Spring Means Dandelions…And Dimwitted HOAs

It’s springtime, and that means dandelions are sprouting up in yards, which also means it’s an annual exercise in dealing with a do-loop of stupid. Specifically, I’m referring to Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and HOA management companies who still seemingly operate with an antiquated mentality from an era when we didn’t yet comprehend that dandelions aren’t noxious weeds and pesticides are toxic. It’s downright dimwitted, and it’s detrimental to our local ecosystems.

Do these HOA management companies ever bother to educate themselves about critical environmental issues associated with yard and lawn maintenance? It’s a never-ending cycle in frustration and disgust, trying to explain to entities hellbent on enforcing inane rules, rules they never bother to question or update using scientific analysis and actual facts.

Every single spring season here in the desert, within days after heavy rain, HOAs spew notices about “pulling weeds” while the ground is still moist, advising us to hastily remove these alleged weeds ourselves or pay a gardener for this supposedly urgent task.

This March my HOA management company sent the notice on a Friday afternoon when 65 mile-an-hour winds were forecasted for Saturday and Sunday. But why worry about personal safety when the HOA wants you to pull those weeds within hours of them daring to sprout green amongst the gravel?

And how is it an HOA management company can’t grasp the reality that professional gardeners don’t pull weeds? They spray them. With toxins proven harmful to all living things. Dandelions, however, are not toxic or harmful to living things.

Just because Americans obsessed with their worthless grass lawns for the past century decided that dandelions were bad and needed to be eradicated doesn’t mean they had the first clue about anything, but HOAs mindlessly act like that’s what should still be happening in 2024. Even when grass lawns are now persona non grata in the desert, and never belonged here anyway. Because lawn grass is a non-native species that serves no critical purpose and needs a lot of precious, increasingly expensive water to maintain.

Here’s some facts clearly unacknowledged by HOAs. US Fish and Wildlife Service statistics show homeowners use nearly ten times the amount of pesticides per acre than farmers to kill so-called weeds, including dandelions. But dandelions are masters of survival despite toxic attempts to remove them from grass lawns. Because dandelions reproduce quickly and effectively, while expensive, harmful, and ineffective pesticides go straight into our watershed when it rains, doing no good whatsoever for any living thing.

The irony here is that while pesticides are bad for the environment in every conceivable way, dandelions are actually good for our yards. They aerate the soil and help reduce erosion. Dandelions fertilize grass due to deep taproots that pull nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil, making this nourishment available to other plants.

Dandelions, unlike toxins people use to kill them, have human health benefits. They are a rich source of vitamins and calcium, long used in traditional medicine for such things as liver problems, urinary disorders, and to control diabetes. A dietary supplement for digestive issues and weight loss, there’s even a dandelion detox tea. They help maintain bone strength and promote healthy skin.

Most importantly, dandelions are an important food source for honeybees, bumblebees, beetles, birds, butterflies, and a host of insects beneficial to our ecosystem. When dandelions are sprayed with chemicals, it can have serious and fatal consequences to their health and wellbeing, and to ours.

Loss of honeybees alone is already adversely impacting the human food supply. Each dandelion flower has up to 100 florets filled with sweet nectar and pollen, a critical food source for honeybees, especially in early spring. Honeybees pollinate 70 to 100 crop species that feed 90 percent of the world. One third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees. If bees don’t have enough to eat, we don’t have enough to eat.

Stormwater runoff from toxic weedkiller chemicals poisons our interconnected water bodies. Runoff from chemicals is therefore harmful to pets, people and other living things. Roundup literally causes cancer.

Homeowners who spray dandelions are not doing so based on facts. They do so because they think dandelions are bad and might make their lawn messy. The problem is HOAs perpetuate this ignorant ridiculousness. Yards are a lot healthier when dandelions flourish. But HOAs are still obsessed with removing them. Why?

Priorities are completely out of whack for HOAs on many commonsense issues. But this dandelion removal obsession is absolutely infuriating because HOAs appear to refuse to recognize the realities of the world around them, and can’t seem to realize that they are part of the problem, enforcing outdated, idiotic rules in a manner that directly degrades local ecosystems and endangers all living things.

Until HOAs get a clue, they are hazardous to our health.  In my fifth novel of the Other Worldly series, Being Alien, I covered the plight of the honeybee and its vital importance to Earth’s food supply. In my current novel in progress, Aliens Watch, the critical importance of water conservation preservation is featured. Perhaps its time to create an anti-environmental (and therefore anti-alien) HOA villain.



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