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Dandelions

 
Nick Lovgren
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Hi, I'm new to the forum. I'm trying to get a decent lawn organically. My first problem I want to tackle are dandelions, there are dozens of them on my ~1/2 acre of lawn. So far I plan on getting a fiskars weeder, then if I don't get the whole root, pouring some vinegar down the hole. The vinegar down the hole is my idea, has anyone tried this? Does this sound like a good plan?
 
Ben Plummer
gardener
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b
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Welcome to permies. Did you see Paul's article on the topic of organic lawn care? There's also a lengthy thread on the topic. This post may answer your question.

Also, here's high praise for dandelions.
 
Nick Lovgren
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Yes, I did read that article, that is what led me to hear. I guess I'll have to reread it. I planned on doing soil samples after I took care of the dandelions and altering my pH if needed, if that is what you were referring to.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Welcome to permies Nick !
Let me first ask you why you need to get rid of them ?
Then let me say that because of this website and the articles listed by Ben, I now "get rid" of my dandelions by eating them. I had a very sweet one just last night. No wonder the bees like them so much.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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I make salads, wine, and medicines from our copious quantities of dandelions, having long ago given up trying to fight them. I do however try to remove flower heads from the ones in the lawn/veg garden - usually to use in wine and medicine, but otherwise i throw them in a bucket of water to ooze so they don't seed even more.
 
Nick Lovgren
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Thanks for the welcomes and quick replies. I mainly want to get rid of them for aesthetic reasons, I live in a residential area. I do plan on making tea and salads out of them after ripping them out and composting the rest. I wouldn't mind a few, but there is patches where there is barely any grass and a lot of dandelions. I'm planning on trying to keep the front grass clear of them and have a few in the back yard. I also hate how fast they shoot up after I mow, I would have to mow every other day to keep up with them.

So do you think that pouring a little vinegar into the hole after I rip them out is a good idea?
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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A lot of folks here love dandelions and encourage them. But I know the pressure to have a lawn that looks like everybody else's - or the desire to have an even better looking lawn based on those wacky standards.

Let's see if we can solve this for you.

Do you have a LOT of dandelions, or just a few? I think that having a lot of dandelions would suggest a very thin soil. Can you dig a hole about two feet deep and post a pic? Deep, rich soil will do lots of things for you, including helping your grass to outcompete the dandelion.

Next, what all are you willing to grow in your lawn? Yarrow? Clover?

Are you mowing high?
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Marianne West
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Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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I wished i had your problem! I am trying to seed them all over because I love to eat them so much - but not much luck
 
Marianne West
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Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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Here is something I am doing. This is not addressing getting rid of Dandelion, but maybe your need to do so. I live in an Urban environment and have been turning my front yard into a jungle like food growing system (code for not very neat and row like or manicured. But facing the street, I have a hedge of Bird of Paradise, large agaves. lions tail and some other pretty and/or unusual trees such as Buddha's hand. This I keep pretty neat looking. My point is that the eye of people walking by is drawn to the pretty front and it somehow makes it okay what they see behind. So far, I have gotten lots of positive feed back and got to meet many neighbors. As we go along, I am planning on growing more edibles along the front line and invite people to help themselves - that should create more friends for what I am doing.
Also, the hedge serves the double purpose of catching pollutants from the street, protecting my edibles from this unwanted input.
 
Diane Lewis
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Hi Nick,

I love the Fiskars weed remover too!
If you have lots of dandelions it is a sign that your soil is not supporting your lawn. The most common problem causing tons of dandelions is compaction. So I would aerate your lawn and overseed with a grass seed well suited to your climate. I would also have the soil tested. you may need to balance the pH with some lyme or replace missing nutrients. Soil bacteria don't just need N, P, K, so compost is a wonderful way to replace nutrients in a balanced manner.
And Miles makes a good point, part of it is a change of outlook. Healthy children playing on a lawn with a few dandelions is much better than using toxic stuff to get rid of them. I have dandelion recipes in my book by a good friend and a well known cook book author Ed Giobbi.
A lot of people are changing the way they look at dandelions. Our garden club visited Martha Stewart's farm and there were dandelions and buttercups in the fields because she thinks they are pretty.
 
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