Dandelions are actually very beneficial to your health and a lot of people swear by things like dandelion tea and dandelion leaf salad. But while they might be good for you, most of us don’t want these weeds growing all over our lawns. Though it seems as though they invade every spring and summer. There’s a rumor that cutting them can make the problem worse so many of us are left asking should I mow dandelions?
It is a good idea to mow dandelions as regularly cutting them will prevent them from being able to form into clocks. These are what contain the seeds which then blow away in the wind, spreading more dandelions. So, it seems the rumors may be wrong.
Regular mowing is one of the best ways to maintain your lawn in many ways. When it comes to dandelion control, there are also a few other things you can do to keep them at bay.
You have probably been told a thousand times that if you mow dandelions, they’ll come back with a vengeance. But this isn’t actually the case. The reality of the situation is that you need to control dandelions otherwise they will spread.
Part of controlling them involves regular mowing. Dandelions reproduce by spreading their seeds using the wind. First, the weed will go to flower producing a bright yellow bloom that is very noticeable in your lawn and is one of the reasons that a lot of gardeners want rid of them.
After this, the yellow flower will turn into what we call a dandelion clock. This fluffy, white head is actually made up from lots of tiny seeds. When the wind catches them, they come off the plant and are spread to a new location, creating more dandelions.
But, if you can mow the dandelions before they go to seed, then you will have a much easier time controlling them. So mowing dandelions won’t spread them, it’ll actually help in your plight to eradicate them from your yard.
How To Prevent Dandelions From Spreading
Now that we understand what causes dandelions and how they reproduce, we need to start thinking about how to prevent them. Of course, you’re never going to be able to stop fresh dandelion seeds from blowing into your garden, there are things you can do to stop them from getting out of control. Here are some tips.
- Make sure that you start your plan of attack early enough. The best time to begin is in the spring as the dandelions won’t have yet had a chance to start spreading. The moment you see the first dandelions appearing, get outside and pull them out from the roots. Be sure to remove the whole thing as even just a small amount of root left behind can create further problems. Note that it’s easier to remove the plant when the soil is moist.
- There are times when mulching will do your lawn favors, even where dandelions are concerned. However, when the flowers are in bloom, it is vital that you mow and bag the clippings to stop any flowers from going to seed. It can also be useful to hand cut the blooms for greater accuracy.
- A healthy lawn is essential in the fight against dandelions so do your best to keep it thick. The thicker the lawn, the less chance dandelions have of thriving. The best way to achieve a dense lawn is to set the cutting height as high as possible. Of course, do keep in mind the specific needs of your lawn type and mow according to this.
- Just like any other type of plant, dandelions need certain conditions to grow. They prefer alkaline soils with a pH more than 7. Perform a soil test to discover the pH of the lawn soil and then you can amend it as needed. Do keep in mind that most lawns prefer a pH of around 6.5 so don’t adjust it so much that it affects the health of the grass.
- If the problem is very severe then you may need to use a herbicide to control the dandelions. If you’re going to do this then we would suggest applying the chemicals during the fall as this is when the dandelions store up nutrients in their root systems. Products such as Roundup are particularly effective but you don’t have to go down the chemical route. It’s also possible to use things like boiling water but do remember that this will also affect the grass. In the spring, it can be helpful to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to stop seeds that haven’t already germinated.
- When fall comes around, be sure to overseed any sparse areas of the lawn in order to make sure that the dandelions have as little chance as possible to thrive.
When Is The Best Time To Get Rid Of Dandelions?
A lot of people will tell you that dandelions bloom all year round. However, for the most part, these perennials will start to die back once the weather gets a little colder. However, under the ground, their root systems remain incredibly strong and this is one of the reasons that these weeds are so persistent.
During the fall, the dandelions will send all their nutrients from the leaves and right down into the roots. This means that this is the best time to treat the weeds with a herbicide. When you apply the chemicals, they will be directly absorbed by the leaves which will send them onto the roots.
If you have a dandelion problem in the spring and don’t want to use chemicals in your garden then it is possible to harvest them. You can use the leaves in a salad or it is possible to boil them and even use them in a stir fry.
And it doesn’t end there, dandelion roots can be used to make a super nutritious herbal tea. If you harvest the plant before it goes to seed then you’ll get a really amazing taste.
What’s brilliant about dandelion leaves is that they are super high in things like iron, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. So, not only will you be ridding your garden of those pesky weeds but you’ll also be providing yourself with some homegrown health benefits; what could be better?
Dandelions are very common weeds that are found all over the world. One of the places that we regularly see them is on domestic lawns and while some might consider the yellow blooms pretty, most people find them nothing but a nuisance on an otherwise perfectly manicured lawn.
But dandelions are one of the most persistent weeds on the planet because their seeds are spread through a mere gust of wind. Unless you stay on top of mowing, the flowers will quickly go to seed and the problem will continue to grow.
You may have been told that mowing dandelions causes them to spread but the opposite is true. Regular mowing along with things like keeping the grass thick, herbicides, and tackling the problem at the right time of year can all contribute to a dandelion-free lawn.