Spring is here, leaves are sprouting on the trees, daffodils are blooming, and dandelions will soon be popping up in our parks. Every spring, our Parks Team receives calls asking, “Why doesn’t the Park District control dandelions?” There are two main reasons why we let them grow:
First, our Environmental Policy focuses on protecting air, water, soil, and wildlife. Spraying chemicals to control dandelions pollutes our parks’ air, water, and soil. So we aim to avoid spraying lawn chemicals to eliminate what some feel are a nuisance.
Secondly, dandelions are one of the first plants to sprout in the spring and are important to our ecosystem. The yellow flowers provide a source of pollen and nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Dandelion leaves feed birds, chipmunks, and other wildlife. Bees, in particular, are on the verge of extinction. Without them, our food supply will be impacted dramatically. The Park District has installed six bee hives to help promote the bee population.
While the dandelions are in full bloom, the turf grass is also starting to grow. Our Parks Team will soon mow the grass and the dandelions, giving our parks the uniform green appearance everyone wants. So the next time you see the yellow blooms, remember that the pollinators and wildlife are benefitting from dandelions, and in turn, so are we!