I must have dug a thousand dandelions today

I'm trying to reclaim a big flower bed that has been neglected for a couple of years. Rather than spray it with Roundup, I've been digging out the weeds (mostly dandelions.) The depressing thing is that the ground is white with dandelion seeds, but if I cover them with mulch maybe the earthworms will eat them.
I have found some perennials in there that I thought were gone; lilies, liatris, evening primrose, and Echinacea (I knew there were a few Echinacea in there.) And the dirt looks pretty good. Unfortunately about half of the dandelions are breaking off about 6 to 8 inches down. So I'm getting *almost* all the roots out, but probably leaving enough in there that they'll resprout. Hopefully it takes all their energy to send up just one or two shoots and if I keep the tops hoed down they'll die quickly enough. Or I can spot treat with Roundup. But I'd rather get it done naturally.
The johnny jump-ups are especially pretty this year. I'm working around them as much as possible.
Bob
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says...

Personally, I would just put down cardboard, weighted with large rocks or bricks, and leave it for a few weeks.
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that kills everything. hard to "reclaim" the plants you want to save after you kill them lee
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Why don't you eat them? Dandelion is particularly healthful in a salad, and is beneficial to the ground, and Johnny Jump Ups (Viola cornuta) you can eat their young leaves and flower buds - raw or cooked, and when added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. Flowers - can be eaten raw, and a tea can be made from the leaves
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[...]

Weeding a tad late. Oh well. Dandelions are pretty easy to control by weeding alone, *if* you do the weeding before they go to seed. Mulch should thoroughly smother the seeds.

Not to worry. Dandelions won't regrow from the tap root; just get the crown. (Catsears aka false dandelions may regrow.)
    Una
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On Sun, 16 May 2010 08:59:14 -0600 (MDT), snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Una) wrote:

That's not true. If any part of the taproot remains it can regrow new dandelion plants.
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7469.html
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Una wrote:

The source here explains that a piece of taproot as short as 1 inch can regrow. However, in my experience the conditions have to be very favorable, meaning the piece is near the surface (in the crown zone), soil moisture is good, etc.
Also, although the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial plant, survivorship over winter fairly poor. So again, eliminating seed set is the first line defense against this weed. When I have less time or the ground is dry and hard, I sometimes merely pinch off the flowers.
Because plants in flower can set seed after being grubbed out, and because the roots can regrow, dandelion remains should not be left behind as mulch. I put all dandelion remains on the compost pile, covered.
    Una
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Note, both are edible representing free healthy food, especially the dandelion, which in today's jargon can be considered a "nutraceutical" (nutritious pharmaceutical). <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum_officinale> <http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Taraxacum+officinale
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Ever made dandelion wine? My parents loved it.
http://www.texascooking.com/recipes/dandelionwine.htm
Paul
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I have had a similar problem with my lawn so I will try and take some of the advice from this thread. Thanks!
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You'll do fine.
Despite two neighbors who grow big crops of dandelion seeds, my lawn has very few dandelions and I control them by grubbing them out with a digging knife before they seed. I do it this way because I patrol the lawn for several other undesirable kinds of plants that are best controlled by being grubbed out.
One neighbor tries to control dandelions by mowing; the other uses an herbicide. Both of these methods are effective when used at the right time. Unfortunately, both neighbors usually wait until after the first bumper crop of seeds has been shed. Wrong time. Oh well.
Timing is a big part of efficient gardening.
    Una
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