I have been having a go at my dandelions. My lawn is dreadful – basically a bit of weedy, mossy (mostly) green stuff that was in a terrible state when I took it over two years ago because of neglect, shade, too many tree roots, compacted clay soil… all the usual problems.
Just by mowing it regularly and keeping the edges tidy I have managed to make it look reasonable, and I occasionally swish it over with a soluble lawn feed which temporarily intensifies the green – but I simply can’t find it in myself to become lawn-obsessive.
I occasionally spike it with a garden fork, tolerate the daisies (although it does look decidedly more svelte just after I have mown their heads off), but I simply can’t turn a blind eye to the fresh crop of dandelion flowers that wink at me each time I traipse up to the compost heap or do my several-times-daily round checking on everything (generally deep in thought).
Last year I zapped the biggest dandelions with a glyphosate weed pencil, which resulted in ugly three inch wide brown patches all over the place for several weeks until the grass joined hands and filled up the gaps. I was acutely aware then, however, of legions of junior seedlings nestling in the general mess, many of which are of course now big enought to flower.
This years ‘solution’? Dishwasher salt. Dispensed from a purpose-made green tube with a sprung opening at the bottom (given to me by the manufacturer, which I’m reviewing my English Garden magazine column – watch this space). You put the stick over the center of the dandelion, lean on it, it goes ‘bejunketer’, and about a teaspoonful of salt is deposited just where it hurts the dreaded pis-en-lit (French for dandelion and means exactly what it sound like). It seems to be doing the trick.
I fear, however, that one day soon I shall bite the bullet and treat the lawn with a weed and feed, and then wear a blindfold for a month.