Good Question: Why So Many Dandelions?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to disconnect dandelions from that bouquet we gave our moms or from that dandelion crown we made as little kids. As adults, though, frolicking isn’t exactly what we want to do with dandelions.

So why are there so many dandelions around in Minnesota this year? Blame the snow.

“With the snowpack the ground didn’t freeze as deep,” said John Prochnow, a horticulturist with Rainbow Lawn Care. “When spring hit, those weeds were set to start growing, now we have this to deal with.”

The most recognizable broadleaf weed, because of the bright yellow flowers, when the flowers turn into white, fluffy seeds, you’ve got problems.

“Each one of those seeds can blow up to five miles,” said Prochnow. “And each seed, a new plant can grow up.”

Mowing them down while the flower is still yellow can prevent their spread, according to Prochnow. But using a weed hound device to pull the weed rarely works.

“It has one tap root that can go down up to 2 feet,” he explained, noting that the root generally breaks when you try to pull it out of the ground.

“Oh, I don’t like them,” laughed Chef Scott Pampuch. “That’s why I eat them.”

Pampuch is the owner of  Corner Table Restaurant in South Minneapolis and he uses greens in salads.

“They’re bitter and provide a nice balance to the sweetness in other types of greens,” he said.

He also uses them in a gastrique with vinegar and sugar.

“See the fronds? Those are the petals,” said Pampuch. “Greens, heads, flowers are edible.”

A friend of his brought a dandelion-lemon marmalade. He uses dandelions in a pound cake.

“One person’s dandelion is another person’s lunch,” he said.

Back at a home in St. Louis Park, Rainbow Lawn Care is spraying herbicide on the dandelions. Killing them — for now. They’re perennials. They’ll be back.

Dandelions ended up in the U.S. because they were medicinal food in Asia and Europe. We had no dandelions when the Mayflower came here. We had tons of them by the end of the 1600s.

One serving of dandelion greens has the same calcium as half-a-cup of milk. There are also lots of vitamins in it.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Sara Ojard

    Good segment. Enjoy seeing young professionals like John Prochnow.

    • David Ray

      He looks like a guy i know named Jonathan Prochnow who is a horticulturalist in the Twin Cities, i wonder if it’s the same person.

  • Cheers..

    Perfect feed the northsiders dandelions, problem solved your welcome.

    • Mike


      Why don’t you see a psychiatrist and work on your sociopath tendencies?
      That would be far more constructive for yourself and society.

  • Sandy

    Where can we call to find out the City laws on bad yard upkeep?

    • Mike


      Look up your cities webpage. You will find it there.

    • mike

      If you’re in Minneapolis, you can call 311.

  • L

    When life gives you dandelions make wine!!

  • AJ

    The comment about them being perennials and that because of that fact even if sprayed they will come back is inaccurate. They will not “come back.” However, others may grow from seeds produced and spread before the plant was sprayed. Bottom line is if you kill a plant with herbicide perennial or other it’s NOT coming back next year.

  • onceanorthsideralwaysanorthsider

    @Cheers- really? feed them to the northsiders, problem solved… shame on you!! why would you even make a statement such as that? the northsiders are just as much human and just as much americans and just as much Gods children as you are! that statement leads me to believe that you for some reason think you are above them, and they are subserviant to you… again i say shame on you! and i would not want to be in your shoes the day you meet your maker!

    • blahblah

      Example a man who has 11kids ranging in age from 1 to 21, and is living in poverty isn’t my equal. After reading that story a few days back made me sick, what kind of person keeps having children thay can’t afford to provide a decent life for, flat out unresponsible, so yes I am above that man and woman for example, anyone that breeds like dogs or cats living in poverty i have no remorse for except for the children who have to live their life on assistance.

      • JustSayin

        Um, it’s Irresponsible.

  • chuck

    What affect has the lack of government money for spraying the dandelions had on the prevalence of dandelions in parks and other government properties????

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