Oh, the dandelion; Enemy of perfect green lawns everywhere!
Nothing can be so frustrating as the long winter ending, watching your grass turn from pale to bright green, and then all of a sudden the dandelions start popping up everywhere.
One day your lawn is green, and then the next it has yellow dandelion heads all over it.
And if you don’t act quickly, they turn white and spread their seeds everywhere. Ten dandelions quickly become thirty. Those 30 dandelions if left untouched will become 90 by the end of the summer.
Act quickly, or pay the price later.
It’s a battle you’ve fought every spring and every summer. Sometimes it seems as if the war will never end.
So how can you get rid of dandelions in your lawn? Let’s go over some of the ways to kill and remove them from your grass.
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Stop dandelions before they seed
Dandelions spread by flowering, drying and then spreading their seeds in the wind. If you stop them before they flower or dry out, you can prevent the seeds from spreading across your lawn. Each flower contains between 50-100 seeds. It’s important to stop your dandelion problem from getting worse.
Related: Common Northern Illinois Weeds
Don’t give them good conditions to grow
The best defense from dandelions and weeds is a thick healthy lawn. A patchy lawn leaves the seeds good places to land and grow. A well-fertilized lawn with thick grass will help prevent dandelions and broadleaf weeds from establishing themselves.
Dandelions grow better in poor soils that are more acidic, so your healthy soil will make it harder for them to establish themselves, and also make them easier to pull out of the ground.
Cutting your grass longer (at least 2 – 2 1/2 inches) will help block the sunlight they need to grow. Keeping your lawn mowed will help keep the dandelions from flowering, but will not kill them. Unfortunately, dandelions are hearty and will send up new flowers in just a couple days so mowing is not a real solution.
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Dig out the dandelions
You can dig out dandelions from your lawn to get rid of them. However, you must make sure you dig them completely out, roots and all. If you leave behind too much of the taproot, it will grow back.
The best time to dig out a dandelion is right after they have flowered but before they have gone to seeds. The dandelion must use most of it’s energy reserves to flower and the roots will be somewhat weaker at this point.
You can kill dandelions by covering them with a tarp to block them from getting the sun they need. You can use cardboard or a black cover made of plastic to cover to kill dandelions by blocking their sunlight. This method may also potentially kill the grass you cover, though.
Use homemade weed killers on dandelions
One effective homemade weed killer that you can use is boiling water. Heat up water to boiling in a teapot on your stove and then pour the water directly onto the plant center so it penetrates to its roots. You may need to apply boiling water more than once to fully kill them.
This method works well for dandelions in sidewalks or cracks in concrete because you don’t have to worry about killing your grass or other plants.
Vinegar is another effective homemade dandelion killer. You pour it into a spray bottle and spray the entire plant. Or you can pull the dandelion and pour vinegar on any remaining roots.
Related: Green T Weed Control with Free Service Calls
Use herbicides to kill dandelions
There are many herbicides available to consumers for killing dandelions. You should choose a selective post-emergent herbicide. Selective herbicides should spare your grass but kill the dandelion.
You should be wary of using powerful herbicides such as Roundup (which we don’t use or recommend). It is effective but it will kill everything it comes in contact with.
You may have seen this on neighbor’s lawns, where they have sprayed weeds in their lawn or along their sidewalk and it leaves brown patches of grass surrounding the application. The dandelion is dead, but so is the grass around it.
Good luck out there! Getting rid of dandelions is not easy but it’s a battle worth fighting.