Dandelions blooming just like clockwork

Dandelions blooming just like clockwork Like clockwork, spring arrives and dandelions follow.

Development of these yellow-headed weeds seems quite variable this year, but a few warm days will bring more blooms, said Leon Wrage, extension weed specialist at South Dakota State University.

Many plants that started last fall in areas with ample fall moisture will develop later than the larger established plants, Wrage said.

Dandelion is a perennial that may produce 50 or more flowers from buds in the "crown" area as the plants mature.

Fall is the best time to treat, said Wrage, but several spring options are available for lawns. Scattered plants can be dug � cut the root below the surface. Go over the lawn periodically.

Herbicides usually contain a mix of broadleaf products. The chemical must enter the leaves to be effective, according to the specialist. "That's why treating too early in the spring is less effective."

Spray products are applied with a variety of equipment. Wrage's advice is to keep spray coarse, use low pressure, to reduce non-target problems, suggested Wrage.

First-year plants are more susceptible; older plants become less sensitive after they flower.

Spot treaters include "cane" tubes that dispense a coarse spray of solution onto the dandelion. Ready-to-use trigger containers or small hand sprayers also can be used to treat individual plants.

Liquid or granule weed and feed products are a popular way to combine "feeding" and "weeding" operations in the lawn. These are convenient to apply. Be sure the weeds have leaves so granules will dissolve on the leaves, Wrage said.

Further advice from Wrage: Use gloves, rubber boots and follow all handling and application precautions on the labels. Don't mix more solution than required. Allow spray to dry before pets or children use treated areas.

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