How to Get Rid of Dandelions for Good
Jump to: What Are Dandelions and Why Do I Have Them? | How to Get Rid of Dandelions | How to Prevent Dandelions | Benefits of Dandelions | Our Recommendation | FAQ
Beloved by children for their bright yellow flowers and fluffy white seeds, dandelions are a gardener’s nightmare. Though they won’t damage your lawn, these hardy flowering herbs are persistent and pervasive—they multiply quickly and can be found in every climate across North America.
The trick to getting rid of dandelions while maintaining a healthy lawn and flowerbeds is making your yard unfriendly territory for these pesky intruders. Here’s everything you need to know about how to kill dandelions without damaging nearby plants.
What Are Dandelions and Why Do I Have Them?
The common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a type of flowering herb. In ancient times, herbalists used dandelion plants for medicinal purposes. Today, most gardeners and landscapers consider the dandelion a weed.
Dandelions start popping up in early spring or whenever the soil gets above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In most of the country, the plants lie dormant during winter. Throughout the cold season, the taproot continues to survive underground. As a result, these plants are among the first perennial weeds to shoot up when temperatures begin to rise.
Just because you can’t see the dandelion flowers doesn’t mean the entire plant is dead. As broadleaf perennials, dandelion plants are characterized by long taproots, which develop branching root systems. The plants die in the fall but return in the spring if the roots remain intact.
Additionally, dandelion seeds blow in on the wind, so they can originate in your yard, your neighbor’s yard, or even cracks in the sidewalk. All these factors make dandelion removal notoriously challenging.
How to Get Rid of Dandelions
If you already have bright yellow flowers all over your turfgrass, stamping them out will take a little work.
Like other plants, dandelions uproot more easily in wet soil. If the weather has been dry, you can moisten the soil yourself. Here’s how to hand-pull dandelions from your lawn:
- Use a weeding knife to loosen the soil around the dandelion.
- Grasp the plant at the base and pull it out.
- Remove the entire taproot so that the plant doesn’t regrow.
- Kill any remaining dandelion roots with a nonselective herbicide.
Hand-pulling dandelions can lead to lower back pain, so do yourself a favor and invest in a dandelion puller. This handy gardening tool features a metal shaft with a forked end. Insert the pointed bit into the ground and lift out the dandelion using the tines.
Any herbicide that kills broadleaf weeds can help control your dandelion population. Remember that a nonselective broadleaf herbicide will kill any plant it touches—including your grass.
The most effective solution is a commercial preemergent herbicide sprayed in early spring before the dandelion seeds sprout. You can order this product through Amazon or pick it up at your nearby home and garden store.
If you’re considering using a do-it-yourself (DIY) weed killer, you can try corn gluten or boiling water. Vinegar (acetic acid) will also kill dandelions. Here’s what to do:
- Fill a spray bottle with pure white vinegar.
- On a sunny day, spray it on the dandelion leaves and roots until the plant is saturated.
- Avoid spraying on windy days to prevent the solution from drifting onto other plants or on rainy days when rainwater might neutralize the acid.
Keep in mind that vinegar is a broad-spectrum herbicide that may kill other plants, too. However, it can be an effective solution for spot treatments, such as eliminating dandelions in sidewalk cracks or other small areas.
How to Prevent Dandelions in Your Lawn
Dandelions aren’t picky—whether you have loamy, sandy, or claylike soil, dandelions can find a way to thrive. The best way to get rid of dandelions is to prevent them from taking root in the first place.
Fertilize Your Grass
Nutrient-rich soil supports dense, healthy grass growth. Applying the right amount of nitrogen can help ensure that the grass root system grows close, preventing new dandelion seeds from taking root among your turfgrass.
Mow Your Grass High
Since dandelion flowers require a heavy dose of sunlight, keep your grass on the tall side. This way, the nearby plants will prevent dandelion sprouts from growing by denying them access to sunlight. Keep the same concept in mind when using your gas or electric weeder. Mowing high doesn’t just prevent dandelions—it also helps tamp down other broadleaf perennial weeds, such as crabgrass.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
Mulching is one of the best methods of dandelion control. It adds nutrients, improves soil fertility, and provides proper aeration as it decomposes, further enriching your grass. Additionally, by spreading a layer of organic material over the soil, you can prevent weed seeds from germinating, accessing sunlight, and growing.
