Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common perennial from the Asteraceae family or Sunflower family. Dandelions grow freely especially in areas that are moist with full sun.
Dandelion leaves form clusters in the shape of a rosette around the base of the plant. The leaf can vary in length from 2” – 14” and ½” – 3” wide. The margins of the dandelion leaves are deeply jagged.
Dandelion flowers normally develop asexually rather than pollinated. The achenes seeds are around 0.13” long with five to eight ribs. Each achene has a white, feathery tuft that resembles a puffball with flower stalks that are 6” – 24” long and end in a compound inflorescence or head that has 100-300 ray flowers. All of the ray flowers have strap-shaped golden yellow petals that have five notches each at the tip.
The powerful taproot has the capacity to penetrate the soil up to 10’ – 15’ deep, however the taproot is usually 6” – 18” deep. The dandelion root has hairy rootlets that may grow fat. It is a hardy herb that can regrow from parts of the root left in the ground.
Treatment for Dandelions:
The best time for treating dandelions is before they mature and develop the white puffball top. Once the white seeds spread, it is far more difficult to control or treat dandelions. Since longer grass will limit the sunlight needed for dandelions to grow, cutting the grass no lower than 2.5” can help prevent dandelion growth and stop the weed from spreading. Adding nutrient-rich compost and mulch can improve the quality of the soil and prevent dandelions from spreading. A post-emergence herbicide that takes care of broadleaf weeds can also be used (with caution) directly on the dandelion weeds.
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