Dandelions: Friend or Foe?
It’s no surprise we ended our spring in Michigan with record setting rainfall when you consider it’s rained 52 days since March 1st. With over 14” of rain, 2011 will go down as the 2nd rainiest spring since 1947!
One plant that seems to have benefited from all that rain is the dandelion. Looks like they’re everywhere! Springing up in flower beds and turning lawns into what I like to call “dandelawns”!
Tackling them in my own garden, I have to wonder: what good are they? Looking for an answer, I was surprised to discover dandelions actually have fans! They’re the official flower of the University of Rochester. That long root that makes it hard to kill? It brings up nutrients for plants with shorter roots. Found worldwide, dandelions were originally brought here to the Midwest from Europe to provide food for bees.
Some folks actually cultivate them as food or drink. Nutritionists say their leaves are higher in beta carotene than carrots with more iron than spinach. Did these people choose to eat the dandelion once they found out they couldn’t kill it? Sort of, if we can’t beat it, eat it?
I’ve never seen a foot high dandelion (they can grow to 18” in height) or stuck around to watch them at night, but apparently the yellow flowers are sensitive to light, closing at dusk. In fact, the only way I like to see dandelions are like this, after a meeting with Mr. Weed Killer!
What do you think about dandelions? Friend or foe?