Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a deep-rooted perennial with a tap root up to 1/2 inch in diameter. Leaves cluster in a rosette at the base of the plants; margins of leaves are deeply serrated and emit a bitter, milky latex substance when squeezed or torn. The flowering stalks are hollow, 6 to 24 inches in length and end in a branched arrangement of flowers.
Dandelion is from Eurasia and has naturalized throughout the U.S. It is found from 4,500 to 13,500 feet elevation in Colorado, and grows best in full sun.
Biology and spread
This plant reproduces mainly from seed; seed can be wind borne for several miles.
Dandelion forms dense circular mats of leaves that crowd out desirable species and forms clumps in turf that cause poor footing for athletic fields and golf courses.
Cultural, physical and mechanical control: Inhibit seed germination with thick mulch. Hand hoe individual plants when young. Control plants before they set seed. Keep turf healthy with proper fertilization and watering.
Chemical control: Products that contain 2,4-D and dicamba can be used. Roundup can be spot-sprayed but should NOT be used in turf.