One way to mulch is to leave grass clippings on your lawn. Use a thin layer (no more than one-quarter inch thick) to allow the grass to start breaking down before it begins to rot. You can also use wood mulch at the base of trees to keep dandelions from finding a home there.
Invest in Regular Lawn Care and Maintenance
For severe dandelion issues, call in professional help. TruGreen‘s natural lawn care plan offers fertilizer treatments and preemergent weed control, which can help prevent dandelions and discourage other lawn weeds.
Benefits of Dandelions
Dandelions are beautiful and cheerful flowers. They have a long blooming season and are very easy to grow. During a typical 30-week growing season, you’ll get about three generations of dandelions in your yard.
Dandelion flowers are also an excellent food source for bees and other pollinators. Dandelions were a beloved garden flower for generations, and Europeans brought them to the New World on the Mayflower due to their medicinal qualities.
Dandelions’ naturopathic benefits are legendary—and probably true. These plants contain more vitamin C than tomatoes and more vitamin A than spinach. They are also rich in potassium, calcium, and iron.
Keep your lawn healthy and well-groomed. A thick, healthy lawn will leave little room for dandelion taproots to take hold. If you start to spot little yellow heads or puffballs of seeds, however, you can probably pluck them up with a dandelion puller or spray them with a natural herbicide.
If you notice more than a few dandelions on your lawn, it’s time to call a professional lawn care service, such as TruGreen, to help eliminate the problem at the source.
How to Get Rid of Dandelions for Good in 4 Steps
Photo: fotosearch. com
Though young children love dandelions for their bright yellow flowers and their irresistibly entertaining, fluffy seed heads, most lawn-tending grown-ups dread the sight of them. Dandelions are among the subset of weeds called broadleaf perennials, which are notoriously challenging to remove. Once a dandelion plant has fully established its 10-inch-long taproot, the weed will come back year after year, spreading its spawn across your lawn in perpetuity. That long root is the key to total extermination. If you want to truly rid yourself of a dandelion, you must kill or remove all of the taproot, or the unwanted sprout will come back again with a vengeance.
DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.
Need to get rid of dandelions? Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive.
GET RID OF DANDELIONS FOR GOOD
The quickest and least labor-intensive method of getting rid of dandelions is to spray them with a broadleaf herbicide that will kill the entire plant, not just the leaves, without harming the surrounding grass. But plenty of people would rather skip the harmful chemicals and take a more natural route. If that’s your desire, you should consider this long-term, multipronged approach to ridding your yard of dandelions.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS Available on Amazon
– Watering can
– Weed knife
– Natural weed killer
– Preemergent herbicide
STEP 1: Dig up the dandelions.
As any plant is more easily pulled from the ground if the soil is moist, first use the watering can to dampen the soil around the dandelion, and wait a few minutes for the moisture to settle in. Then, work a weeding knife down along the base of the dandelion in two or three places. Push the soil away from the root of the plant by wiggling the knife. Finally, grasp the base of the plant between your fingers and gently pull. If it still feels stuck, work the weeding knife around some more, and then gently pull out the entire taproot with the dandelion.
STEP 2: Carefully target and kill the dandelion root with herbicide.
Any portion of the dandelion’s taproot that remains will grow into a new plant again, so you must kill whatever is left. Most natural herbicides you’ll find at the store are nonselective, meaning they will kill any plant that comes into contact with them, including your grass. Keeping that in mind, carefully apply herbicide (either commercial or homemade) only into the hole from which you just pulled the dandelion.
STEP 3: Fill the hole in your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide and soil.
Having dug up the dandelion, you now have in your lawn an open spot with loose soil, which is vulnerable to other aggressive weeds. To discourage a new enemy from taking root, fill this hole as well with a pre-emergent herbicide. Even varieties of natural pre-emergent herbicide are nonselective, so it won’t be worth your while to try to plant new grass in the area. Instead, hope that runners from your already-established turfgrass plants will eventually fill in the spot.
DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.
Need to get rid of dandelions? Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive.
GET RID OF DANDELIONS FOR GOOD
STEP 4: Focus on your lawn’s health.
Finally, after battling your weeds, take the time to strengthen your lawn. A strong and healthy lawn will be less susceptible to weed invasion, because vigorous turfgrass plants don’t leave much room—or nutrients—for tricky perennial weeds like dandelions to take hold. So, for the long term, follow these standard practices for good lawn care:
- Water deeply but infrequently to encourage a strong, deep root system.
