Here are some things you should know about this wildlife plant.
How Do Dandelions Spread?
One major issue when it comes to this plant is their seeds have the ability to spread like wildfire. One minute you have a large expanse of velvety green grass, and the next minute you have a lawn full of dandelion flowers.
Here’s why. This plant multiplies easily through its seeds. Its light, feathery seeds are transferred from its gray fluff and carried by wind to other parts of the lawn.
Are Dandelions Any Good To You?
The quick answer is, “yes!” Those vagabond plants on your lawn aren’t entirely useless to you. They are actually very useful if you think of it.
For one, their culinary benefits cannot be overemphasized. Their roots, when dried and ground, can be substituted for tea or coffee. Their leaves can also be used in salads. Needless to say, its leaves are actually appetite boosters in case you need a little help with that.
It also has numerous health benefits. It is a plant rich in vitamins, fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and so on. It is also believed to boost one’s immunity, relief aches, cramps, and pain in general. It also improves eyesight.
The dandelion flower also provides essential pollen and nectar for birds, insects, and bees. Now that you know, if you actually see one growing where you are, you might as well be grateful for being unintentionally blessed.
Before making the dandelion plant a part of your regular diet, ensure that you aren’t allergic to plants like ragweed, daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums.
Are Dandelions Harmful To Your Lawn?
Well, the dandelion plant can be both a blessing and a curse if you happen to have a lawn. They help in soil aeration, which is something every lawn owner should be grateful for. Dandelions help to improve the soil quality whenever they begin to sprout.
Also, their taproots, which can be hard to deal also helps to accumulate nutrients found deep in the soil and bring them to the surface where your turfgrass can access.
The dandelion plant creates channels for water and air to penetrate while helping to loosen the soil structure. Finally, when dandelion flowers die, they decay and help to enrich the soil further.
That being said, you can almost not stop the growth of dandelions on your lawn. And unlike some other weeds, this one does little or no harm to your turf grass. Rather it helps to strengthen the lawn.
How Difficult Is It To Remove?
Broadleaf perennials are a type of weed that can be difficult to cope with once they appear. Unfortunately, dandelions fall under this category.
As soon as a dandelion plant has established its 10” long taproot deep in your soil, you can almost be too sure that it will keep coming year after year. Not just that, you should most likely expect it to spread its spawn in your lawn perpetually.
Your first step toward a dandelion-free lawn is to attack it from the roots. Now, this is as literal as it is figurative. If you want to deal with this notorious plant, then you must remove or kill all of the taproots.
Taking it out from anywhere else will not get the job done, you’ll probably see it sprout again and this time with more vigor.
How to Get Rid Of Dandelions
Dandelions are masters at surviving, and I agree that dealing with them can be a little challenging. But if you can follow these steps, it should only be a matter of time before those yellow invaders take their leave from your beloved lawn.
#1. By Hand
If you want to skip the whole chemical application approach, then this traditional method is one sure way to go about the task. You can almost be too sure that you won’t see them sprout back if you decide to handpick them.
Be sure to put on a dedicated pair of gardening gloves for the task, as this will ensure that you don’t mistakenly transfer their seeds elsewhere.
Gardening tools such as a sharp trowel or claws can assist in loosening the weed roots from the soil first.
#2. Use Broadleaf Herbicides
This is usually the fastest and least stressful way to go about this. Doing so will kill the entire plant from leaves to root without harming the grasses surrounding it. Be sure to go for a broadleaf herbicide and not just any kind you can lay your hands on.
As you already know, dandelions are tough and do not back off easily, getting a broadleaf herbicide, in particular, will ensure that your dandelion issue, in particular, doesn’t go unattended while other weeds die off.
How Can You Stop Their Re-occurrence
#1. Mow Higher
Of course, the issue of mowing is a dicey subject that must always be brought up when lawn maintenance is involved. Next time, remember to mow your lawn a little higher as dandelions like sunlight and longer grasses help to cast a shade on them.
Also, longer grasses most times means a denser lawn, which is something you should look forward to. A thick lawn will help to choke potential weeds. The recommended mowing standard will be to take off only the top 1/3 of your turfgrass.
#2. Maintain a Healthy Lawn
Irrigate, fertilize, and leave grass clippings if possible. Also, overseed any empty spot, this is especially important as it will help prevent weeds from sprouting in that area.
All of these might help choke them out but won’t totally eradicate them. Nonetheless, whether or not dandelions survive on your lawn, having a healthy lawn is never something to back off on.
Truth is dandelions might keep you fully engaged year in year out if you decide to eradicate them. Since they aren’t necessarily harmful to your grass, it’s better to focus on maintaining a healthy lawn. This will naturally keep them at a minimum.