Why You Should Leave Dandelions In Your Yard

Why You Should Leave Dandelions In Your Yard

Spring has finally arrived and the first flowers to bloom are dandelions. While most people see these yellow flowers as "weeds" and do their best to remove them from their yard, they actually are beneficial to your soil, health, and pollinators.

Learn more about dandelions below and why you should leave them be.

Dandelions are GOOD for your lawn

Dandelions go through several stages from plant to flowering to seed distribution. The roots help aerate the soil and prevent erosion. The flowers attract and feed bees and other pollinators that help other flowers and plants grow.

The final stage of seed distribution occurs by wind or by carrying the wishes of children. Children (of all ages) like to pick dandelions when they are in the final stages and make a wish before blowing the seeds into the air.

While they may not have realized it at the time, they were actually helping spread dandelion seeds. The tiny seeds form new dandelion plants, and the cycle begins again.

Dandelions are GOOD for your health

All parts of the dandelion can be consumed by humans (as long you don't have an allergy to ragweed, daisies, or other similar plants) and are full of vitamins and minerals. Dandelion roots are used in tea to detoxify the liver, gallbladder and improve kidney function. The leaves can stimulate appetite and help with digestion.

The flowers are full of antioxidants and can be added to food to help boost your immune system.

"Dandelions are herbs, and herbs have many health and nutritional benefits," shared Registered dietitian Nancy Geib. "They’re probably the most nutritionally dense green you can eat — outstripping even kale or spinach."

Dandelions FEED bees & other pollinators

Have you ever wondered why dandelions appear in early spring? It is nature's way of feeding emerging insects and wildlife.

The hardy yellow flowers appear before other spring flowers to provide pollen and nectar to bees and other pollinators while the seeds and leaves are food for birds and chipmunks.

Ken Willis, head of horticulture at the U of A Botanic Garden, states, "There's starting to be a lot more argument that they (dandelions) should be kept because of what they can do for pollinators. Ecologically they are becoming very important as a food source for domestic and wild species of bees, particularly in early spring because they grow so soon. Butterflies and moths also feed on them as a source of sugar, and some species of birds feed on dandelion seeds."

Bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat, so we need to make sure that they are getting the pollen and nectar they need.

An easy way to help these vital creatures is to participate in "No Mow May" to allow the dandelions and other native plants to feed the bees instead of being mowed down or removed from the yard. This also gives homeowners a break in lawn maintenance for the month of May, which sounds like a win-win.

Dandelions are so much more than "weeds". Ralph Waldo Emerson said it perfectly, "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."

Andrea Powell

Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.

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