News from the preserves, parks and backyards of Princeton, NJ. The website aims to acquaint Princetonians with our shared natural heritage and the benefits of restoring native diversity and beauty to the many preserved lands in and around Princeton.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Dandelion Free, or Pesticide Full?
A lawn free of dandelions is restful to look at, but implies a use of broadleaf herbicides, which pollute the restfulness and maybe the local waterways as well. Always expressive, a dandelion reacts to herbicide as if in paroxysms--a frozen dance of death.
There are less toxic approaches for anyone with time and patience--a weeding knife, shown in a post from last year called "The Dandelion's Roar", or this curious implement called a "Weed Hound", demonstrated by a neighbor on Valley Road. It has a lever at the top and a cluster of squidlike metal spikes at the bottom that close around the dandelion's crown and pull it out, taproot and all.
The implement's length allows the gardener to adopt a relatively civilized upright stance while waging combat, rather than sacrifice knees and dignity by getting down and duking it out at ground level with a weeding knife. One could even pretend to be leaning on a racket, awaiting one's turn in a match of croquet while actually skewering a hapless weed. The neighbor allowed me to give it a try. The dandelion was unmoved by my efforts. Clearly, civilized weeding takes practice.
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