Dandelions are perennial plants. They flower beginning in early spring and continue through the summer.
Description and Life Cycle:
- Dark green leaves have slightly ragged edges to deep, saw-like teeth, pointed ends.
- Leaves form basal rosette.
- Flower stalk can grow to 12 inches tall or more.
- Brilliant yellow ray flowers to 2 inches across; later form fluffy white seed heads.
- Blooms spring into winter.
- Taproot can extend several feet into soil.
- Reproduced by seed and from root crowns; root can send up new leaves.
Root System: Dandelion has a strong taproot that it is commonly 6 to 18 inches deep but can penetrate to a depth of 10 feet or more. Buds grow from the uppermost part of the root to produce a crown. The roots can re-generate new plants even after the plant has been cut off at or below the soil surface. Sections of root as short as 1 inch can produce a new plant.
- Roots may be dried, ground, and made into coffee substitute.
- Leaves are nutritious spring green (mature leaves are bitter)
- Flowers can be brewed into brandy-like wine.
- Sap from flower stems can used to treat skin ailments.
- Flowers are excellent source of nectar for bees and other beneficial insects.
- Dandelions can raise the pH of acid soil.
- Remove young plants by hand; remove the crown, taproot, and fibrous roots.
- Mature plants have deep taproots; remove entire taproot with forked dandelion prong. Do not leave any part of the root behind; sections of root as small as 1 inch can re-generate a new plant.
- Do not let plant flower and scatter seed. Dandelion seeds are windborne and can easily travel for several miles to establish new plants.
Range: Throughout the United Stats and southern Canada.
Botanical Name: Taraxacum officinale
Four Quick Ways to Control Weeds:
- Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
- Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
- Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
- Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.