Having a lawn means spending a lot of time caring for it. It’s not only mowing. You also need to get rid of some pesky weeds that grow in your garden, including dandelions. But why would someone want to kill those charming yellow flowers or white puffballs from their yard?
Because dandelion flowers “eat” from your grass. Luckily, as there’s a way to get rid of moss and kill weeds that grow in your lawn or patio slabs, you can remove dandelions as well. Let’s find out how to get rid of them in simple steps!
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What dandelions are and when to kill them
Dandelions are a type of weed. As a matter of fact, they’re herbs with many health benefits, used to make tea, wine or salads. You can distinguish them from the yellow flowers or the fluffy seeds, or else the white puffballs. But, as beautiful and beneficial it might be for humans, we can’t say the same about your lawn. Or they are?
Dandelions are good for lawns as they can loosen compacted soil and help nutrients go deeper into the ground. What’s not good for your lawn is the number of dandelions. Too many of them will absorb the nutrients and water a healthy lawn needs to thrive. That’s why you shouldn’t let them grow within your grass.
The best time to get rid of these fluffy seed heads is in early spring or early autumn. In spring, new plants won’t have yet grown. In autumn, mature plants won’t be able to store nutrients in their root systems to survive winter.
How to kill dandelions with a herbicide
The easiest and quickest way to get rid of dandelions is by using a herbicide. There are two types you can use: A selective broadleaf herbicide and a non-selective one. Both types are effective to kill broadleaf weeds, like dandelions. Their main difference lies in the fact that the former will kill only the dandelion plants and not the nearby plants, including your lawn, whilst the latter will kill any plant that will come into contact. A non-selective is better to be used for spot dandelion removal in flower beds where you can protect the surrounding plants and flowers with plastic sheeting. Or in walkways, where you don’t risk destroying your grass.
Generally speaking, any weed killer used for dandelion control or weed control is best used before developing flowers. As soon as weeds have flowers, none will be effective.
Having said all this, let’s see how to kill the entire plant and, at the same time, to keep the rest of the flowers and your grass safe.
Needed tools and materials:
- Watering can
- Weed knife
- Pre Emergent herbicide
Steps to follow
- Remove dandelions
Use your watering can to moist the soil around the plant. It would be much easier to pull dandelions off when the ground is dampened. As soon as the soil is moistened, do as follows:
- Get your weed knife and work it down along the root of the plant. Just make sure you push the knife in two to three different places.
- Start twisting the knife to push the soil away from the root. Do the same all around the plant to loosen the soil and make it easier to pull it off.
- Finally, grab the plant close to the soil and pull it. If you find it hard to do so, get your knife and work it a bit more. Then, you’ll be able to remove the entire taproot.
- Kill the dandelion root
Now it’s time to make your lawn dandelion free. You should kill the dandelion taproot, which still remains in the ground. If you choose to use a non-selective herbicide, apply it really carefully into the hole where the plant used to be. On the other hand, if you use a broadleaf one, just spray it over our lawn. Just make sure you choose the right one for your lawn type.
- Fill the hole
If you think that just removing the plant is all you need to do, you have another thing coming. Once you have removed the plant, there’ll be an open hole in your lawn that you must treat carefully to prevent other pesky weeds from growing. To avoid any further weed growing, fill the hole with a pre-emergent solution. Just don’t expect new grass to grow in that area due to the herbicide. Instead, runners from your existing lawn will fill in the area at some point.
How to kill dandelions naturally
For those who don’t want to use chemicals, and prefer a more environmentally safe way to clear their yard of dandelions, here are four methods.
1. Hand digging
Hand digging is probably the most effective way to weed control, and the same applies to the case of dandelions. It should be done in the spring when the first seedlings appear. If you want, you can use special tools, like a dandelion puller, to make its removal easier.
Now, you should remove the taproot of the dandelion. Dandelions grow long taproots that are really deep. That’s why you need to dig deep and schedule a hand digging every few weeks to remove any new dandelion seeds that will try to germinate.
Dandelions need sunlight to grow. A way to kill them is by hiding the sunlight. What you need to do is to cut the flowers and the stem first. Then, just cover the dandelion leaves with 7.5cm mulch. And that’s all. This way, you will block the sunlight and prevent dandelion weeds from growing.
Another effective method to clear your yard of dandelions is to lay down new grass seeds. New seeds will wipe dandelions out and prevent new ones from growing. There are different grass types to choose from, like zoysia, Bermudagrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, or buffalograss. These types produce thick and dense lawns preventing dandelions from growing in your yard.
4. Using natural weed killers
But for the chemicals, you can use more natural products to kill weeds from your property. There are a couple more green ways you can apply: vinegar and water.
If you don’t want to use chemicals and hand digging hasn’t worked well in your case, there are dozens of ways to kill weeds naturally. Such a way is white vinegar. You may be wondering, “Does vinegar kill weeds?” The answer is YES. It’s the most eco-friendly way to kill weeds.
However, pay attention while using it as it can kill all the plants, including your lawn, due to its acetic acid concentration. Therefore, to get rid of dandelions using vinegar, you need to pull the plant out and pour some vinegar into the hole to destroy its roots.
A second eco-friendly method to destroy dandelions is boiling water. However, hot water can also harm the rest of the plants and flowers in your garden. Hence, make sure the water doesn’t contact any other plant but only dandelions when applying this method.
How to prevent dandelions from growing
Getting rid of dandelion plants is only half the job. Dandelions are perennial weeds. Thus they’ll keep “visiting” you unless you remove their root system. Follow the three below steps to prevent them from coming back.
- Fertilise: Fertilising is an effective way for lawn care. The healthier your grass, the less possible it is for dandelions to develop.
- Corn gluten: As impossible as it might sound, corn gluten meal prevents lawn weeds from germinating and growing. Spread some over your lawn in the spring to stop dandelions from taking over your grass.
- Mow high: If you are in the habit of mowing your lawn within 2.5 cm, you better stop it. To keep new dandelion seeds out of your grass, mow your grass at about 5 cm high.
Having dandelions on your lawn might not be such a big problem unless they are in large quantities. If dandelions cover a large area of your lawn or don’t want them there, you can get rid of them either by using chemicals or following a more natural way. The choice is yours!