of the Dandelions
Once again it is spring and time for chemical warfare. The
dandelions have arrived in my lawn and are joyfully celebrating the arrival of
the warmer weather with a spurt of growth ecstasy.
I don’t know what it is
about a dandelion that freezes my blood and turns me into a crazed executioner.
Somehow whenever I see their little yellow heads, I begin to plot murder, and I
know that these weeds must be done away with.
My pitiful flowerbeds seem to
become more infested every year. I used to actually enjoy gardening. I still
like flowers, but the gardening part is getting more and more questionable and
the easy solution of a mulch ground cover is becoming more and more attractive
with each passing season.
Normal women, of course, take care of the home on the inside
and leave the yard work to obliging or, at worse, disgruntled husbands.
Liberated women buy condos. Stupid women have partners who grew up in the city
and think dandelions are wildflowers that should be left alone.
"Who am I
to question their right to exist," says my honey.
Argh! Everything is a
philosophical debate - even weeds! It is simpler to do the deed myself than to
justify the existential need for it!
As any gardener knows, dandelions are one of the most sinister
of weeds to deal with. I develop an insidious plan of death, carefully
calculating my premeditated murder. Dandelions are born survivors.
innocent looking yellow wildflowers will turn into raging savages overnight,
sending up hideous growths of ugly seeds that scatter in the wind and spread
their demon offspring. They have deep roots like carrots that are brittle and
really cannot be pulled up without breaking. Leave one tiny root and the weed
will soon recover and reappear reincarnated and ready for a second life. This
means they practically have to be dug out of the ground, a job I detest.
For the lawn, I finally had to resort to calling in professional
help. One day in the throes of a guerilla assault from foot-high dandelions with
roots that spoke Chinese, I realized that my defenses were too weak. I was being
overrun and I had to have reinforcements… quickly.
The lawn service came to
the rescue and treated the yard. It only costs me an arm and a leg – small
price for dandelion control, they said. Plus they threw in control of other
weeds for no extra charge. However, unless I sign up for the full service for
which I must take a second mortgage on my home, sign a contract in blood, and
mention them for an inheritance in my will, they won’t come back for
I decided to save money and take care of the follow-up part myself.
This means that the yellow-headed monsters reappear quickly along driveways and
sidewalks where the grass is scarce. It is maddening! How do you get rid of
these things? Land mines?
I went to the local hardware store where there is a giant
arsenal of weed weapons geared to the different militant needs of gardeners. You
can kill weeds without killing grass, kill selected weeds, or just kill
everything at random. I usually opt for the "kill weeds only" spray
unless it is for a place where absolutely nothing needs to grow, like the cracks
of the sidewalk.
There were no automatic assault weapons available for defensive
dandelion warfare. What a shame! The ammunition comes in "ready mix,"
but the condensed type that is not pre-mixed is far more practical. The smell of
the stuff is indescribable, sort of like rotten eggs, boiled cabbage and paint
thinner. I respect chemicals - who wouldn’t with a smell like that? It
probably could gas the weeds to death without touching them.
One must have a weapon to spread the chemicals, either a spray
can to pump, or an attachment to put on the hose that mixes the poison
automatically. Either way, application is an all out commitment. For entire
lawns there are dry mixes, but these need to be applied to wet lawns, are not as
effective, and are really not too good for treating small, specific areas.
after messing, mixing and spraying, the weeds shrivel and cough for weeks before
they finally succumb. The dose of death seems to actually stimulate them and
they rush to mature and seed before they depart the world. In their last hurrah,
their yellow hair turns gray and the seeds are blown to the wind to create
another season of torment.
I wish I could adopt a "live and let live" attitude
towards weeds. I try to ignore them, but sooner or later, I always relent. The
longer I wait to attack, the worse it is, of course. I made my first round the
other day, a sniper with a premixed hand-pump knocking off a few selected
victims: a squirt here, a spray from behind a tree there, an around the corner
maneuver. My neighbors didn’t even blink when they saw my fatigues and combat
I think I will call the professional mercenary weed killers
again and see exactly how many rounds I have to agree to before they will do a
follow-up assault. A few of the stubborn renegades always seem to escape, lay
low for a while, and then counterattack as soon as my defenses are down. I am
sure the dandelions will dig in, as usual, and the war will continue all through
spring and into the summer.
I didn’t know life in suburbia would be so complicated.
Nobody told me about these annual dandelion skirmishes. I think I may have to
concrete the lawn and paint it green. Now I know why cities developed. It had
nothing to do with population density. It was a means of self-defense against