Dandelion: Why NOT to kill Dandelions....

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VA
BonniePega
May 5, 2018 6:11 AM CST
It's one of the first flowers to greet the early bees and butterflies venturing out in the spring. From March to May, they're covered with flowers—when few other pollinator-friendly flowers are out. Other pollinator-friendly flowers like Rudbeckias (Black-Eyed-Susans), echinaceas (Coneflowers), zinnias, Bee Balms, marigolds, etc. won't join the parade until summer.

Butterflies, ladybugs, honeybees, bumblebees, even fireflies eat the nectar from the flowers, while goldfinches and sparrows like the seeds. Rabbits and chipmunks nibble on the greens. Hoverflies, an important predatory insect (their larvae eat vast quantities of aphids) love dandelion nectar.

They are actually good, long-term, for the soil. Their long thick tap roots not only bring nutrients to the surface, where they are more available for other plants, but they help to aerate compacted soil.

jboren37
May 7, 2018 5:20 PM CST
I've often wondered about this, is there a good reason other than appearance to get rid of them? They're not noxious or poisonous, in fact you can eat the greens, they bloom early and all summer, and attract pollinators. I happen to think they're pretty, and other than wanting a golf-course-style lawn, why would I go to the trouble of removing them? I'll pull them out of flowerbeds, where they don't fit in, and the garden, but I don't even worry about them anywhere else. They're pretty, require no care, and after I mow, you can't even tell they were there for the most part. It always seemed like one of those things we do because whoever we learned yardcare from taught us to (my Mom taught me), but we never stop to think why and if we still need to. I could be ignorant of other reasons so I'm curious why folks spend the time/chemicals to get rid of them.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
May 7, 2018 5:28 PM CST
I don't mind them in the lawn either. Jolly yellow flowers that remind me to get the spuds in the ground.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Western Montana
lovinthedirt
Apr 27, 2019 8:44 AM CST
Not only are dandelions good source of nectar for bees and butterflies in the spring, but they are good for humans too. I did extensive research on this plant for a writing class and these are some of the things I found. Did you know that the dandelion is in the same family as Echinacea? It is very popular for making wine and tea, and coffee can be made from the roots. Every part of the plant is edible! Young leaves can be used in salads, soups, stews, or eaten plain. Flowers are also edible and can be sauteed just like mushrooms. Roots can be boiled or baked, and coffee can be made from the roots as well. The root has been used for centuries as a tonic, diuretic, and mild laxative. The plant is an excellent source of vitamins B, C, G. K, potassium Flowers are a high source of lecithin, which has been shown to treat a variety of liver problems. They also contain boron & silicon, which are important in bone preservation, and may help prevent Alzheimer's. Studies have shown that dandelion tea can help relieve respiratory problems, acts as a diuretic, and helps reduce swelling from sprains or localized infections. And one cup of cooked greens contains over 7,000 units of vitamin A - compared to 1,275 units of vitamin A in the same amount of cooked carrots. Preliminary studies on diabetic mice have also shown that the dandelion MIGHT also help normalize blood sugar. (A WORD OF CAUTION: Dandelion also contains latex, and should not be used by anyone with a latex allergy!)

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