Assuming I’m removing the dandelion root properly as I weed more systematically, is the idea to remove the entire root only, or can the other parts of the plant germinate? I try to dispose of all of the flower and leaves, respectively.
Also, do seeds blow easily from other gardens, since they must germinate quickly, because I note the root length for each one, and rarely sever the root.
I suppose it’s too late to consider a barrier, but if I wanted to, how small are seeds to consider a barrier’s quality, such as a tightly woven landscape fabric?
I think that this just lasts for the month of may, if I’m diligent, so I can spend some time doing other garden tasks.
Is a dandelion in west end toronto the same type as the grocery store product, since the grocery store ones have longer, slender leaves?
The Dandelion – pretty flower or dastardly weed? Good question…..
The dandelion, Taraxacum is native to North America and Eurasia, with the most common one seen here being one introduced from Europe, but the species are mostly T. officinale and T. eyrthrospermum. This answers one of your questions with regards to the different types – yes, the ones in your garden may be a different variety from the ones at the grocery store. That being said, all dandelions are edible, quite nutritious and can be added to salads, smoothies or used for making tea – resources for good methods of harvesting, cleaning, cooking and storing can easily be found in many cookbooks or online.
Many varieties of dandelion produce seed asexually which means they don’t need to be pollinated even though the flowers are a vital early source of food for many pollinators. When the plants reproduce this way, baby plants are identical to the parent which is why you have the same variety growing within specific geographic locations. Once those bright yellow flowers fade, the seed heads take about 1 week – 10 days to mature, dry and start dispersing. The lovely big fluffy seed heads, that we all used to blow as children, are held aloft and the wind carries each seed off with its individual little parachute. Each flower will produce many seeds so it’s important to remove dandelion plants before this happens if you want to control the spread.
Seeds will plant themselves where they land and if the environment is conducive, they begin to grow into a rosette of leaves. If left, these are herbaceous perennials which can survive our Canadian winter. Removal of the tap root is what you want to accomplish if you wish diminish the plant population in your yard as the rest of the plant will not re-grow. The best time to get onto this garden task is now in May when the plants yellow flowers advertise their location. There are several different tools available to get this task done, check out your local hardware store or garden centre.
Unfortunately, as the tiny seeds are wind borne, there is very little you can do to stop them if they are in your surrounding neighbourhood. A tightly woven landscape fabric may help but looks somewhat unattractive in garden beds so mulching with a cedar mulch may be an option to limit soil availability for the seeds to germinate in. These plants get everywhere, I’ve seen them growing in paved driveways, evestroughs, rock crevaces, stone pathways etc……
Vigilance is the best way to go about ridding your property of these plants and I would recommend you keep a look out all season long for young plants rather than just tackling the job in May and thinking you’re done. Good luck.