When most of us think of daisies, we think of the white petaled-flower with the sunny yellow center. We think of plucking their stems and creating flower crowns and chains. However, much like the dandelion, the common daisy is actually considered a weed and can cause more harm than good in your landscape.
There are a number of varieties of daisy. The word daisy is a common name that describes many different kinds of plants. The Bellis perennis is a European daisy that is prevalent throughout much of the world. These produce tiny pale pink, purple, or red blooms around a bright yellow center. However, the ones that spring to mind for most is the oxeye daisy. This is a flower with 15-30 white petals surrounding a bright yellow disc flower that grows to be 1-2 inches in diameter and up to two feet tall.
The oxeye daisy originated in Asia. However, it has become a perennial wild plant in the United States and across much of Europe. Depending on the individual or the landscaper, the common daisy may be a desired addition to add to the curb appeal of a particular lawn. But for many, the invasiveness and height these wild plants can achieve make them challenging to manage.
Many types of flowers and plants with a fan of petals around a bright yellow center are referred to as daisies. However, the physical attributes of them can vary dramatically from one species to the next. What makes the daisy unique is that daisies produce something known as composite flowers. What that means is that each and every flower head is actually made up of many tiny flowers that grow together to appear as one single bloom. The outer fan of petals are known as ray flowers, and the center is made up of disc flowers. This is the part of the daisy flower that produces up to hundreds of tiny seeds for a single bloom.
Interestingly enough, although daisies may not be the desired bloom you want to see in your lawn or landscape, they can be a tasty addition to a culinary experience. The entire flower portion of the daisy can be eaten raw or brewed into a tea. The stems and petals alike can be added to salads or sandwiches or to simply make a beautiful addition to the presentation of a completed dish.
Controlling Daisies in Lawns and Landscapes
Depending on the type of daisy being dealt with, the ease with which they can be controlled and eradicated varies. Certain species, such as the Shasta daisy, are short-lived and easy to eliminate in undesired locations. However, the standard oxeye daisy can be invasive and difficult to manage. In addition to the many seeds that can be produced by a single bud, the oxeye daisy spreads by underground root systems, and new colonies of plants can pop up each year, even after the original plant dies.
Eliminating them all together requires diligence. The first step is to cut them down prior to blooming and work to catch all flower heads to prevent pollination. Next, dig rosettes out of landscape and gardens and remove as many of the roots as possible. As new plants pop up, be sure to remove them as soon as possible. Finally, in the winter months use a pre-emergent herbicide before new plants start growing. Targeting the application using broadleaf weed killer explicitly labeled for use on daisies will help control new growth into the next year.
Few things note summer more than blue skies, green grass, and daisies. While in many cases, these sunny flowers are a welcome sight in a landscape, they can be invasive and destructive. Proper control and mitigation will prevent daisies from taking over a landscape.