Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Are there dandelions all over your lawn right now? Remember when dandelions were everywhere last year and you wished your neighbor had done something to get rid of them because they all blew into your lawn? So, this year once it gets warm, they will grow nicely in your lawn with that obvious yellow flower.
The English name for dandelion comes from the old French saying “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth” referring to the coarse leaves. Germans call this puff-ball stage, “Pusteblume” or “blowing flower” referring to how children hold the stem and blow the white puffs of seeds. Dandelions are thought to have evolved about 30 million years ago and exist worldwide. They have been used by humans for food and medicinal purposes. Dandelions came to America by European immigrants to provide food for the imported honey bees to improve crop pollination each spring. Little did they know that they would become the most hated lawn weed in the world!
Dandelions are in the broadleaf weed family. They are well adapted to “disturbed habitats” such as lawns and sunny, open spaces and grow under more adverse circumstances than most competitive plants. To further increase reproductive efficiency, the dandelion seeds can develop without cross-fertilizing, so a flower can fertilize itself. Dandelions sometimes avoid our attempts to control them by dispersing seeds as early as the day after the flower opens. So, if we notice the bright yellow flower today, the seeds can be blowing around your lawn the next day, what a bummer!
Many weed seeds exist in the lawn for hundreds of years or more. If you take a sod cutter and cut a strip one foot wide across your front lawn, will it stay as bare dirt forever? No! While almost everybody detests dandelions the more you try to weed them, the more they tend to grow. My father called me up a few years ago and told me that he had just spent the morning collecting 579 dandelion seed heads. He knew that this harvesting would not stop the spread of dandelions; he just wanted to get outside for some fresh air. The dandelion tap root is twisted, brittle and deep. Unless you remove it completely the plant will thrive again. One dandelion said to the other, “What is a dandelion digger for?” His friend responded, “It’s a human invention to help us reproduce”.
Enough about dandelions, how do we get rid of them? The weeds must be actively growing for best control so timing of your application is critical. The best times of the year to control dandelions is late spring and early fall. Apply Jonathan Green Weed and Feed Lawn Fertilizer which contains lawn fertilizer and weed control together. If you do not wish to fertilize your lawn you can use Jonathan Green Lawn Weed Control, which does not contain fertilizer. Here are some weed control tips: Do not mow your lawn two days prior or two days after an application. Apply your Weed and Feed or Lawn Weed Control to a damp or early morning dew lawn. If you grass is dry, lightly sprinkle it with a hose or irrigate for about five minutes before your application so the granules stick to the weeds for better control. Do not water your lawn or expect rainfall for two days after application. Read all label directions.
You can control dandelions over time organically. Jonathan Green Organic Weed Control contains corn gluten which when applied as a pre-emergent can prevent dandelion seeds from establishing. They key to good control is to apply the Organic Weed Control before the dandelion seed germinates; this would be an application in early spring. Organic Weed Control can also prevent crabgrass and over 20 other grassy and broadleaf weeds overtime.
If you do not want to wage war against dandelions, perhaps look up a good dandelion wine recipe. Good luck with your Jonathan Green lawn this year!Back