- Cut no more than a third of the length of the grass blades at any one time; this allows for good photosynthesis and keeps grass from drying out too quickly.
- Properly schedule your fertilizing based on your grass type—fall for cool-season grasses like fescues, spring for warm-season grasses like zoysia and Bermuda.
This routine for eliminating dandelions is time-intensive, but it has great appeal if you want to avoid toxic chemicals. Consider incorporating these activities into your regular lawn maintenance routine so you can regulate and deal with dandelions on a smaller scale. With a little diligence and patience, you can banish these garish troublemakers for good.
How to get rid of dandelions in the area
May 27, 2022
Bright yellow flowers grow so fast that they can destroy carefully planted cultivated plants. Therefore, it is important to react in time.
You can listen to the short version of the article. If it’s more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.
How to get rid of dandelions in the area
There are many ways to fight weeds. We offer the most simple, affordable and effective.
Use a regular scythe, trimmer or lawn mower. Mow plants at a minimum height from ground level 1-2 times a week. So you will not get rid of weeds for good, but slow down their growth, do not let them bloom and give seeds, and eventually deplete them.
This procedure is especially effective while the plants have not yet released buds and have not had time to bloom. If you had to mow the flowers already, burn them or throw them away far outside the site. Do not compost them or leave them on the site, as the seeds may ripen even after mowing and scatter in all directions again.
Dig up the dandelions
The roots of the plant can go down to a depth of 30-50 cm. And it is hardly possible to remove them without improvised means. If you tear out only the greens and the upper part of the root system, growth will resume over time. Therefore, it is safer to dig.
Water the plant first, this will make it easier to get it out of the ground. And then take the right tool.
Use a shovel
The most affordable option is a long and narrow garden shovel or knife. Carefully dig the plant from all sides around the root and pull it out along with an earthen clod.
If there are not too many weeds, they can simply be dug up. Photo: ulev33 / Shutterstock
An ordinary shovel will do. Dig up a dandelion, throw out the root, and the soil can be returned back.
Use a root remover
A more advanced option is a special root remover. The principle of operation is the same as with a shovel, only the process is a little simpler.
Removing dandelions from the area with a root remover is faster and easier than with a shovel. Screenshot: Dmitry Kashkanov / YouTube
Install the device directly above the weed and deepen into the ground. Then pull up to extract the root.
Burn any weeds you remove from the ground, or discard far off site. If you just put them in a common compost pit, the seeds can ripen and scatter again in your flower beds, beds and lawns.
Burn out the dandelions
Take a portable gas burner. Turn on the flame and burn out all parts of the dandelion that are above the ground. Pay special attention to the center of the bush, where the flowers come from.
This way you will slow down the development of the weed, but not completely destroy it.
Pour boiling water over
Boil water in a kettle and immediately pour everything over the dandelion. Half a liter is enough for one bush. For effectiveness, repeat the procedure 2-3 more times. A few days after a hot shower, the weeds will die.
Be careful: if it comes into contact with other plants, boiling water will damage them as well.
Sprinkle with salt
Use a sharp knife to cut off the above-ground part of the weed. Sprinkle the cut area liberally with salt. The substance will draw moisture from the root system, and the plant will eventually die.
This method is good if there are very few dandelions in the area. If you overdo it with salt, salinization of the soil cannot be avoided. This means that there is a risk that nothing at all will grow in such a place.
Spray with vinegar
Mix equal parts water and vinegar essence. On a dry and calm day, spray the weeds generously with a spray bottle and pour a little under the root. Act carefully and pointwise, try not to get on other landings. After 1-2 days, dig up the already dead plant.
For greater effect, the vinegar solution can also be poured into the hole left after the dandelion.
Buy weed killer from a gardening store. Please note that their action is continuous and selective. In the first case, chemistry will destroy all plants, and in the second, only monocots or dicots, which include dandelions. When choosing a product, pay attention to the packaging, it always indicates what the herbicide is suitable for – for example, to protect the lawn from dandelions and other weeds.
The operation algorithm is simple:
- Dilute the drug in the form of a liquid or powder in water strictly according to the instructions.
- Spray plants with a spray bottle.
- Remove dead dandelions from the lot.
