I feel like I want to get a petition started, but I’m starting to be confused as to what direction to go. I’m petitioning for either a change of law, or a change of attitude.
On the surface, it’s hard to know just which one of those would be the more difficult to achieve.
My original thought is a change, or addition, to the law. I was ready to petition our statehouse watchdogs to add dandelions to the list of noxious weeds in the state.
This time of year, dandelions are everywhere. You don’t have to look far to see the yellow blooms on the dandelion. Of course, you have to look fast.
Today’s carpet of yellow in a vacant lot near you will be tomorrow’s collection of white, fluffy seeds ready for the slightest breeze to carry them to your yard.
According to University of Nebraska Extension web site, dandelions (a.k.a. Taraxacum officinale) are “probably the most widely recognized turfgrass weed.”
It goes on to say they can grow roots as far as two-feet into the ground, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever tried to dig one out of the ground. No matter how hard you try, you inevitably end up breaking off enough of the root in the ground you know that it’s coming back bigger and stronger than ever, and probably within the next 24 hours.
If we could get them added to the list of noxious weeds, they could join such favorites as the musk thistle, spotted knapweed and eight others.
According to the Nebraska Noxious Weed Control Act, those evil 10 are required, by law, to be controlled.
They have been deemed “harmful to (the) environment and our economy.”
If not added to the dreaded group of 10, perhaps dandelions could be added to the watch list.
Yes, according to the Nebraska Weed Control Association web site, there is a watch list of other evil weeds to keep an eye out for. In case your wondering, Adams County is included in those on the watch list for the Mixedgrass Prairie Ecoregion weed.
I’m been watching. I haven’t seen any.
Perhaps my disdain for dandelions goes back to my youth where it seemed the dandelion digger was never far from my dad’s hand as he waged war on any weed daring to infiltrate his green carpet lawn.
There are a couple of vacant lots not far from my home and they are covered in dandelions right now.
Before practically anything else had turned green this spring, the dandelions were bright yellow beacons of spring.
The first application of fertilizer on my yard each year contains “broad leaf control.”
I take that to mean it gets to the dandelions before they get going. But, there’s always a few that sneak through.
Sometimes I dig them, sometimes it’s spot warfare with a weed killer, other times I hope they dry up and fade away due to loneliness.
It’s the ones that grow out of the cracks in the driveway or flower garden or decorative rock that are particularly irritating.
So, if we get them added to the noxious week classification, maybe there would be more peer pressure for the lots carpeted in yellow to be dealt with swiftly. I’ve heard of farmers hiring kids to pull musk thistles.
It might be too much to expect them to branch out to one small lot with a million dandelions, but it’s a start.
But now, my soft side is coming out, too, and that’s where the confusion I confessed to earlier comes into play.
Sure, dandelions may be a weedy hindrance, but they are also probably the first “flower” that most kids pick to give to their moms.
With this being Mother’s Day weekend, who can forget your mom, or the mother of your child, beaming with delight when a little hand gives them a yellow bouquet.
That extension office definition also says dandelions were imported from Europe as an ornamental plant.
Maybe I — and everyone else — just needs a change of attitude. From now on, dandelions are flowers, and those scattered around my yard are things of beauty.
I just hope my neighbors enjoy the seeds blowing in the wind.