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Taking the roar out of a dandelion can be done simply and organically - no muss, no fuss
Take care of your dandelion problem with a quick snip, courtesy of your Swiss Army Knife
Dandelions – as cute and happy as they might look with their bright-yellow flowers – can actually become a menace, once the flower transforms into a globe of fluffy seed pods ready to fly off and invade other parts of your lawn and garden.
The Swiss actually came up with the first (and best) all-natural and organic method of eliminating dandelions from a lawn.
It’s called the Swiss Army Knife.
While I’m not sure this was their intent at the time, I have eliminated thousands of dandelions in my day all because I carry this knife in my pocket at all times. It also gets used time and time again for pruning and plucking. I’d highly recommend having one in your pocket, as you’ll find it extremely useful in the garden.
The technique I use for controlling dandelions with my Swiss Army Knife is to simply cut the dandelion top off as far below the surface of the lawn as the knife will reach. The top gives way easily for disposal and your lawn will quickly fill in the bare spot left. If the flower has not transformed into seed and is still its sunny self, you can simply compost the whole thing; if they are seedy, however, it’s best not take a chance so either bury them deeply or put them out with the waste recycling at curbside.
The dandelion has what is known as a tap root. That’s a root that looks almost like a small carrot and can grow several inches deep into the soil. Obviously, when you cut that dandelion out of your lawn, some of this deep root will be left behind.
Depending on the time of year, that tap root will either simply die, as it won’t have the energy to send out new growth, or it will have the reserves to send out new growth and a two-headed dandelion will emerge. This is not because it has transformed into an alien form of lawn invader, but is actually quite a normal reaction that plants can have when the central leader is removed.
A couple of weeks after cutting the mother dandelion, if you notice two smaller shoots growing from where you’ve cut the mother dandelion out, simply cut it off one more time. After a second slicing, the remaining tap root will not have the energy to send out shoots for a third time.
That’s the way to take the roar out of the dandelion.
Ask Wim your burning garden questions at his upcoming book-signing in North Vancouver, Saturday, June 15 from noon to 2 pm, at Black Bond Books in the Lynn Valley Shopping Centre.
Which fruits and vegetables grow best in patio pots? When is the best time to cut back rhodos? These are just some of the 100+ burning questions that garden expert Wim Vander Zalm answers in his frank, friendly and often funny bestselling new book Just Ask Wim! Down-to-Earth Gardening Answers.