Nature on our doorsteps: Planning ahead for Dandelion season
Depending on springtime weather, the grass in our lawns and roadside verges can show the first signs of growth from about mid-March.
By April, lawns can begin to look a bit shaggy. By May, the yearly chore of keeping the grass under regular control is well under way.
As the grass begins to grow, the ‘weedy’ Dandelions and Daisies are also waking up.
Nature’s calendar is finely tuned. These wild plants begin to flower just as the queen bumblebees and solitary bees are emerging from their winter dormancy, desperate for food.
Dandelions are critically important at this time because they provide plenty of pollen and nectar to early season insects.
A roadside verge full of these flowers is particularly welcome, as the insects do not waste vital energy flying long distances between flowers.
Where it is important to maintain a neat lawn or verge, and when springtime weather allows, perhaps only one or two cuts of grass could be planned for mid-to-late March, just to keep the early spurt of grass growth under control.
If mowing was then stopped long enough to let early Dandelions bloom, insects would benefit enormously.
Then, by the time grass growth catches up, the Dandelions will have finished flowering and everything can be cut back once again: a win-win situation for everyone.
By Rosaleen Dwyer.