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Dandelion advice

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So, dh told me today that he wants to spray for dandelions.  He really has issues with dandelions in lawns -- he's fine with white clover, but hates dandelions.  We had this conversation last year, and the year before, and the year before .....

Last year, my solution was that dd1 and I would pick and pull dandelions, which we were mostly on top of (dh's recollection of this is different than mine).  The problem is that the neighbor and the walking path past our house are COVERED with dandelions (like, golden - no green).  No matter how well we keep up on the dandelions sprouting in our yard, the neighbor's dandelions are going to spread into our yard anyway.  I think this is part of the reason that dh wants to just spray and move on.  Of course, he'd have to spray repeatedly .... new seedlings would pop up as the neighbor's seeds landed in our yard.....

 

In all honesty, I don't WANT to have to go pull dandelions all the time.  I already also pull bindweed once it starts growing in the patches of lawn that it grows in.  I know that the 'best' defense against the bindweed and dandelions is simply to grow a very thick healthy lawn which doesn't allow the weed-seeds to establish themselves.  We work on that, too, but--! 

 

For those who've battled dandelions -- is the spray safe?  He wants to use this spray which makes them grow so fast that they don't flower??  Maybe I'm just overreacting here by not wanting the spray used?  FIL (a biologist) says that there's nothing harmful in the spray and that it's wonderful. 

 

Even if we don't use spray on our lawn and someone suggests a great tool or safe method of reducing them on our own lawn -- I'm really tempted to sneak out late at night and spray the stuff on the neighbor's lawn and along our city walking path near our house.  Until those dandelions are gone, this is going to be an annual spring/summer battle for dh and me. 

 

Has anyone used corn gluten?  I've heard it's a good solution? 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice. 

 

post #2 of 14
http://www.weeddragon.com/

Honestly the best weed solution ever without spending hours on yardwork. Don't use chemicals if you have a growing family, pets or live within a couple of miles of a creek, pond, stream etc.
post #3 of 14

I use a dandelion puller to get the taproot out along with the upper part of the plant.  Blooming season around here only lasts for about a month in the spring and another month in the fall.  After the first year we lived in this house I could not tell I had made any impact on the dandelion population at all (I would pull two plastic grocery bags of dandelions per day), but now after three years it only takes me 5 minutes every other day to keep them from blooming.  In the meantime, my neighbor's house is now empty and dandelions are taking over her lawn, which used to be sprayed at least twice a year for goodness knows how long.  I guess what I'm saying is that even with increasing numbers of seeds blowing onto my lawn, the hand-pulling was much more effective in the long run than years of spraying on her part.  And much cheaper.  And I didn't have to worry about the chemicals.  Do you think that would make a difference to your dh?

post #4 of 14

We have tons of dandelions in a neighborhood of mostly pristine lawns.  I dig them out of the front, but we just have too many in the back to make a dent in--although we do pick a few buckets even few days just to add to our compost pile.  I feel a little uptight about it sometimes, but I would rather have a weedy yard than a poisonous one.

 

As for corn gluten, I think it can work, but so much depends on the weather and timing.  It only works for a short while to keep things from germinating especially if it rains a lot, then you have to reapply. It doesn't help against weeds that have already sprouted.  On the other hand it is a good fertilizer, so it certainly doesn't hurt anything.  We decided it wasn't worth the cost. 

 

Here is some information from an organic lawn care site:

 

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp

 

"DANDELIONS are a sign of alkaline soil. Refer to the pH stuff above. The above methods will prevent dandelions from propogating. Since dandelions live about five years, the mature dandelions will struggle with the tall, thick turf and die off in two to three years. I now think that a few dandelions poking up once in a while are kinda nice and I leave them alone."

 

 

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by aliall View Post

We have tons of dandelions in a neighborhood of mostly pristine lawns.  I dig them out of the front, but we just have too many in the back to make a dent in--although we do pick a few buckets even few days just to add to our compost pile.  I feel a little uptight about it sometimes, but I would rather have a weedy yard than a poisonous one.

 

As for corn gluten, I think it can work, but so much depends on the weather and timing.  It only works for a short while to keep things from germinating especially if it rains a lot, then you have to reapply. It doesn't help against weeds that have already sprouted.  On the other hand it is a good fertilizer, so it certainly doesn't hurt anything.  We decided it wasn't worth the cost. 

