My Take on the "Dandelion King"

May 6, 2010

I urge you to read Marcus’ blog posting from Wednesday, April 28th. The post refers to an article from the NY Times and a person self dubbed the ‘Dandelion King.’ I find his statement that the war on weeds isn’t “winnable at a morally acceptable cost” is based on his opinion rather than any actual knowledge of turfgrasses or turfgrass management. See the complete article by clicking here.

I believe everyone in our industry should heed Marcus’ advice, “Equip yourself with this knowledge so you can provide an insightful answer next time you are challenged about the benefits of turfgrass.” The Wednesday April 28th blog article from Marcus contains excellent ‘equipment’ for that answer.

Again and again I observe the most ‘interesting’ writers getting their blather printed as fact because they are able to editorialize with word choices and interesting adjectives. For example, the so called ‘Dandelion King’ states; “I soon learned that the carpets of green in suburbia are the product of assiduously applied chemicals…” The word assiduous sounds very sinister here but the definition is benign:

I am certain the author meant ‘constant in application’ but the truth we know is that diligent is a better definition.

What the author obviously does not understand is that good management can lead to good turfgrass quality without an abundance of inputs. He just ‘doesn’t have time to figure this stuff out,’ so he has developed an ‘environmental excuse’ for his poor skills. Take a look at Marcus’ scientific response and help this author and others like him realize that there is nothing insidious about proper turfgrass management. It does take a little work and knowledge, but the environment will benefit from that knowledge and effort.

I won’t go on bashing this author about the other misrepresentations in his article, except to say that his ‘multiple’ applications of pre emergent are senseless and the subsequent post emergent applications he so despises have little to do with the success or failure of the preemerge. So it goes.

Suffice it to say the author has done just enough ‘Googling’ to be dangerously misinformed. Atrazine is a grass killer, let’s not lump it in as a ‘lawn chemical.’ Please.

Bottom line is simple, we either educate those that think like the ‘Dandelion King’ or we let the self proclaimed ‘environmentalists’ screw up things beyond belief.

Jeff Wendel
Executive Director
Iowa Turfgrass Institute