If you’ve noticed an overwhelming number of dandelions sprouting up in Twin Falls neighborhoods this year, you’re not alone. You can drive by just about any Twin Falls residential or commercial property and see an endless number of yellow buds dotting an otherwise green landscape. Curious about this botanical invasion, I decided to chat with some local experts and reached out to Twin Falls city code enforcement for some answers about why our town seems to be overrun with dandelions and what the rules are about keeping them at bay.

Conditions in Twin Falls are ripe for dandelions this year

I spoke with Jaysa Fillmore, an agriculture instructor at The College of Southern Idaho and she suggested that the high number of dandelions might not have as much to do with residents leaving weeds untreated, but a combination of a wet spring and a possible reduction in treatment by homeowners last year. The cost of broadleaf herbicides was higher last year, which could have led many homeowners to spray less or even skip treatment altogether to save money. It’s a perfect storm. Less mitigation in a previous year leaves more seeds to germinate the following season.

 ‘…it might not happen every year, but it just so happened that all the conditions were right that we just have a lot of dandelions in the area this year.’

Gradie Design Social Media Marketing - Unsplash
Gradie Design Social Media Marketing - Unsplash

 Changes in attitudes towards weeds themselves might be a contributing factor

A shift in perceptions of dandelions might have something to do with the lack of treatment this year. Jaysa mentioned that dandelions were originally brought to the US as a source of food.

‘Dandelions were brought over from Europe as both an ornamental and an edible crop to the United States and they were introduced for the purpose of growing them for eating… they are high in antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals.’

Jaysa makes a great point. You can throw a rock at YouTube and hit an influencer harvesting dandelion leaves for salads, cooking them, or steeping them in hot water to make tea for enjoyment and medicinal purposes. Not to mention that dandelions serve as a pollen source for bees.

Cedar Draw Cider in Buhl certainly seems to be taking advantage of the dandelion abundance and making wine from them.

Wait – Doesn’t Twin Falls city code prohibit leaving dandelions unchecked?

There’s a bit of a grey area regarding dandelions in Twin Falls. Technically, dandelions are classified as a weed and subject to the Twin Falls ordinance that mandates city residents keep their property free of weeds. That said, Twin Falls is considered a pollinator-friendly city, so dandelions are only addressed on a complaint basis. So, if the city reaches out to you about your dandelions, it's reasonable to conclude that one of your neighbors registered a complaint about you.

Benjamin Grenier - Unsplash
Benjamin Grenier - Unsplash

How to get rid of dandelions if you don’t want them

Perhaps your neighbors growing them is all fine and dandy, but as far as you’re concerned, you want to be rid of them. If you don’t want dandelions messing with your otherwise perfectly green yard, Jaysa Fillmore of CSI says it’s best to treat early in the season.

'Dandelions have a really prolific taproot and so they grow very deeply. That’s why they can survive in soil that we're not irrigating… so the longer we wait the harder it is to actually kill the plant.'

The types of treatments vary. You can choose to take care of the issue yourself or hire a pro to do it for you. If you’re looking for an easy way to keep dandelions at bay check out this lazy man’s guide to keeping your Idaho lawn green and free of weeds. Just make sure you follow label directions. Herbicides can have an impact on pollinators and those guidelines are in place to help you get the most out of the product while using the least amount. Efficient use of herbicides is good for both the bees and your bank account.

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