Biological dandelion control...what gives.

naturewestApril 21, 2014

Every spring my lawn is inundated with dandelions. I am the talk of the neighborhood because I refuse to spray for them. I tout the benefits every chance I get, pointing out the thousands of bees, goldfinches, and critters that dine on them in one form or another. Truthfully, they don't bother me one bit because I know as the weather warms their numbers dwindle and the lawn takes over. However, I have a neighbor who is not as patient as I am. Admittedly, he has WAY more dandelions than I do at this point, so I can understand his desire to intervene. Unfortunately, I've already educated him on the mowing higher approach and working to establish healthy turf by proper feeding, overseeding, aerating, etc. to no avail. I desperately want to give him some practical solutions without resorting to gallons of 2-4D being sprayed just a short distance from our water supply (we are on private wells here).
I'm wandering if anybody is aware of any biological controls that are being worked on here in the US? I know Sarritor is available in Canada, but I cannot find anything here. Also, any articles linking groundwater pollution to herbicides would be helpful.

Thanks

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gardenper(8)

I use that weed claw puller that grabs the taproot. It looks like a big undertaking at first, especially if there are a lot of dandelions or broadleaf weeds, but as with any weeding, the biggest effort is the first one. After that, it is some continuous maintenance to keep on top of any new weeds.

The yard looks much better afterwards. I would say that in your back yard, you can let it grow as you like. But in the front yard. people (whether it is the owner or the neighbors) are concerned with how the house looks, so you might have to give in there and work on the dandelions.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:51PM
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glib(5.5)

pick and wash dandelion, toss with olive oil, vinegar and salt, and eat. It is nutritious and a top remedy for sluggish liver.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:58PM
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lazy_gardens

http://www.scotts.ca/smg/goprod/scotts-ecosense-weed-b-gon-weed-control-selective-herbicide/prod10440002

Or dig them up and eat them.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:11PM
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nc_crn

Ecosense WeedBGon is a good leaf killer, but it kinda sucks at killing anything with a good root system or a taproot...even though they claim it works on them (which it technically does).

It's a bit underwhelming. It takes a good bit of product and/or multiple applications for established (or taproot) weeds.

It also can kill parts of your lawn even though they have commercials that claim it leaves it unharmed. The problem is the amount most people have to apply for results is enough to screw with the grass.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:20PM
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lazy_gardens

We don't have dandelions here, but the various other rosette-forming weeds are easy to kill. Slicing through the root about 1/2 inch below the rosette kills the plant because it only has the ability to resprout from the very top of the root.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:16AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The active ingredient in Ecosense Weed B Gone is Iron, an essential micro nutrient that becomes a poison in just over the necessary amounts plants need. Putting poisons in ones gardens or on ones lawn is contrary to good organic practice.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 6:29AM
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naturewest

Yeah...pulling by hand is not an option here. The area is just too big, and there are too many. I've noticed that later in the summer when it gets hot and humid the dandelions really suffer. It's difficult to find a healthy leaf suitable for salad. Which is why I was inquiring about a biological approach. The product I mentioned in the original post called Sarritor uses Sclerotinia minor to infect and kill dandelions and other broadleaf plants. Unfortuneately it is not available in the U.S. as far as I know. Does anybody know of a source here? I know it gets mixed reviews, but the again so does Roundup.
I agree with Kimmsr on the toxicity of iron buildup, and we already have lots of iron in our soil.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:30PM
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lazy_gardens

http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/pp728/S_minor/Sclerotinia_minor.html

Sarritor is unlikely to be approved in the USA ... it's a plant pathogen that can really race through a warm field of peanuts or lettuce.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:59AM
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JoppaRich(7b)

"The active ingredient in Ecosense Weed B Gone is Iron, an essential micro nutrient that becomes a poison in just over the necessary amounts plants need. Putting poisons in ones gardens or on ones lawn is contrary to good organic practice."

This is silly. Everything is a poison in the right dose. Even water.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 1:51PM
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naturewest

Lazygardens, thanks for the link. You make a good point, I don't suppose Canadians grow a lot of peanuts.

JoppaRich, I don't think it's silly. I would reject using anything that would be required in such amounts to qualify as a poison...even water. Which, I guess in this case would mean turning my lawn into a lake to drown the dandelions.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:52AM
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ericwi

Its possible to kill dandelions with two applications of 5% white vinegar, but there will be a small dead spot in the lawn that will grow back green in several months.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:11PM
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henry_kuska

For a number of years, I have used a spring application of corn gluten meal plus hand digging for the rest of the season of the few sprouts with a claw type device (probably the same as described by gardenper).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:56PM
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JoppaRich(7b)

"JoppaRich, I don't think it's silly. I would reject using anything that would be required in such amounts to qualify as a poison..."
Any substance you're using to kill something is by it's very nature, a poison. What your saying is inanity.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:56PM
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veggie_girl

Don't kill them, eat them!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:29PM
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glib(5.5)

you can't eat them all the time. But when the season changes they help your metabolism and specially bile production. I usually make two large salads each in April and in October. I also make bitter alcohol infusions with them and other herbs, to drink year round.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:30AM
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