Dandelions: Wine or menace?

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

The annual dandelion bloom is in full swing. Many areas of the state have already seen the first bloom and the puff ball stage will be here shortly if not already. The dandelion is certainly the most recognizable of all weeds flowering in our lawns and folks certainly have different perspectives on them.

I recently googled dandelion and came up with only seven million hits! Dandelion Watch is a fun site for those really looking to dig up some information on these glorious golden flowers.

Last year my wife saw all these sparkling flowers and figured it was time to try and make dandelion wine. I’ve still to taste last year’s batch because to me it looks like some watery orange juice, but I shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

Of course, the best time to besiege pesky perennial broadleaf weeds is in the fall. I can only imagine how many times I have written those words in the CAT Alert. Last fall I finally decided to practice what I preach and did an October broadleaf herbicide application to clean-up some of the broadleaf weeds, including dandelion. This spring the results were pretty impressive, except for that strip that I missed with the sprayer that should supply enough flowers for another batch of wine.

If you want to burn-down some dandelions this spring, apply a herbicide when the dandelions are in the puff ball stage. However, if you enjoy the color or like dandelion wine, just let them thrive and worry about it this fall.


Dr. Frank's work is funded in part by MSU's AgBioResearch.

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