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Archive for Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blame wet September for weed glut

Caleb Miller, 10, amuses himself with dandelions as he waits for a ride home Monday near Kennedy School.

Caleb Miller, 10, amuses himself with dandelions as he waits for a ride home Monday near Kennedy School.

May 12, 2009

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On the street

What do you do about dandelions in your yard?

I do broadleaf fertilizer before the year starts and then I dig them out as the year goes on.

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Wet season brings more dandelions

An increase in the number of dandelions in the community is the result of a significant amount of rainfall eight months ago, according to one Lawrence garden expert. Enlarge video

A rabbit munches on a dandelion.

A rabbit munches on a dandelion.

You may have noticed an increase of yellow and white dotting all the green recently. Perhaps you even have a backache from trying to get rid of it.

An increase in the number of dandelions in the community is the result of a significant amount of rainfall eight months ago, according to one Lawrence garden expert.

Ann Peuser, owner of Clinton Parkway Nursery, said the 16 inches of precipitation the area experienced over several days in September presented perfect conditions for dandelion growth this spring. The weeds germinate in August and September, mature in the spring and are best controlled around the end of October, she said.

Diana Brookshire, of Lawrence, said she’s certainly noticed the increase in dandelion growth, as she’s working hard to keep her yard free of them.

“If you want a nice-looking yard, you do not want too many dandelions sprouting up with their little white, fuzzy heads,” Brookshire said.

While Peuser said all the weeds popping up have been good business for weed-killer sales, Brookshire said she’s been using vinegar to kill them off.

“That has worked very well,” she said. “It’s cheap and it doesn’t hurt the environment.”

The weeds are also noticeable and prevalent in city parks and along the city’s rights of way. Mark Hecker, Lawrence parks superintendent, said the city has received a handful of complaints.

Hecker said that it would be cost-prohibitive for the city to rid the more than 3,000 acres of park space and other city land of the weeds, since they spring up only for a relatively short time each year.

“For the most part, we just ride it out,” he said. “We spray only really high-profile areas like ball diamonds and golf courses.”

Peuser said dandelions will continue to mature through June, though we’re past the peak growing season.

“You’ll still see quite a few,” she said. “Mother Nature has a lot of insurance policies and one of them is not everything sprouts on the same day.”

Some things you can do to fight dandelions

If you have dandelions in your yard, Ann Peuser, owner of Clinton Parkway Nursery, said you can:

• Pull them, but try to get as much of the root as you can so they won’t regrow.

• Use weed killer, though it may require multiple treatments.

• Live with them; they’ll be gone by July.

To avoid dandelions next year, Peuser said you should:

• Reseed your yard if the dandelion growth is thick, but talk to a professional about when to begin the process.

• Treat your yard with weed killer around Halloween, when the growth begins.

• Hope for limited rain in September and October, when the weeds germinate.

Comments

farmgal 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't mind a few dandelions. The Indigo Buntings (birds) love feasting on them. People who have the boring Chem Lawn mono-culture for the lawn, probably don't get to observe the various beautiful little song birds who love the weeds.

I have noticed a bumper crop this year of chickweed, which I hate. It seems to have a high water content and only wants to clog up my mower. But, the Indigo Buntings have been feasting on it for a week now.

I think people have forgotten one of the main importances of vegetation in your yard and that is to hold the soil and prevent soil erosion. Everything today is caught up in aesthetics. I'm glad that some people have some common sense and not everyone buys into the Chem Lawn approach to lawn care with it's toxic chemicals.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 5 months ago

I do like a neat yard, but that does not mean I want the grass to look like artificial turf and the flower beds to look like I bought them at Dollar Tree. I like dandelions and no offense to the little yellow darlings but I do have other matters in the forefront of my mind right now. Okay, maybe not right this instant. If you are having medical problems these postings and letters can be diverting. Laughter is the best medicine. Note: I am not calling the dandelions cowards.

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George_Braziller 5 years, 5 months ago

Pick a bunch of them when they have turned to "fluff" and give it a spark. It's pretty cool. A short-lived blast of flame.

My sister and I used to do that in the yard with my dad's discarded lighters.

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