Dandelion mulching or disposal?

(Question)

I have been served dandelions as a salad, but wonder about whether they can be mulched in the hot sun, so they can be reused as mulch? Do they have to be discarded outside the yard?
If they’re dug up before going to seed, shouldn’t we be safe in using them to smother other plants?
It seems irreverent to dispose the plant from their place of germination, and I was wondering about the science behind disposal, if there has to discarding.
I have a fence, and a strong barrier of robust hostas to minimize blowing over to a discriminating gardening neighbour, who values her veggies.

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your interesting suggestion of using dandelions (Taraxacum) as a mulch. They would work well helping to retain moisture in the soil and adding nutrients and organic matter as they decompose, the caveat here is the dandelions should be dug up prior to flowering. Dandelions do not have to be discarded outside your property and many of us add the plants with unopened flowers to our composters. Once the flowers are open and pollinated, however, they will produce viable seeds which continue to mature into the billowing seedhead even after the dandelion plant is pulled from the ground.

Dandelion and other seed-free weed mulches are espoused by Permaculture gardeners. Read the enthusiastic comments here: http://www.desertwoman.net/weeds.shtml

Wikipedia has a fascinating article on the subject of Dandelions, containing description, history, uses, etc.

We wish you great success with your dandelion seed-free mulch, and some lovely salads too.