While youngsters may make wishes on dandelions’ fuzzy heads and white puffballs, gardeners and lawn enthusiasts are more likely to blame the joyful yellow flowers when they arrive. And it’s not without reason, as dandelions crowd out grass and other plants while sucking water and nutrients from surrounding plants.
The first step in defeating dandelions is to know how they work. Dandelion plants can thrive for 5 to 10 years and reach a diameter of 20 inches. No lawn or plant bed is immune to an invasion of dandelion seeds since they are disseminated by wind-blown seed (kids blowing). Dandelion weed is tough, but with our guide, you can learn how to deal with dandelions in your yard. (Learn What Kills Weeds Permanently)
By the end, the yellow flowers will no longer bother you. You’ll know how to use dandelion greens and how to prevent dandelions from taking over your lawn.
What are Dandelions?
Many individuals often ask, are dandelions weeds? While Dandelions are among a subset of weeds called broadleaf perennials, there is more to dandelions growing than a nuisance weed.
- The dandelion, whose name comes from the French word “dent de lion” or “lion’s tooth,” is a plant native to Europe and Asia.
- It presents a single yellow bloom or white, fluffy seed head that sprouts from a cluster of jagged green leaves that distinguish this flowering herb.
- Dandelions are hardy and can take almost any place, but they prefer full sun and temperate conditions.
- A dandelion is a wild broadleaf perennial herb, which in early spring, produces yellow flowers.
- While they can ruin curb appeal, they can benefit a lawn. Dandelions’ root systems can grow up to three feet long and loosen compacted soil, and aerates and allows water and nutrients to penetrate deeper.
- Also, dandelions draw in nutrients from the soil, return them to neighboring plants, and help reduce soil erosion by holding the earth in place.
How to Get Rid of Dandelions
Ridding your yard of dandelions can be extremely difficult. Yet you should know they have redeeming properties. Dandelions have long been used for food, the flowers made into wine and various parts used for medicinal purposes. Yellow dandelion flower petals and greens can be cooked or raw for vitamins A, C and K.
Although dandelions are among the first flowers to arrive in spring when the soil temperature warms above 50 F, the flower and seed heads may be spotted most of the year, typically when soil temperatures are around 75 F. (Find the Best Weed and Feed)
Here are the best ways how to kill dandelions?
Hand Pull dandelions
- If your issues are isolated to a few individual plants, you can pull dandelions when they are still in flower and before they develop the fluffy seed heads.
- To prevent seeds from spreading, water your lawn or wait for heavy rain to damp the soil, and your dandelions will be easier to pull out.
- You can use a weeding tool or one of the many dandelion pullers you can find. So longs as your dandelion puller can loosen the tap root in the soil, you can gently pull the plant out without breaking.
- Carefully pour a natural broadleaf herbicide or vinegar into the hole, so you can kill portions of the remaining taproot. Such herbicide solutions can kill surrounding grass or nearby plants, so be exact with your herbicide.
- Fill the hole with soil and top with turf grass seed.
Use a Weed Puller
- A common way of dandelion removal is to use a weed puller. Special dandelion pullers are a natural, selective way that is far quicker than pulling by hand.
- When soil is damp, taproots come up easily.
- Place the serrated claws of the dandelion puller above the flower’s head and step down onto the platform to drive the tool into the ground. Ease back, thus letting the claws close around the plant and the entire taproot. You can then carefully do your dandelion removal.
- Hand pulling leaves a lot smaller hole in the ground than dandelion pullers, so be careful if you decide to pour broadleaf herbicide or vinegar into it to kill dandelions.
Use Chemical Weedkiller
Chemical herbicide management could be the best option to deal with dandelions in your yard. Although such products are efficient against dandelions and other broadleaf weeds, they are popular a couple of hours before you see results.
- However, such herbicide compounds are hazardous to humans, wildlife, and other plants. Chemical weed killers can eliminate your dandelions, robbing you of any benefits that a modest number of plants might bring.
- When plants are young and the soil is moist to allow toxins to permeate, chemical control weed killers should be used.
- Here, you use a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide if your dandelions have already bloomed and you need to spot treat.
Use Natural Weed Killer for Dandelions
You can’t find any selective organic herbicides, so if you select a natural weed killer, you’ll need to treat each weed individually or harm your turfgrass and nearby plants.
It is, however, easy to use a natural weed killer in the early fall or use boiling water before removing dandelions. (Find the Best Walk Behind Weed Eater)
Like other chemical weed killers, natural herbicides must be applied on young dandelions and moist soil.
- Spray the individual plants, and watch for the surrounding grass and nearby plants.
- Once the plant withers, loosen the surrounding soil using a hand trowel if needed and pull to remove the taproot and prevent new plant growth.
How to Kill or Control Dandelions Naturally
The most effective dandelion control is to promote a healthy lawn, as the grass can protect itself from such weeds and erase the time needed for dandelion removal. Grass clippings can be left on the lawn as they act as mulch, preventing the seeds from germinating.
Leave your grass at heights of 2 to 3 inches when mowing, as the grass denies weeds access to light and dandelion seeds from germinating. To remove dandelions naturally, you need to get your hands dirty, so here are the best methods for dandelion control.
Weeding isn’t the quickest way to remove dandelions, but if you’ve only a few roots to pull, it’s the best alternative. Wet the soil surrounding the plant since dandelion roots are deep.
It’s also best to use a tool designed for the task to pull the entire plant and dandelion root. Repeat as much as you need to remove as many dandelion flowers as you need to get rid of.
Another way to kill dandelions is to deprive them of the sunlight the weed seeds need to germinate and flowers need to thrive. Cut the blossom and stem off, then mulch to a thick lawn of about 3 inches.
This prevents the plant from growing by blocking its energy source and thus killing dandelions with no more effort.
Reseeding or Resodding
While severe yet effective, laying new grass seed or sod can be an effective way how to kill dandelions, though expensive. Thick lawns naturally crowd out weeds. Dandelion control is also helped by frequent lawn maintenance.
Using this method means bare spots in lawns can be covered by new plants depending on grass type.
Use Alternative Substances
Unfortunately, there are no truly reliable household remedies for getting rid of dandelions. While salt can work, it can kill other plants and grass.
Boiling water is effective, yet can also kill any plant it touches and won’t reach dandelion taproots.
Vinegar must be horticultural vinegar (acetic acid) to act as a herbicide, or it won’t be strong enough.
Before germinating weed seeds, use corn gluten as a chemical-free pre-emergent herbicide to prevent dandelions from taking root. Apply twenty pounds of corn gluten per 1,000 square feet of lawn, then water it lightly to let it absorb it.
Corn gluten is among the toxic chemicals to dandelion seeds and other plants, so use it cautiously.