Before using the product, do not forget to carefully read the instructions on the packaging to take into account all the nuances. And be sure to follow all the precautions.
How to prevent dandelions in your garden
Use one of the simple methods.
- Be sure to dig the entire area deep in spring and autumn. And before planting at the beginning of the season, root out all the weeds that have already appeared from the ground.
- Do not leave empty spaces. The beds can be protected with covering material. But in the flower beds it will not look too aesthetically pleasing. It is better to mulch them, that is, cover them with wood chips, chopped bark, or even grass cut from your own plot. Well, lay out the paths with tiles or other coatings. In empty places, you can also sow green manure, such as rapeseed or mustard. Such crops will crowd out weeds and suppress their growth.
- Mow lawn grass at a height of no more than 7 cm. This will create difficulties for the development of weeds.
Read also 🌳🌱☘
- What to cook from greens
- How to feed strawberries to get a good harvest
- How to get rid of moles in the garden
- How to plant a tree
- How to grow lettuce in a garden bed or windowsill
how to get rid of it forever and what remedies are effective
“But why talk to her? Dandelions grow in her yard!” – so in the villages in the old days they spoke about negligent housewives. And all because the fight against this weed is a difficult and tedious task, and if there are a lot of these flowers in the yard, it means that the woman is too lazy to weed them.
And even worse for modern summer residents – when you come to the site once a week, it is difficult to control the growth of weeds. So what to do? How to get rid of dandelions?
How to get rid of dandelions in the area forever
There are 3 reliable ways.
The safest way to deal with dandelions is by weeding. But also the most problematic. It is impossible to defeat them with an ordinary hoe – it cuts down only the above-ground part of the plants, and the dandelion has a very massive rhizome, on which renewal buds are located. And as soon as you cut down the tops, the roots will immediately give new leaves. Yes, if you constantly cut plants with a hoe, then sooner or later the rhizome will be exhausted and die. But trust me, you will exhaust yourself sooner.
Weeding can and should be done, but it is important to choose the right tools.
Root remover. This tool is rarely found in the arsenal of summer residents, but it is convenient and ideal for dandelions. It is a handle with a T-shaped handle, and at the end there is a metal nozzle in the form of thin sharp teeth twisted in a spiral.
The essence of working with it is as follows: stick the nozzle into the soil so that the dandelion is in the center of the spiral, turn the tool in a circle and take it out together with a clod of earth and a root. Shake out or take out the weed and move on to the next one. On heavy clay soils, it is difficult to work with a root remover, but in general the tool is good and effective.
Shovel. The main task in the fight against dandelions is to remove rhizomes from the soil. This is easy to do with a shovel – stick the blade into the soil, slightly (not completely) twist the clod of earth, take out the rhizome from it, and then lower the clod back.
The method is very reliable, but troublesome and requires physical effort. It can be adopted if dandelions grow in the garden, vegetable garden, flower beds and there are not many of them. You can’t do that on a lawn. And in the cracks between the slabs, you can’t get the weeds with a shovel either.
Knife. Another way is to cut out the rhizomes with a knife. The knife should be sharp and with a long thin blade. Stick the blade near the dandelion at an angle, cut the root as deep as you can, and remove it from the soil. Even if the tip of the rhizome remains in the soil, the weed will not grow back, because its buds are in the upper part.
Weeding is a classic method of struggle, but it has a significant disadvantage – dandelions will still appear. Even if you carefully exhaust all the rhizomes, seeds from neighboring plots and nearby meadows will fly to you. So you have to weed constantly.
This method will allow you to get rid of dandelions in the garden for the whole season. All you need to do is cover the aisles of the beds with black mulch non-woven material, you can buy it at any garden center. Better yet, cover the beds completely, and plant the seedlings in cruciform cuts (or cut longitudinal strips for sowing seeds in rows), then there will be no open land in the garden at all. Weeds, like any plants, need light, and such a canvas does not let it through. As a result, weeds die, even malicious rhizomes. Their seeds, which were in the soil, also cannot germinate. And the seeds that were brought by the wind, although they will be in the light, will not have contact with the soil and will not be able to take root in it.
The method is quite reliable, but many summer residents do not like it – the fabric between the beds looks ugly. But this is easy to fix if you cover it with a layer of natural mulch – hay, straw, chopped bark or rotted sawdust.
