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HomePest ControlDo You Really Need to Remove Dandelions? ⋆ Big Blog Of Gardening

Do You Really Need to Remove Dandelions? ⋆ Big Blog Of Gardening

Photo credit: Dandelions by Benjamin Zwittnig, CC BY 2.5 SI, via Wikimedia Commons

By Guest Author Rose Morrison.

Every spring, billions of bright yellow dandelions pop up to greet the warm sun. While their glowing color may bring cheer to those suffering from winter blues, they can also be frustrating for homeowners who want to keep their lawns purely green.

Dandelions can be challenging to deal with, but it is possible to remove them from your lawn effectively and organically. Read on for practical tips on how to handle this persistent plant.

Dandelions in General

Dandelions, also known as Taraxacum officinale, are perennial plants that draw nutrients from the soil through a single taproot. They belong to the sunflower family or Asteraceae and there are several native species in North America. However, the common dandelion isn’t one of them, and there is some evidence that it can displace native plants. New seedlings can germinate in less than an inch of earth, and each flower head produces between 150-200 seeds. In other words, dandelions can spread quickly.

Although some people view them as a nuisance, dandelions have an important role within their ecosystems. Because they are in bloom so often, they are the perfect plant for pollinators such as bees and beetles. Birds also benefit from these wildflowers, feasting on the insects attracted to them.

How to Clear Your Yard of Dandelions

There are several different ways that you can effectively remove dandelions from your yard. With each method, persistence and patience are key to success.

While you may be tempted to start with herbicides, it’s best to totally avoid using herbicides in your yard. In addition to adversely affecting plant and animal life, any remaining herbicide drains into the ground and then must be filtered out of your city’s water system.

Listen to Them

Having a crop of dandelions in your yard tells you a lot about the state of your lawn. For instance, dandelions like to grow in hard-packed, alkaline soil. Your property is probably also suffering from bare patches of ground, which allowed dandelion seeds to take root. To discourage their growth, try aerating your yard to loosen the soil.
If you choose to leave dandelions alone, they will naturally aerate it with their taproot, breaking up hard clay and redistributing nutrients. Aerated soil is attractive to worms and other insects, which can benefit the overall health of your lawn by further distributing nutrients.

Pull Them

Pulling dandelions is an effective way to clear your lawn, but it takes hard work and dedication. You can purchase a weeding tool or use a long, sharp spade to get dandelion roots out of the ground. Follow these steps for the best results:

  • Wait for the soil to be soft and damp, such as after a rain.
  • Use a weeding tool to loosen the dirt around the taproot, going as deep as you can.
  • Gently pull the dandelion out of the ground, being craefulk to remove as much of the taproot as possible. If you miss part of the root, the plant may regrow.
  • Plant grass in any bare spots to help prevent further dandelion spread.

This method, while time-consuming, is much better for the environment than using herbicides. It’s kinder to the plant and animal life in your yard and gets rid of dandelions naturally. Far and away, the best way to avoid this task is to create a thriving ecosystem with healthy lawn soil.

Eat Them

Like many so-called weeds, dandelions are actually an herb. The entire plant is edible, including the root, leaves, and flowers, and has many health benefits. If you’re confident that your yard is 100% free of chemicals, you can use dandelions for food or herbal medicine.

Dandelion leaves make excellent, though slightly bitter salads. Their greens have high amounts of important vitamins, as well as calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. Dandelion roots and flowers are used to make detox teas, tinctures, and herbally infused oils.

Dandelion has been used historically to reduce inflammation, promote heart health, and balance blood sugar. Research supports many of these uses, although dandelion is considered an herbal supplement rather than a medicinal cure (if you’re taking any prescription medicine, speak to your doctor before adding an herbal supplement).

A Dandelion-Free Lawn

Do you really need to remove dandelions from your yard? No, you don’t. In response to their annual onslaught, you have a few choices: You can leave them be, get rid of them, or even incorporate them into your diet.

Author’s bio: Rose Morrison is a home living writer and the managing editor of She loves to cover home renovations as a way to inspire people to transform their houses into their dream homes. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter @renovatedmag.

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