Dandelions, Lawn Weeds Get Early Start with Unseasonable Warmth

Homeowners can use proactive steps to minimize spread

Brookfield, Wis. – The unseasonably warm conditions that cheered residents of southeastern Wisconsin this year have also brought a less-favorable outgrowth, which is evident by a large population of dandelions.

The early spring – about six weeks ahead of normal – has accelerated the growth of dandelions and other lawn weeds. Dandelions and their uninvited brethren don’t usually appear until mid-May, said Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services, Brookfield.

“The record-setting warmth since January has changed local landscapes,” Ruedt said. “Lawns have progressed much farther than normal this year, and weeds have unfortunately come along for the ride. Trees have not fully leafed out, either, so the weeds have gotten a tremendous amount of direct sun to enhance their growth.”

Dandelions and weeds are a fact of life for most lawns. They spread from wind, animals, unkempt planting beds and neighboring yards, because of this, they can never be completely eradicated.

Homeowners can deter lawn weeds by removing them from planting beds and other landscaped areas, Ruedt said. Control treatments might be started to keep up with the weeds’ early jump start, but the return of seasonal cooler temperatures will slow absorption of chemicals by the targeted plants.

Temperature and weather conditions are the biggest factors in how weed control products perform. Getting a handle on lawn weeds is a long-term process that can take years, Ruedt said.

“Weed control programs are a control system, not eradication,” Ruedt said. “When you have a weed control program, it doesn’t mean that you are never going to see weeds again. If conditions are right you will have weeds.”

The bright yellow spots appearing in many lawns aren’t an illusion. On the bright side, Ruedt noted, their presence amid green grass reiterates that spring showed up early and in full force – a change of season that most homeowners welcome.

Founded in 1999, Grounds Maintenance Services offers a full range of landscaping and yard maintenance services, plus in-home Christmas tree delivery, holiday lighting setup and snow plowing. Its professional staff prides itself on helping homeowners grow their dreams, one yard at a time.

Written by Rick Moon with Lunar Communications

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