Many gardeners and garden lovers look forward to springtime, which brings warm weather and the opportunity to appreciate the gardens. Yet, this period also brings with it a problem in the form of dandelions, which can quickly infest gardens and lawns.
It is straightforward for dandelions to adapt hardy climates, hard to kill with the best weed eater and they also proliferate very rapidly.
Even though dandelions have developed a reputation for being a weed, they also have a good side. The several pros and cons of dandelions should be analyzed.
Getting to Know Dandelions
A common misconception is that dandelions are a weed, but they have the potential to be beneficial. There are an incredible 100 different species of these plants, and every one of them happens to possess useful abilities.
This herbaceous plant can grow up to 17 inches, even with a hollow stem. The leaves have toothed edges.
One of the most active elements that aid dandelion with strong proliferation capabilities is their ability to do with pollination.
However, there are beneficial types of insects that will help pollinate this plant species.
The seeds of the plant can also be dispersed by wind. Incredibly, the seeds can travel up to a distance of 5 miles through wind before falling down.
Benefits of Dandelions
The most significant benefit of dandelion is seen in the areas of healthy eating, as they have been used as a medicine for several centuries.
The therapeutic properties of dandelion can help reduce blood sugar levels, as it is an excellent antioxidant. Hence, it is used to fight problems like acne, urinary disorders, cirrhosis, blood pressure, jaundice, eczema, and edema.
The addition of dandelion to salads can be highly nutritious, and recent studies have also shown a lot of promise when it comes to using dandelion roots in the treatment of cancer.
There is a substantial benefit to a dandelion in terms of cross-pollination for other plant species, as these are capable of attracting bees in large numbers.
The plant also manages to break down nutrients found in the soil, and this is good news for nearby plants with shallow roots. Some of the crucial nutrients available in these plans are iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. These are also rich in detoxifying agents.
Most of the dandelion parts are edible, and they are used in several cuisines across the world. Leaves and buds are especially tasty when young. It is possible to eat the leaves with or without cooking, as it goes well with a variety of items like soup or salad.
Also see: Best Edible Flowers You Can Grow at Home.
The flowers can be used in dandelion wine, while the roots can be used in tea. One can even come across pickles made out of these roots. This tea is widely used as a health supplement, as it has small levels of diuretic properties.
Disadvantages of Dandelions
Even though there are wonderful medicinal properties within a dandelion, it is also considered as a weed by many lawn enthusiasts and gardeners. Dandelion has the potential to endure a lot of difficult growing conditions, and this makes them excellent at overcoming other plant species.
The humble grass is often the first to succumb when dandelions are present, as the grass is pushed down to make way. One of the big disadvantages of dandelions is also a substantial reduction in nutrient and water levels for nearby plants.
Since dandelion is capable of proliferation rather quickly, it is quite possible to have a large number of these plants in a short period. If the location happens to be windy, these plants can end up spreading over large areas and becoming a menace.
Best Way To Get Rid of or Control Dandelions
Since it is effortless for dandelions to spread, it needs to be quickly evacuated from a lawn or garden before it becomes a huge problem. It is possible to use two different methods to reduce the problem of dandelions. They are:
Best Dandelion Killer
Two forms of herbicide can make a significant impact – broadleaf herbicide and non-selective herbicide. The former will be able to overcome broadleaf weeds like dandelions.
They have the advantage of causing only dandelions damage while not being effective on grass. The non-selective variety will be able to overcome any plant it comes in contact with.
Hence, it is excellent for reducing these products on walkways and flower beds. Both of these choices are quite effective when it comes to eliminating this problem.
When it comes to looking for the best dandelion killer, it all depends on preference (brand, herbicide, etc.). However, it is crucial to apply these chemicals in advance so that the plant does not develop flowers.
Once flowers have become profound, it becomes challenging to think about using pesticides, herbicides, or even manual controls after a while.
Dandelion Removal Tool and Hand Digging For Control
The hand digging can be a very useful form of pest/weed control. This process is ideally performed in spring when seedlings start to appear.
There are special tools in the market – like dandelion pullers – that can swiftly assist any newcomer to learn.
Since the roots of these plants go a lot deeper, the removal process is considered complete only when the entire taproot is eliminated.
Even before dandelions occur in the garden, it is possible to take precautionary measures and to eliminate the weed by using a pre-emergent control.
This can be applied towards the end of winter so that they are more effective. The primary objective of this chemical is to reduce germination.
Benefits of Consuming Dandelions
Even though a sea of issues surrounds dandelions, it has to be able to find its way into our food thanks to its medicinal properties. The higher growth rate of these products is capitalized to a great extent by their inclusion in several recipes.
Dandelion coffee is an excellent opportunity for people to experience this drink without a bout of caffeine. It is also used in wine, but one of the best ways to consume dandelions is by steaming or boiling the greens until it becomes tender.
Then, it can be garnished with lemon or butter juice. The blossoms that are not opened can make for an excellent tender vegetable. For such extraordinary purposes, opting for a non-polluting and organic dandelion makes a lot of sense.
Wrapping Up Dandelions: Friend or Foe For a Gardener?
If you love gardening, it all goes down to how you view things. Dandelions can be both a friend and a foe as they have plenty of benefits and disadvantages.
Whether you use the plant for its medical benefits, to make coffee, or for cross-pollination, it's essential to understand if you can use it for anything.
If not, and your plants are especially important, use herbicide, hand-digging, or pre-emergent control to remove and control dandelions.
What do you think about the pros and cons of dandelions? Leave a comment below!