The last two summers have been particularly bad for Dandelions with even the neatest of lawns looking more like an ugly meadow than a neat green lawn. The Dandelion has come in for much criticism over the years and it is short on friends in the gardening world. If lawn care is your thing then you would probably be happy that they didn’t exist at all.
But I believe the first line of defence against any weed is to get to know it, who knows? You might end up liking it. So let’s give it a go.
Taraxacum Officnale in Latin or Caisearbhan as Gaeilge, the Dandelion also has many common names including pee the bed, piss the bed, pisterbed, wet the bed, oh and heart fever grass and clock. It is probably the most recognisable weed in Ireland whether lawn care is your thing or not.
The idea behind controlling weeds by getting to know them is that a weed can become a welcome wildflower to your garden like a daisy, cow slip or buttercup and lawn care can be less about killing ‘weeds’ and more about embracing native flowers
The flower head of Dandelions could be considered attractive, if you can remove yourself from the fact that each flower head holds a collection of seeds ready to infest more of your lawn. The Dandelion flower head has been used by children over the years in games. One such game was to determine the time of day by seeing how many blows it would take to clear a flower of its seeds. Hence the name ‘clock’.
Interestingly the idea that Dandelions make you wet the bed is not just in Ireland but also in France and Holland (pisenlit)
As with all Irish weeds they come with a long list of medicinal benefit s and folklore beliefs. The Dandelion is believed to cure coughs, colds, warts, pevent liver and kidney damage and others. Of course you would have to pick them to avail of these benefits and we all know what that might lead to, so probably not worth the risk
The only reason most people pick Dandelions today is to care for their lawns and keep their lawns weed free.
If you still don’t want Dandelions on your lawn then there are a number of lawn care options available to you. Using a lawn weed killer such as Dicophar will stunt and kill Dandelions, however two or more applications may be necessary as Dandelions have long deep roots. Another lawn care option is to use a lawn weeder and this has a moderate success rate as generally the weeder leaves a small amount of root behind, which eventually regrows into a healthy pissy bed.
The one crucial lawn care tip for dealing with Dandelions is to remove them before they develop their ‘clock’ or seed head.