Buds N Bugs: Tasty and hated dandelions



Lois Swoboda
Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM.


It’s the commonest and most despised of flowers, Taraxacum officinale, the dandelion.

The common name comes from the French phrase “dents de leon ” or lion’s teeth and refers to the pointy jagged borders of the leaves.

Dandelions are also regionally called blowball, faceclock and piss-a-beds.

Dandelions were brought to the United States from Europe to provide food for honeybees, also an imported species. Now they have escaped and become established worldwide and are very difficult to control.

In turfgrass and ornamental plantings, this plant forms dense circular mats of leaves 6 to 14 inches in diameter that crowd out desirable species. Because of the extensive root system of established dandelions, hand-pulling or hoeing to remove them is usually futile unless done repeatedly over a long period of time.

Once a few plants become established in turfgrass or ornamental areas, their seed can be spread several miles by wind or equipment. Solitary new dandelion plants should be removed root and all, before they produce seed. Monitor the area for several months to make sure removal was complete. Any portion of root left in the ground will produce a new plant over time. Areas with infestations should be isolated and seed heads removed until control can be accomplished. Spot applications of herbicides can be helpful.

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