Ants & Dandelions

What causes DANDELIONS?

  • Compacted soil
  • Excess potassium and a calcium deficiency

If your lawn is healthy & thick, the grass will out-compete the dandelions. Get a healthy lawn by dethatching, aerating, composting/fertilizing,
and over-seeding every year.

Clean up your lawn: DETHATCH – Rake up dead grass, leaves, and other dead plant matter. This helps water enter the soil, and thatch will build up again throughout the growing season.
Your lawn needs to breathe: AERATE – You can rent out a machine or hire a service to cut little plugs out of your lawn. Aeration allows oxygen to circulate and relieves compaction.
Your lawn needs to eat: COMPOST/FERTILIZER – After aeration, spread a layer of compost, fertilizer, or manure over your grass. This adds nutrients to your soil.
Your lawn needs to rejuvenate: OVERSEED – Use quality seed that is suited to your climate to reseed your lawn. Grass eventually dies so over-seeding will ensure that your lawn is
thick and healthy.

Pulling the weeds is the most natural solution to your dandelion problem. Weeding them early in the season is easier because they have shorter roots. It’s more likely to remove the entire plant at this time, which will prevent dandelions from coming back.
Weed before they seed – this will prevent the spreading of dandelions.
Mowing regularly or picking off the heads will prevent dandelion seeding.
There are some good tools you can use if you don’t like to get down on your hands & knees. These can be found in garden centres around Saskatoon. Tools you can use include a weed hound, a dandelion rake, and a culti-weeder tool.

Organic controls include:

  • Pouring boiling water over affected areas
  • Spraying a mixture of vinegar and water on the plants
  • Sheet mulching (or covering them with cardboard), which prevents the photosynthetic process of the plants
  • Spreading corn gluten meal, which suppresses germination (do this in early spring as a preventative measure)
  • Using a weed burner torch – but be careful!

If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em! Dandelions can be used to make wines and salads.
What causes ANTS?

  • Dry soil
  • Food that has been left outside
  • High aphid populations

Having a healthy soil will deter the ants from the area. Do this by using the same measures as you would for dandelions (dethatching, aerating, composting/fertilizing, and  over-seeding). Repeatedly raking, attracting songbirds (by planting flowers, shrubs, and trees), pouring boiling water on ant-hills, spreading diatomaceous earth or corn meal, and keeping your soil moist. If ants aren’t an issue, they are benefiting your soil because they turn more soil than earthworms. They can also destroy the larvae of house & fruit flies.

Contact the Pesticide Reduction Eco-Advisors at:
Phone: 665.1915
Email: pesticidefree@environmentalsociety.ca

June 20th, 2011

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