And, of course, this method is only suitable for cultivated land – flower beds or vegetable gardens. Closing the lawn with a cloth will not work.
This method is ideal for lawns: it is enough to treat them with herbicide and dandelions will die.
But here it is important to choose the right herbicide. All of them are divided into 2 groups – continuous and selective action (1). Solid kill all plants in a row. And selective only certain species – monocotyledonous or dicotyledonous. The traditional lawn is cereals, they belong to monocots. Dandelions are dicot plants. Therefore, you need a herbicide for dicots – it will not damage the lawn, but it will destroy dandelions. Among the popular lawn herbicides are Deimos, Hacker, Lintur (2). But you don’t have to remember them – almost all manufacturers write on the packaging: “For the lawn”.
Working with herbicides is easy – dilute it in water, pour it into a sprayer, treat the lawn (of course, in a respirator and in calm weather, but this is in the instructions) – and you don’t know grief. For some time. But then you have to repeat the treatment again – dandelion seeds will definitely fly to your lawn.
By the way, herbicides can be used not only on the lawn, but also for the treatment of paths – it is not easy to crawl into the gap between the plates and stones with tools, and chemical agents cope with this task perfectly.
Non-standard solutions for dandelion control
All of the listed methods are known. But there are methods of weed control that few people know about. But they work too!
Green manures. Many summer residents are familiar with this word, but not everyone understands what it is and why. Siderats are plants that heal the soil – increase fertility, rid it of diseases and suppress the growth of weeds (3). There are many green manures, but the most affordable and effective are mustard and rapeseed. In the process of growth, they release special substances into the soil – glycosides, which inhibit the growth of other plants, including dandelions. You can sow green manure on the beds in early spring – in mid-April. For about a month they will grow, ridding the site of harmful plants (which also germinate very early), after which they are dug up, embedding the green mass in the soil. Rotting, it will become an excellent fertilizer for vegetables.
Green manure can be used in the garden. In flower beds, too, if annual plants are grown there. In perennial plantings, it is problematic to sow them, and even more difficult to dig up. And on the lawn, of course, they will not be sown.
Vodka. No, she’s not there to drink and give up on dandelions. She has a different goal. This method was invented in the 1930s in the USA. Its essence is as follows: 150 g of vodka should be diluted in 10 liters of water and poured over the soil in the garden with this solution a month before sowing or planting cultivated plants. After such watering in your beds … weeds will sprout en masse – almost all seeds will germinate. “And what’s the catch?” – you ask. And the fact that you once run through your beds with a hoe and forget about weeds for almost the whole summer, because there will be no seeds left in the soil – alcohol will stimulate their germination. In the summer, of course, new ones will fly in, but not in such numbers – it will be much easier to deal with them.
Popular Questions and Answers
We talked about the fight against dandelions with agronomist Svetlana Mikhailova.
Will dandelions die if they are constantly mowed?
Rather no than yes. They have a huge number of buds on the rhizome, after mowing new leaves will grow very quickly. And the rhizome itself has a large margin of safety – it is almost impossible to deplete it with frequent mowing.
Is it possible to kill dandelions with salt?
This is a very effective method, if you cut the plant flush with the soil and thickly cover the cut with salt – it will draw all the moisture out of the root, and it will die. But with an abundance of dandelions on the site, this is physically unrealistic. In addition, salt is very dangerous – in large quantities it can cause salinization of the soil, and nothing will grow in such a plot for a long time.
Can dandelions be added to compost?
Possible. But it is important that the rhizomes are at the bottom of the compost – there it is very hot and will destroy the renewal buds. Leaves can also be added on top. But the heads with seeds in the compost have no place – they are able to survive in any conditions and then sprout on the beds where you make the compost.
- Gruzdev G.S. Chemical protection of plants (under the editorship of G.S. Gruzdev – 3rd ed., revised and additional) // M .: Agropromizdat, 1987 – 415 p.
- State catalog of pesticides and agrochemicals permitted for use on the territory of the Russian Federation as of July 6, 2021 // Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, https://mcx.gov.ru/ministry/departments/departament-rastenievodstva-mekhanizatsii-khimizatsii-i-zashchity-rasteniy/industry-information/info-gosudarstven naya-usluga-po-gosudarstvennoy-registratsii-pestitsidov-i-agrokhimikatov/
- Shuvaev Yu.N. Soil nutrition of vegetable plants // M.