Grasshoppers Quick Tip - Dandelions

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Dandelions can be pretty to look at, a nice addition to a summer salad, and can be used to make a sweet wine. Only in the twentieth century did humans decide that the dandelion was a weed. Before the invention of lawns, the golden blossoms and lion-toothed leaves were more likely to be praised as a bounty of food, medicine and magic. Gardeners used to weed out the grass to make room for the dandelions. But with the expansion of lawns as a major component of many landscapes, dandelions were considered weeds.  Dandelions are thirsty, and are not good for the health of your lawn because they require a lot of water to grow and will not hesitate to steal it from your lawn.

“Dandelions can be pretty to look at, a nice addition to a summer salad, and can be used to make a sweet wine.”

“Dandelions can be pretty to look at, a nice addition to a summer salad, and can be used to make a sweet wine.”

“Dandelions are thirsty…they require a lot of water…and will not hesitate to steal it from your lawn".”

“Dandelions are thirsty…they require a lot of water…and will not hesitate to steal it from your lawn".”

Here is a Grasshoppers Quick Tip to tackle those small dandelion trouble spots on your lawn. Nobody likes to spray harmful chemicals around their property, especially if there are any kids or dogs running around. So we recommend a homemade natural solution of white vinegar and biodegradable dish soap for those pesky dandelions. The acetic acid found in white vinegar is an effective natural herbicide. The dish soap helps the solution stick to the dandelion so the vinegar can work more effectively.

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Ingredients:

  • 1-Half gallon of White Vinegar

  • 2-Tablespoons of Biodegradable Dish Soap

  • ...and as with any good recipe, a dash of salt

“Mix the white vinegar, dish soap and a dash of salt together and put it in a spray bottle.”

“Mix the white vinegar, dish soap and a dash of salt together and put it in a spray bottle.”

Directions:

Mix the white vinegar, dish soap and a dash of salt together and put it in a spray bottle. Spray onto dandelion plant while being careful not to spray onto your lawn. The last step is to wait it out. You should see the dandelion plants begin to wilt within three to four days, and the plant should die within weeks (remember, timing is critical - you need to treat the dandelion problem before they develop a seed head).

“…timing is critical - you need to treat the dandelion problem before they develop a seed head.”

“…timing is critical - you need to treat the dandelion problem before they develop a seed head.”

Mechanical extraction by hand weeding is also a solution to smaller patches of dandelion. They have a tap root, and can be difficult to pull in hard, dry soil, so it is best to water the area first to soften soil, and then get to work pulling the plants.

Obviously, both of these approaches will be difficult if there is a dense mat of dandelions - if they persist and become a nuisance that you want to get rid of, please give us a call.

Thank you for visiting our blog! We hope this natural dandelion solution helps take care of those small problem spots.






Five Steps to Spring Yard Prep

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1. Clean up any loose debris

  • Leaves, broken branches, and other dead plant matter builds up over winter. It is important to clear the debris to make room for new spring growth. If you compost, most of your yard waste can be thrown in there.

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2. Prune Trees and Shrubs to promote healthy growth.

  • For summer-flowering shrubs (e.g. rose plants, butterfly bushes, fruit trees...) prune before the buds swell. These plants buds are found on new wood that will be grown this season.

  • Spring-flowering plants (e.g. azaleas, lilacs…)  on the other had sprout their buds on wood growth from the previous seasons, therefore you can prune these after the flowers are gone. For lilacs, prune immediately after blooms have fallen.

Rose buds on new wood growth.

Rose buds on new wood growth.

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3. Deal with weeds early.

  • A healthy soil is the best defense against weed proliferation! So, continue to nurse your soil by adding organic matter, compost, peat moss, etc. to promote good soil structure and a healthy soil biome.

  • If weeds persist, you have two options: mechanical removal (roots ‘n all) or chemical treatment. If you opt for chemical treatment, try organics first.  There are many examples of organic growth suppressants in your local nurseries, and even local big box stores.

  • Chemical treatments come in two forms: Pre-emergents - these reduce the likelihood of seeds germinating; Post-emergents - these kill plants once they’ve sprouted.  

    1. Step 1 - apply re-emergent herbicide (preferably a natural and organic one) to help stop weed growth before it becomes a major problem. If you already see weeds it is not too late for a pre-emergent as seeds may still exist in your beds.

    2. Step 2 - apply post-emergent herbicides (preferably a natural and organic one)

  • If you do happen to get some weeds don’t panic, get outside, enjoy the spring air and do some good old fashion hand weeding in your flower beds. For trouble weeds spot treat with an herbicide (preferable a natural and organic one) wait for it to die and then remove.

Tackle weeds early.

Tackle weeds early.

4. Proper early Spring Mowing Practices to help prevent weeds.

  • Do not mow too early in the growing season. Allow the grass to reach at least 3 inches in height (this is also a good practice for weekly mowing). This extra growing period helps strengthen your grass and preserve moisture down in the rhizosphere (root zone) while the shade your grass provides helps prevent weed growth

  • DON’T BAG -  the first few times you mow allow your grass clippings to return to the ground. Grass will dry out quickly and as it decomposes, it will provide natural nutrients and fertilization to your lawn. It is a good practice to continue this throughout the year if you can tolerate a few blades of grass blowing around.

  • Do not over or under water your lawn. With the proper amount of water your lawn will be healthier and greener. Healthy lawns require at least 1”-1 ½” of water per week during the growing season. Water deeply 2-3 times per week, rather than daily. Water as early in the morning as you can, when possible, so that the water feeds your lawn’s roots rather than evaporating. If you can't push a 6” screwdriver into your lawn, you're not watering enough. If water ponds on the surface, you’re watering too much.

DON’T BAG IT! Let that grass fertilize your lawn.

DON’T BAG IT! Let that grass fertilize your lawn.

5. Get your mower ready early.

  • Make sure you give your lawn mower a full inspection before using.

  • Replace any filter and oil you need to.

  • If you need more professional help make sure you get your mower into a shop early to beat the spring rush.

  • Sharpen your blades. Sharp blades provide a cleaner cut which helps prevent lawn diseases and torn grass.

Inspect your Lawnmower

Inspect your Lawnmower

Sharpen your lawn mower blades

Sharpen your lawn mower blades

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help bring fresh life into your yard! If you need any assistance with your spring maintenance, lawn care, or landscape design and installation please visit our Get a Quote page and we will be happy to assist you!