Dandelions can be maddening, they pop up overnight
after a mowing like jack-in-the-boxes, as if you did not mow at
all, laughing and daring you to do something.
Personally I like dandelions but most Americans,
including my dad, hate them with a passion and will not think twice
about casually using dangerous chemicals to kill them. One should
think twice, after all it is just all about aesthetics.
For the lowdown on the dangers of common household pesticides
and herbicides visit: Poison
In the Grass: The hazards and consequences of lawn pesticides
it will make your hair stand up.
"Homeowners apply up to 10 times more chemicals
per acre than farmers do. Common lawn pesticides and fertilizers
have been linked to various types of cancer, neurological
damage, and Parkinson's disease. They're also the leading
cause of accidental pet poisoning. Once the stuff is in your
yard, your family will track it into the house on their shoes,
where it settles into the carpets and cracks in the floor."
A person should be able to control weeds and pests
without taking crazy personal and environmental risks and there
are available safe courses to take. They may not work as quickly
or conveniently but it is better than suffering the consequences
of bowing to the gods of expedience.
Straight distilled vinegar is an
effective and economical solution to controlling dandelions, one
gallon or 128 fl oz. cost about $3.99. I just put a few of drops
on the center of the rosette using a turkey baster, the kitchen
gizmo that looks like a giant eye dropper. Generalized spraying
is not a good idea because the vinegar will also kill grass that
it comes in contact with and also may turn the soil too acidic.
A controlled localized spraying directly on the plant may work and
acidic soil can be re balanced by adding alkaline soil components
to balance the ph.
The vinegar will kill the dandelion leaves and flower
but not the root and new growth should be expected. However repeated
applications in conjunction with timely mowing
should offer adequate control. Mowing height is important, doing
so that grass is about 3" high is ideal. Less than 3"
actually encourages dandelion re-growth.
Forms of corn meal gluten have
been patented as a herbicide in preventing dandelion seed germination
by inhibiting root development. Application 4-6 weeks before expected
seed germination should reduce the number of new dandelions. The
gluten contains nitrogen and will give competing grass a boost.
The corn meal gluten has been called the truly natural weed and
Using vinegar is cheaper and safer than herbicides.
The savings of 3 cents per fluid oz for vinegar versus 20 cents
per fluid oz for the least expensive chemical application, makes
economic sense and that not having to take the risk of acquiring
or spreading some horrible illness would be an added bonus and even
bigger savings. As noted previously the danger with herbicide application
on lawns is that it is easy to inadvertently track it into the house
and into carpets, furniture etc. by pets, kids, toys and shoes.
My father used the tactic of not watering his lawn
to kill the dandelion last summer. You have to understand that he's
91 years old with scrooge like tendencies. It was a bad idea. Not
only was his front yard transformed from average looking to the
worst for blocks around to the consternation of this neighbors,
the tactic backfired completely. The grass died off and the dandelions
simply went into a hibernated state.and this spring came back to
life and flourished stronger than ever due to lack of competition.
His yard now looks like a dandelion farm.
I'm trying to convince him now that reversing what
he did would be the best plan. I've noticed that healthy lush lawns
have few if any dandelions Sowing grass seed with fertilizer and
promoting rich soil seem like the best and easiest solution. Strong
competition from grass and timely watering and mowing should at
least discourage dandelion spread and keep it controlled. Total
eradication is simply not worth the effort and price.