Dandelion Control

It’s dandelion season. As cheerful as those yellow blooms are, they are problematic for lawns. The broad leaves crowd out grass, and when the yellow flowers die off, you’re left with patchy and rather unattractive lawn. I keep the dandelions in check with a bit of manual labor. I dig them out. I used to do this on my hands and knees, but I’ve found the most wonderful tool. My back is grateful for the “garden weasel weed popper” (is that a great name, or what?)

tool

 

It twists out a plug of dirt and the dandelion, roots and all.

weeder

 

Every few days I go out to my yard and remove the dandelions. A task like this is somehow deeply gratifying in the way that tidying up can be. It’s also satisfying to the hens, who get the weeds and dirt. They now recognize what I’m doing, and watch with great anticipation, waiting for the tub to be dumped into their pen.

hens and dandelions

 

A little on-going maintenance is all that’s needed for a lawn like this. No chemicals.

lawn

 

There are dandelions at the stable where Tonka lives. The grassy slope on the way to the paddocks is abloom. It’s not a formal lawn, and it’s not something to try to control.

Tonk on grass

 

However, Tonka is doing his bit to keep that patch tidy. He likes his salad with dandelion greens and flowers.

Tonka mouth

 

Yesterday we went exploring over some hayfields. What a glorious day! That rise in the background is Mount Wachusett, thirty miles away.

mount

 

After the ride, as a reward, I let Tonka graze along the edge of the field by the parking lot. The dandelions were knee high. Despite the timothy growing all around, Tonka went for the flowers.

T dandlion mouth

 

Tonka says that he’d be happy to help the farmer clear the field of the weeds anytime. Sorry, Tonka, that hayfield is off-limits!

hay field

Comments:

  1. I think dandelions are sweet, the blossoms, so are like dessert! Out here on the short grass prairie, they gives bees something to forage.

  2. We have dandelions everywhere. My husband thinks they are beautiful in bloom. I don’t, but I have given up…they have out numbered the hours in a day it would take to pull them out. So, I gather them from the edge of our hay field, under the pine and fir trees, my flower beds and garden. My chickens love them and we have the most beautiful yellow yolked eggs! My grandmother made wine from them and added them to her salads…..they can be useful:)

    • My grandparents made wine as well out of them.

      My hens won’t eat the flower.

  3. Dandelions are amazing herbs. The pioneers thoughts so highly of them that they imported them from Europe! One of the simplest, most helpful things I can do for the bees, my garden, and my animals, is to simply let them grow. Their taproots bring up nutrients for my plants, and when they bloom, it’s one of the earliest and best flowers for bees. I love my dandelions. I twist off clumps of leaves to feed all my critters….being careful not to take too much of the root. I want them to regrow.

  4. I don’t go crazy attacking dandelions here. I have a lizard, hermit crabs, and Dubia roaches that like to eat them. The roaches and hermit crabs love the roots as well, but the flowers are everyone’s favorite.

  5. We have dandelions everywhere too. I do try to keep them at bay, but it seems to be a losing battle this year. My neighbour doesn’t like them at all. They are retired, and have very few, so they can keep them under control on their property. Since I would like to stay on good terms with them, I make the effort to keep digging them up on our side of the property line too. The chickens aren’t really all that keen on eating them, and neither am I, so they are mostly disposed of as garbage. On the plus side, because of the sheer numbers I’ve dug up this year, I won’t need to aerate my lawn – it’s full of holes where dandelions used to be. ;-) I am thankful that I have a weed removal tool similar to yours, Terry. It makes the job much easier.

  6. My chickens have their own strip of garden by the side of their run which I have planted with chard and dandelions. Any dandelions I find in the garden get planted in their strip and I harvest the leaves in the same way as the chard, leaving the root so they continue to grow. The chickens really love the dandelion leaves and their eggs are a lovely orange colour. I love that this is free source of greens for them.

  7. My girls enjoy dandelions and wild lettuce, another common weed in my garden. But what they love even more is the soil attached to the roots. I make an effort not to shake it off before putting the clumps into my weeding pot. I love to watch the hens when I dump the pot into their yard. They attack it with great purpose, obviously expecting a good mine of worms and beetles, scratching, then backing off and looking keenly at the nothing.

    On another topic, Terry, tell us about the cute ear covers on Tonka!? i’ve never seen those before!

    • I’m glad that you mentioned this. My hens don’t eat the entire plant either – but the activity of finding things in the attached soil, the shredding of the leaves, etc. keeps them busy and healthy.
      The ear cover on Tonka is to keep the flies off. Not a new idea. People have used crocheted fly sheets for hundreds of years. He’s fussy about anything tickling/biting his ears, and that little cover protects him.