 

Here is some information from an organic lawn care site:

 

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp

 

"DANDELIONS are a sign of alkaline soil. Refer to the pH stuff above. The above methods will prevent dandelions from propogating. Since dandelions live about five years, the mature dandelions will struggle with the tall, thick turf and die off in two to three years. I now think that a few dandelions poking up once in a while are kinda nice and I leave them alone."

 

 



Yes, I'd prefer a weedy yard over a poisonous one any day.  Dandelion also has amazing herbal benefits for health.  I'd save them, fry the flowers, eat the leaves, make the roots into tea.  They're really great for the liver, especially for men.  Perhaps you could think of them as harvesting rather than pulling weeds out.

post #6 of 14

I am with you!  The kids and I made dandelion jelly this week:

 

http://groceriesgardenanddinner.blogspot.com/2011/05/harvest-mondaydandelion-jelly.html

post #7 of 14

Could you just pull the area he sees regularly?  Say...the front of the house?  Part of me thinks if they bug him he should pull them - but seeing as he wants to spray them - maybe you pulling them can be a compromise.

 

I would use a weed puller and pull up the root though - I have one and it is very fun after years of hand pulling.

 

I would not be Ok with spraying.  It is too bad they bug his aesthetic sense - but better his aesthetics than toxins in my yard.  

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

He pulled the dandelions before mowing on Mother's Day (while I was taking my walk) - and told me that it 'cost' him $55 dollars of billable hours he could have been working for clients.  He's self-employed.  So --- his take is that either he sprays, or I am religious about prioritizing pulling the dandelions ahead of any other tasks I need to do or want to do (homeschooling, or cooking/cleaning, or gardening, or anything else).

My family was totally relaxed about dandelions, and we had very few.  I suspect, given FIL's advice, that his family was NOT.  Thus the conflict over how to handle it.  He's willing to consider other options, he just doesn't think we did such a good job of it last year (I think the seeds blowing our way from the neighbor's lawn make him think spraying repeatedly and forever makes more sense shake.gif ).  And - the reason I wonder whether sneaking over and at least spraying the neighbor's lawn/walking path might help alleviate this even if I'm pulling the dandelions in our own yard .... I think our neighbor would be very angry if we pulled up the dandelions in his yard (he would probably point out the large brush pile which we need to rent a trailer to remove, and tell us we are trespassing greensad.gif ). 

But, we do live right next to a creek.  And I know that there are such issues with pesticides etc.  We're actually quite self-righteous about doing things organically everywhere else in our yard/garden.  So I wish I could get dh over this fixation with dandelion elimination.... 


ETA:  Thanks for the lawn care link, aliall!  I just read it through.  I know our soil is alkaline.  I think I'll try sprinkling a bunch of lime on our yard and the neighbor's (they're elderly, I can do it late at night while we're up and they're asleep).  And keep prioritizing pulling the dandelions/bindweed and building our lawn's strength .... Maybe if we're patient, this will be less of an issue next year.  Maybe I'll go ahead and order corn gluten to sprinkle along the walking path and the neighbor's yard for the next few years, too, to prevent seeds from sprouting there.... 

 


Edited by elanorh - 5/10/11 at 4:05pm
post #9 of 14

I would be PISSED if someone came onto my property and pulled/killed the dandelions. I know they spread like crazy, but it's really, really not ok to treat someone else's property like your own and make decisions for them.

 

My mother hates dandelions. She's not religious about having the '50s suburb dream lawn -- all imported grass seed and pesticides, nothing local or organic -- she just thinks dandelions are brash and too bright. We love dandelions. I think they look cheerful and I'm all about a plant that's hardy, drought-resistant, pest-resistant, self-seeding, and can be used in a variety of different ways: tea, salad greens, cooking greens, alcohol(!), tempura blossoms, and pet food (we have a tortoise). Our solution was to send the kids to her house every so often to pick her dandelions. 6 quarts gets us a good batch of dandelion wine for very little effort. The kids pick the flowers, I steep them in boiling water, and dh adds lemon and orange rind, 4 pounds of sugar, and some wine yeast, then decants it and lets it sit for a month or so. Yummy.

