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If the crazy weather wasn’t enough to make you nuts this year, maybe you’re like me and the Great Dandelion Explosion of 2012 has done the job just fine.  Sure, Dandelions can be useful, edible, and they’ve been known to help out other plants from time to time, but in what’s supposed to be a beautiful, flowing sea of green lawn – they’re not welcome.

IMG 7894In the past, I’ve done an alright job of keeping the yellow ones at bay with little-to-no chemical assistance. My neighbor on the left has done the same, and it’s not uncommon to spot one of us digging feverishly with a screwdriver to uproot one of these relentless little ‘weeds.’  Unfortunately, we border a guy that’s a friggin’ idiot when it comes to lawn care… and to property maintenance of any kind. Nice fellow, but the property looks like something that’s spelled like ‘hit’ with an ‘S’ in front of it. Seriously, there was still a crispy, brown Christmas tree in the side yard until last week. It’s April. 

This year, green lawns are being replaced with Dandelion fields throughout the neighborhood. They’ve been creeping toward other lawns, and each day you see them slide ever closer to untouched ground. It took a while, but since guy next door may grace us all with a freshly-mowed lawn once or twice a month, tops… he surely won’t be doing any weed removal or prevention. As they crept from his lawn and onto mine, the screwdriver wasn’t cutting it anymore.

After hunting for a suitable weapon to add to my growing arsenal of garden implements, I was initially eying  a product from Garden Weasel. Having been unable to locate one in-store (I want certain things now, so online ordering was not an option) I opted instead for a similar product from Ames True Temper – The HOUND DOG Weeder. I picked it up from Home Depot (just under $30) and within 30 minutes we were poppin’ Dandelions. 

The process is fairly simple: Center over the core of the offending plant, step on it, twist, pull.

It works great sometimes, as in this picture-perfect example:

IMG 7897 
Note that I said “sometimes.”

The HOUND DOG Weeder works best on the bigger, more established Dandelions. Pulls those right out. Smaller plants without a strong core root tend to become mutilated and require additional work. After the plant is removed, you slide the handle of the Weeder in order to eject the plant. It’s not always easy, and it actually sticks quite often. But if you can get past that, you can haul some bumm and end up with a sidewalk peppered with casualties from the Dandelion Army. Too bad for them.

IMG 7900

While the HOUND DOG Weeder is as a whole, pretty decent, where it fails is on turf that’s not entirely dry. A little bit of moisture, and the Dandelions will be pushed deep into the ground as opposed to being spiked and pulled. Despite those flaws, the HOUND DOG Weeder is a useful solider in the fight against unwanted enemies of the lawn.

As for that neighbor… he has a baby swing and bouncer sitting next to his garage. They’ve been there for over a year. Should garbage-cleaning Ninjas show up one night to clean up the mess for the good of the neighborhood?

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The Rock Father Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars 

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