YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s a debate in many neighborhoods right now — keep the dandelions or cut them?
They’re definitely growing. Dandelions are everywhere, except in Roy Rohrabaugh’s yard. He sprays his yard to get rid of them.
“I don’t like ’em. I don’t like to see ’em in the yard. I don’t like to see ’em in the neighbor’s yard because they come into my yard eventually,” Rohrabaugh said.
Keeping up with the dandelions is not easy. They grow fast and they’re hardy. Many people just cut them with the grass, but leaving dandelions in the yard is important, too. They’re an early source of food for bees before other flowers can bloom.
“And especially when there’s not other sources of pollen and nectar out there. They’re going to need those dandelions because they bloom earlier in the year than other things,” said Julie Bartolone, a naturalist
Hummingbirds also use dandelions for their nests, while some insects use their leaves for shelter.
Admit it. You just want to have fun in a field of dandelions, right? But for some people, this is serious stuff. They actually want to eat it.
“They were brought over as a vegetable, actually, because the entire plant is edible. The roots you can make a coffee substitute with. Some young leaves would make a great salad,” Bartolone said.
Dandelion seeds can feed birds and chipmunks. In Yellowstone, grizzly bears eat them during the summer.
Rohrabaugh is still working in his yard spraying to keep the dandelions away, but he admits they do have other uses which may not be bad.
“A lot of people make salad. I’ve never done that. Supposedly it’s pretty good,” he said.
Dandelion tea and dandelion supplements are good for the blood and liver. Plus, near Cincinnati, Goodyear is growing a dandelion that produces large amounts of rubber in its roots. It could go into tires some day.