Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Hate Dandelions

Seeing my yard full of these yellow monsters makes me see red. No matter what others say about dandelions, how its edible and that it makes good wine, I don't consume it, so in my mind it's just an obnoxious weed. Despite my efforts to try to remove the dandelions in the most organic way possible last year, they came back in full force this year. It seems like now I have a field of dandelions rather than a green lawn. How do you get rid of dandelions? I'm desperate for advice and looking for organic methods of removal. Help!
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  1. My property next door looked like that last I picked the flowers and made dandelion jelly. It was great and the dandelion population is not nearly as bad this year.

  2. I know you don't want to hear it, but it looks like it's time for a weed n' feed. Or some kind of pre-emergence.

    They are probably too hard to hand pull which is what I do with a lot of my larger nasty weeds.

  3. I agree with Jezibels....which is not what you want to hear, I am sure :) Our yard is too big to worry about them unfortunately. I was going to try my hand this season at Dandelion jelly and lemonade and I heard their roots can be used for coffee!!!

    If it helps, I also heard they are good for your soil because of something they do with the earthworms using their roots for tunnels....

  4. I can't offer any help since I love dandiloins myself, but not for my consumption. Dandilions are one of the first big pollen & nectar producers for honey bees. They bloom before almost everything else.

    However I only came to this dandilion loving conclusion after I started keeping bees. Plus I love the yellow in the grass, but I'm weird that way.

  5. I really hate to say this but I agree with Jezibels...if you can't beat them join them.:) Here is something for you -

  6. Oh, my,look at all those dandelions! I can't offer help as to how to get rid of them, but I was thinking it would be good to keep them from going to seed. We don't have that many, but Larry goes around with his weed digger, and hunts for them to remove them.

  7. Until you figure out what to do, you may want to mow those little dandelion heads off before they go to seed.

  8. How about a chicken or rabbit tractor? They'll eat 'em up. This would be my first choice of attack.

    Or you could till them in... I found a great little electric tiller from Amazon. This would be my second choice of attack.

    You could use sheetmulch, or big black plastic mulch to smother them. Be prepare to deal with slugs though.

    You could use roundup, but that's loaded with controversy. Beware that vinegar only works if it is like 20% acetic acid, but that is quite harmful to your health and your soil.

    Invest in a really good sharp hoe and weeding will be much easier in the future. Make sure to knock them down before they go to seed. They will eventually die if you keep cutting them back.

    Consider planting a cover crop when you aren't using the garden.

    Many people like using scythes to cut down the greenery and feed it to livestock rather than a tractor.

    Hope that gives you some ideas. :)

  9. P.S. if you know anyone with goats or other livestock you could borrow them. :)

  10. Nasty!! Is this your back yard? I didn't see your vegetable garden beds anywhere in the picture. Don't know of any organic solution, but hand weeding is not recommended since the dandelion population is huge! Sorry to say but you could check out chemical solution...

  11. That'a a lot of dandelions. I'm not sure how to get rid of them..but I have to agree with GrafixMuse that you may want to make sure you cut them before they go to seed.

  12. I'm in accord with Oxray Farm folk - dandelions are great early food forage for bees and other pollinators. Here at the sanctuary, I've already seen monarch and cabbage butterflies as well as several kinds of bees on my bright yellow flowers. And they make a wonderful contrast to my swaths of violets and violas (pics on my current post).

  13. They are so lovely!
    My sweetheart and I went on a road trip a few years ago, and we saw fields of dandelions way worse than your yard: the road was edged by fields of straight on yellow, no green poking anywhere, and we both thought it was a most glorious sight!
    However, I do understand how you want to avoid them in the garden... I wait until after they've flowered, but before they start withering to remove them with a stand weeder (fewer blisters). It takes persistence, and a few years of patience. You will never be entirely rid of them, unless your whole neighbourhood cleans up. However, you can diminish the amount to something less 'appalling'. Also, DO NOT COMPOST the victims right away!!!! If you can stand the gross mess, chuck everything in a bucket of water, and let them rot before adding to the pile, otherwise you will only multiply your problem. Or chuck them in the garbage or municipal compost (commercial compost piles reach higher temperatures, and will kill the roots.)
    As with Oxray, I usually keep the flowers for the bees, and because I like to look at them from my window... By mid-summer, when the leaves are too bitter to eat, I hack away at them, and am done until the following year. BTW, dandelion honey is DIVINE!!!!
    I like to eat them: in salads (recipe here), in jellies or wines, neither of which I have ever made myself, but eat quite happily!

  14. Yikes... I just dig them up as they come up. I have nowhere near that amount! I only have 1 or 2 popping up. Our neighbors, however, are the SOURCE! They don't care and just let them go to seed and spread everywhere. I try to dig them up on their side when they aren't looking ;)

  15. The jelly's a great idea, and you can also make Dandelion Wine and it' is deLIcious!! I've tried it, but don't have a recipe for it, but I'm sure those are bountiful across the web. Our neighbor hates our yard, he's a 'hater' of anything! lol so I don't really mind the dandelions...if I had as many as you do right now, I think I'd probably find the wine recipe and give it a go!

  16. Here's a solution that's organic-Iron X. And next fall use Corn Gluten Meal as a preemergent for no weeds next year. :) Here's a link:

  17. Here is a 100% organic solution that is also good exercise. Dandelions drive me crazy. I dig them out by the roots in the early spring, then add a bit of fresh soil mixed with grass seed. The spring rain takes care of the rest. After three years there are hardly any.

    Now I'm working on nettle reduction...


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