How are Dandelions doing in HRM in 2014?I conducted a walk-around survey of 80 lawns in an older neighbourhood of Halifax on May 17th, 2014 in the peak dandelion period.
Dandelions were present on 56% of lawns. At 4% of the residential sites, the lawn had been replaced by gardens or groundcovers.
Absence of dandelions in lawns was attributed to handweeding or to treatments by Weedman or Nutrilawn. Lawns lacking dandelion but with well distributed smaller leafed weeds such as clover and chickweed were classified as Manually Weeded for Dandelions (14%), while lawns with dark green, very lush grass and only occasional broadleaf weeds of any sort were classified as Treated by Weedman or Nutrilawn (26%)*.
So... conclusion: Dandelions doing OK, but perhaps losing ground as Fiesta (a chelated iron product that is toxic to many broad leaf plants) was introduced locally only in 2011. Other agents, such as corn gluten, have been used for a longer period by the lawn franchises to inhibit germination of broadleaf weeds, but the signage suggests they are relying more and more on Fiesta.
I manually remove dandelions from most of my lawn area, mainly just to show it can be done (I leave them on the verge, and in a strip beside my house.) There are still other smaller leafed flowering species such as clover and chickweeds to support pollinators and make a thick grass/herb blend. Five of the 11 handweeded lawns had >30% clover cover which helps to reduce spaces for dandelion seed to land and germinate.
*I am pretty familiar with the area and have seen both lawn franchises at work, as well as people handweeding dandelions.
- David P May 20, 2014