posted on May, 21 2009 @ 11:42 AM
reply to post by Greenize
This caught my eye. I'll throw in my two cents regarding dandelions. I'm a Rutgers certified master gardener (26 years) although I don't garden
much any more.
Yes, these were salad greens in Europe. They were brought into the US by European immigrants and as in the case of other plants out of place, they
went "wild". Don’t feel bad, the Europeans have similar problems with this weedy plant. One of the common Italian names for it is pisacan ("dog
pisses") as it shows up next to pavement and in cracks in masonry where dogs commonly piss. The accepted name dandelion is a bastardization of the
French, "Dent de lion " or lion's tooth. The leaf tips are lance shaped and thus the toothy reference.
They are members of the aster family and relatives of chrysanthemums, calendulas, dahlias, zinnias and other rather beloved ornamentals. Everyone has
pretty well covered the edible aspects of the plant. Another positive for this plant is that its deep reaching taproot pulls nutrients from deep in
the soil to the surface. The taproot helps water, air and earthworms to infiltrate into the subsoil. When I remove these plants I typically find
earthworms caught in the root system. This taproot also makes dandelions the perfect inhabitant of seemingly inhospitable compacted soils. A vacant
lot or a crack in the sidewalk demands only that the taproot do its job of digging deep for nutrients. It's no wonder that this pest also thrives in
the loose, fertile topsoil of a manicured lawn. It’s no contest.
Many think that by simply mowing a lawn you reduce the dandelion population by cutting off the flowering mechanisms. By doing this we are
participating in "unnatural" selection. Over time our mowed lawn will continue to have dandelions but mostly those that flower beneath the height of
the lawn mower setting. You can see this readily. A patch of these plants will often contain both the familiar tall stemmed and a few lower, almost
crab-like growers. Check it out.
Aside from herbicides, the best way to remove these plants is to dig out the taproot. If you pull plant parts from the surface of the soil the taproot
will normally send out new growth. A spade or hand trowel is the best way to go. Shove them straight down near the center of the plant, 6 - 12 inches
and pry back. Pull the now loosened plant from the soil by hand and shake the soil off the roots. This is where you can see the taproot, typically a
single long fat root, like a thin carrot, with thin, white feeder roots coming off of it.