Why Dandelions Are Costing No-Tillers Big Bucks

Ohio State University weed scientists share the latest ideas on why dandelions are becoming a bigger threat to no-tilled crops.

When it comes to weed control, more no-tillers each year are having problems dealing with dandelions. Ohio State University weed scientists Anthony Dobbels, Mark Loux and Jeff Stachler say that dandelions have become much more widespread in Ohio crop production fields over the past 5 years.

Dandelion Biology

The weed scientists say there are biological aspects of this weed that allow it to be extremely successful within current crop and weed management.

Among plants that are really successful in their weediness, dandelions may be one of the most remarkable. It is found virtually everywhere in the world and adapts to many habitats. The dandelion can be described as having a general-purpose genotype and fairly extreme phenotypic plasticity. In other words, its genetic makeup makes it suitable for a variety of habitats, and a given dandelion population is able to further modify its expression of these genetics (growth, development, appearance, etc.) to fit its circumstances.

For example, dandelions growing in the open will adopt a wide leaf, spreading-growth habit. Those in a crop canopy will adopt more narrow leaf upward-growth.

Recent research at Michigan State University has shown numerous genetic variations within dandelion populations. Additional research is being conducted to determine if this variation leads to differences in dandelion response to herbicides.

Here are some additional facts about dandelion biology:

1. Roots. Dandelions produce a deep taproot with extensive root branching. The root crown at the base of plant can divide to form numerous branches. If cut off below the crown…

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