Pulling Dandelions

Pulling Dandelions

Part of Ep. 1502 Healthy Weeds

Learn how how to physically remove dandelions from the yard without the use of chemicals.

Premiere date: Jun 06, 2007

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Looking for a dandelion-free yard without chemicals and without using one of these and all that bending over?  I’m with a dandelion weeding expert.  UW Horticulturist Astrid Newenhouse is here to show me the new and improved tools out there.  But my first question is when did you become such an expert on dandelions? 

Astrid:
I’m with this group called the Healthy Lawn Team.  We’re a volunteer activist organization.  We’re trying to wean people off of lawn pesticides.  And herbicides are weed killers which are a class of pesticides. 

Shelley:
There’s many good reasons not to use chemicals in our yard. 

Astrid:
As we learn more and more about these chemicals we’ve learned that there’s links to serious diseases and cancers especially for kids and pets. 

Shelley:
And since I have both, I’m always concerned.  I like to garden organically. 

Astrid:
It’s a good idea to stay away from pesticides as much as we can. 

Shelley:
How does that make you an expert? 

Astrid:
We got a grant to start tool-lending libraries in neighborhoods in Madison.  So we bought a set of different tools.  Here are four of them right here.  We located them in different neighborhoods.  And then whoever wants to borrow a tool can just go to that person’s house, borrow the tool and see what they like.  Everyone likes a different type of tool. 

Shelley:
And this would be a great idea for anybody in any city to see if they could get an organization like this going.  The first thing I see compared to the one in my hand with the short handle yours look like I don’t have to do anymore bending over. 

Astrid:
Yeah, this is bad.  You’ll be kneeling, stooping.  You don’t want to do that. 

Shelley:
Complaining! 

Astrid:
These all have long handles.  They all pierce the dandelion, the crown of it.  They pull it up, and then have a means of ejecting it. 

Shelley:
Will these get all the dandelion? 

Astrid:
No, the dandelion is a really hardy perennial.  It’ll sprout from the tiniest little bit of root.  You’ll have to go back again, sometimes two or three times.  But with these tools, it’s easy and fun. 

Shelley:
And you’re not in pain.  Let’s demonstrate them.  It looks like each one has different features. 

Astrid:
This is the Fiskars Upright Weeder.  You find you dandelion, pierce it, step on it and then pull it out of the ground like that. 

Shelley:
Wow, that’s easy. 

Astrid:
Then, you eject it. 

Shelley:
Would you just leave them in a pile on the ground? 

Astrid:
No, I carry a five-gallon bucket with me.  And that way, the dandelion doesn’t re-sprout on your lawn. 

Shelley:
Especially if it’s in flower!  Let me hold that one.  Each one of these has different merits? 

Astrid:
Yeah, try this one.  This is the Weed Hound. 

Shelley:
Okay, find my dandelion. 

Astrid:
Pierce it. 

Shelley:
Put my foot on it.  Tip it? 

Astrid:
Pull up.  Eject it with that thing.  (metal clinking)

Shelley:
Nice noise, too, very professional sounding.  That one feels very durable. 

Astrid:
Grampa’s Upright Weeder.  So there’s my dandelion.  Step on it, lean back and it pulls it right up.  This one does a good job of getting the tap root. 

Shelley:
It gets quite a bit of it. 

Astrid:
But it’s hard to get the dandelion out of it. 

Shelley:
However, this is the most classy looking one.  It’s an old-fashioned looking tool. 

Astrid:
This is the Speedy Weedy.  It’s the most light weight. 

Shelley:
So for someone who’s not as strong. 

Astrid:
Find the dandelion, turn it around like that and then pop it out. 

Shelley:
Each one of these has merits for somebody.  People just need to get out there and kind of play with them. 

Astrid:
In our neighborhood, people liked different ones for different reasons.  So you’ll just have to ask to borrow ask a landscaper if you can borrow theirs.  We have a weeding contest in our neighborhood on Earth Day every year where we try and promote these tools. 

Shelley:
Give people a chance to play with them.  Well, these are definitely easier than using the short handled ones.  But Astrid, I have an even better way to weed. 

Astrid:
What’s that? 

Shelley:
Oh, kids?!

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