Dandelions: Bane or beauties?

If you love your lawn, dandelions might be the bane of your existence.

But, are they really all that bad?

I know of a few youngsters who picked a bouquet of dandelions for their moms this past week. Dandelions must be beautiful to them. I am sure that mom loved them as well. Then, there’s my uncle and grandfather who used them to make homemade wine. I am positive they love dandelions.

But if you do a simple Internet search, the first results are how to “manage” dandelions. Basically, it is a laundry list of how to eradicate them.

I must agree, when they send up those puffball spikes less than 24 hours after you mow the lawn, it can more frustrating than anything. So, we must talk control to keep some sanity in the lawn this time of year.

One of the best ways to reduce the population of dandelions in your lawn (and thereby in your flowerbeds) is to maintain a healthy lawn. Basically, mow it high – 3 inches or more. Reduce any stress your lawn gets from heavy traffic, pets and so on.

The next best step is digging. If you have pulled a dandelion out of the ground, you probably noticed the root always breaks off. If you have tried to dig out the root, it has probably crossed your mind that you will never find the end. And you may not. But digging the root at least 5-6 inches down will help reduce the energy from what you can’t find so it will not regrow.

Then there are the chemical controls. They are available everywhere. The chemicals used to control dandelions in the lawn can affect many of our landscape plants. Be sure to read the label and follow all directions as stated. A link to a great article is listed below.

As for Ohio State, there is a different thinking when it comes to dandelions these days.

Our Ohio State researchers are working to make dandelions into gold. Yes, there is a higher calling for the famous yellow spring flower – as a source of natural rubber. Dandelions might be the solution to natural, domestically grown rubber, a necessity for our national economy.

Who knew? Maybe that’s why the dandelion has been so persistent in showing off its bright yellow color to us each spring.

To learn more about Ohio State’s work on making dandelions famous, check out this all-inclusive site:


For additional tips on reducing dandelions, take a look at this article from our OSU Extension team: http://go.osu.edu/dandelion

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