 

If your kids are old enough, you can work dandelion picking into a math lesson and make it a chore that has a small reward. Each kiddo here has a Jar of Jobs Well Done and they can earn tickets for various things, like picking 100 dandelions. Five tickets gets them something fun, like an extra half hour of reading time past bedtime, or a board game with the whole family, or dessert before dinner. Nothing expensive or difficult for us to arrange, but they really dig it. (Oh ouch. Pun not intended.)

post #10 of 14

In my opinion, he is being a bit of a UAV.

 

Since when does his desire to have a dandelion free lawn trump your right to have dandelions or not deal with them?  Since wqhen does his desire to not have dandelions trump your desire to be spray free?

 

In any event, please do not do anything to the neighbours lawn without their consent.  You have no right.

 

I am sorry your DH is being a pita about this.  Is anything else going on  ( you do not need to answer here - just something to ask yourself).  I find when people hyper focus on little things something else is often going on.  

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 14

I would just mow the dandelions before they go to seed. If dh is making an issue about the front only then I would let him spray that,but not the backyard. Me, I would not want any spray and would just mow.Only weed I bother to remove is ones that are throny.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, everyone. 

 

I got our our dandelion weeder (bought last year) and have pulled most of the dandelions from the front yard.  I'll get the back yard done this weekend.  IIRC the dandelions were mostly done blooming by the end of June last year so I've only about 1 1/2 months to mess with it and then it'll be over.  I'll try the soil amendment suggestions from the article posted above, too -- we already do the high-cut, infrequent deep watering since we're in a dry environment, and have seen improvement in the quality of the lawn since dh began conscientiously trying that. 

Dh is stressed out right now - lots of work going on, which means that our ongoing house remodel is not getting addressed (since he does that on the side).  At the same time, I do think that sometimes in marriages we need to acknowledge and accommodate our partners' quirks (within reason).  Dh's acknowledging and accommodating of my quirks/concerns, after all, has meant that we've transitioned to a nearly 100% organic/locally grown pantry, which he would not have come to on his own (but is passionate about now).  I think we've found a solution/understanding at this point, that we can manage for this year at least, with the dandelions.  I hope that next year, the number of dandelions is fewer and the issue, therefore, smaller.  This year, I'll try to keep on top of pulling dandelions, and do the soil amendment, and dh will keep working on building a better, stronger lawn via mowing/watering appropriately.  We won't be spraying. 

I won't go sprinkle lime on the neighbor's lawn (although I can vouch for the fact that he's not harvesting his dandelions, and sprays the ones that are closer to his house himself).  But I will probably go sprinkle some along the walking path at least, since it's fine for soil, nontoxic, and might reduce the amount of dandelion seeds flying into our lawn.  The city does occasionally spray for weeds (usually after the weeds have all gone to seed - or they cut the knapweed down in full bloom so that it goes to seed where they leave it on the ground) - but if there are fewer dandelions along the walking path, maybe they won't get around to spraying that area. 

Last year dh paid dd1 a penny for every dandelion flower she picked.  She made $11.00 in one afternoon.  Then she literally said, "I'm done picking - we'll let these all go to seed and I can make even more money picking the flowers next year!" 

 


Edited by elanorh - 5/12/11 at 11:13pm
post #13 of 14

We have one of the propane torches mentioned above. It is brilliant for dandelions between paving slabs in in gravel but no good for those in the lawn. Though even with that I still have to go and pull them up, however "melting" them first and waiting for them to die is supposed to kill the roots, it takes a few goes with large  ones but it does seem to be working. I need to get out today and pull  up lots of brown dead ones.

 

I have also resorted to spraying the lawn hide.gif and personally didn't find it much more effective or time saving than pulling them up. I just had a lawn full of dead dandelions to remove, and leaving them meant the flopped over leaves stopped light getting to the grass below so that was yellow too (though I wonder how much was that and how much was the spray)

 

We had the best luck with using a sharp knife to cut out as much dandelion and root as possible. Little and often was our goal

 

Also sneaking over to the neighbours and removing the flowers before they set seed may helps.

 

 

post #14 of 14

How about asking the neighbour if you could pick his dandelion heads off? (if you have the time and if you are worried about seeds from them spreading)

 

I would not being Ok with undercover (ie. middle of the night dandelion removal) or chemical methods - but if I was not harvesting dandelions and a neighbour asked if she could harvest the tops I would probably let her.  

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