Applying Chemical Treatments To Kill Dandelions
Broadleaf herbicides do a great job of terminating dandelion populations. Spray the plants with the weed killer of your choice during the fall months, and the toxins will travel, along with the nutrients, down to the roots.
Theres a chance you may have to mist on a second application before the weed is completely killed. If its already spring, no worries. Early spring is the second-best time to get rid of dandelion plants.
Use the same pre-emergent solution youd use to get rid of crabgrass, such as Roundup, to kill these lawn weeds before their seeds germinate.
Target And Kill Dandelion Root
If there is any portion of the dandelions taproot remaining, it will grow into a new plant. It is important to kill every last bit of the root so that no new plants emerge. As mentioned previously, most herbicides are nonselective meaning they will kill any plant they touch. Keeping this in mind, carefully apply the herbicide to the hole where the dandelion came out. This way you will kill the root of the dandelion without damaging any of your lawn.
Killing Dandelions In Lawn With Vinegar
Youll often hear that vinegar is the number 1 enemy of weeds. Yes, its true that weeds, including dandelions, dont like the acetic acid in vinegar as it damages their leaves and flowers.
Butyes there is a but, household vinegar isnt strong enough to kill dandelions as it only contains 5% acetic acid. The stronger type of vinegar used in horticultural applications contains 20% acetic acid, which is more effective in killing the leaves of dandelions. I dont recommend this option as you may risk burning your skin.
For a more effective and safer solution, mix ¼ cup of lemon juice with 1 cup of household vinegar and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. The lemon juice will make the solution sticky for better results. Spray the sticky mixture thoroughly on the leaves of the dandelions and give it time to work its way against the weed. Within three hours or so, the sprayed dandelions will start withering before your eyes.
Keep reading as I will reveal some great tips on how to prevent dandelions from coming back to your lawn by the end of the article.
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Killing Dandelions In Lawn Without Killing Grass
Dandelions are a perennial weed from the Taraxacum family of plants. They are a broadleaf weed, which means they develop leaves similar to flowers that separate them from their more difficult to discern counterparts, grassy weeds. Knowing the types of plants youre dealing with is especially important when it comes to finding the perfect strategy for dealing with them in your yard.
Pull Dandelions By Hand
If the problem is isolated to a few individual plants, these tips from Wagner can help.
- Pull dandelions when they are still in flower, before they develop seed heads.
Water your lawn or wait until after a heavy rain, so the soil is damp and the dandelions will be easier to pull out.
Use a weeding tool or pointed garden trowel to help loosen the tap root in the soil, then gently pull the plant out. If done correctly, the tap root should pull up from the soil with little tension, letting you know that youre not breaking it, Wagner says.
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Why Do Dandelions Need To Be Removed From Lawns
A dandelion is a perennial weed that takes root in lawns, borders or on hard surfaces, like paths or driveways. Their dark green base leaves remain all year round and the yellow flowers appear between March and October.
These plants flower quickly and once they take hold, they will spread quickly. Before you know it, you could have more of these persistent weeds than you have grass.
How To Remove Dandelions From Your Yard
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Estimated Cost: $0 to 20
Dandelions, with their little yellow flowers and fluffy seed puffs, can be a nuisance to gardeners when they pop up where they’re not wanted. Above ground their seeds ride the wind currents to propagate the species. And below ground the weed sends down a taproot up to 10 inches long that can be difficult to remove in its entirety. Gardeners typically approach dandelion removal in two ways: pulling the plant or spraying it with herbicide.
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How To Prevent Dandelions From Coming Back
Getting rid of your dandelion plants is only half the battle. They will come back if the entire root system isnt removed or killed. And because youre dealing with a perennial, you can expect the same plants to pop up year after year until you use the correct lawn management strategy. Experts recommend this three-point dandelion-prevention strategy:
Why Are They Tough To Kill
Their overall hardiness and ability to spread an abundance of seed can make dandelions tough to control.
Unlike a lot of broad leaf weeds, dandelions dont die at the end of the growing season. Instead, dandelions are perennial meaning they go dormant during the winter months but will reappear in the spring.
Dandelions are also tough to kill because of their long tap root. A single tap root anchors deep into the soil making manual removal difficult. Its almost impossible to remove the full root of a mature plant with your bare hands, and if you dont remove the whole root then the plant will likely survive.
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How Do You Permanently Stop Weeds From Growing
In order to kill weeds down to the root and permanently stop them from returning, use the following methods:
- Lawn Weeds: Kill existing weeds with a grass-safe herbicide. Then, spread pre-emergent to stop new weeds from sprouting.
- Garden Weeds: Hand-pull weeds, then spread pre-emergent to prevent weed seeds from sprouting.
- Weeds in Concrete/Gravel: Spray a combination herbicide that kills weeds and prevents them from growing again for up to 1 year.
Pull Dandelions With A Weed Puller
Using special dandelion pullers is a natural, selective method that can be quicker than hand-pulling and easier on your back.
Use when soil is damp, so taproots come up easily.
Position the serrated claws of the dandelion puller over the head of the flower and step down onto the foot platform to drive the tool into the ground. Pull back, letting the claws close around the plant and its taproot. Then pull it out of the ground.
Dandelion pullers generally leave a much smaller hole in the ground than hand pulling, so use extra care if you decide to pour herbicide or vinegar into the hole.
No need to fill the small hole with soil. The surrounding turfgrass will soon cover the area.
Have Dandelions Invaded Your Lawn
May 4, 2017
Dandelions are the most hated weed by anyone with a lawn. Although their name sounds sweet and innocent, theyre anything but that. Dandelions can reproduce from their taproot, which can reach over 3 feet deep in the soil, as well as from their seeds. This is why theyre such a difficult weed to control. If you follow some of these simple methods, you will be able to prevent these pesky weeds from taking over your turf.
The Organic Way To Get Rid Of Dandelions In Your Lawn
On poor acidic soil you could leave them to grow and “slowly” help improve the soil.
Dandelions love acidic, low nutrient soil. They will continue to grow in this type of soil, slowly helping improve it until it is no longer acidic and is full of nutrients and then, job done they will be crowded out by healthy lawn grass. This Organic method of clearing dandelions from your lawn, could depending on the size of the area, take a long time, but can be sped up by addressing the pH and shortage of nutrients by adding material from your organic compost heap.
An important step if you use this organic method is to behead all dandelion flowers before they go to seed to minimise the volume of seeds. This will speed-up the process, but it is still going to be a slow way of getting rid of dandelions and does take a lot of work initially. Once under control, the removal of the odd dandelion isn’t a major time issue and there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from knowing you have done it mother nature’s way
Even after you have cleared your lawn, you will get seeds from neighbours lawns who don’t bother to keep them under control and the important thing is to keep on top of it.
Another method of removing Dandelions from lawns without damaging the grass or using herbicides, is to dig out the whole plant and root.
These tools make digging out dandelion roots easy the first one is a great invention for removing dandelions, from lawns.
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Why Are Dandelions So Hard To Get Rid Of Theyre Built To Survive
Its not your imagination, dandelions are one of the most difficult weeds to control. The anatomy of a dandelion makes them a formidable foe and difficult to eradicate. They easily evade your mower blades by hugging the ground as they grow.
Dandelions produce an abundance of seeds, with or without cross-fertilization from another flower. The parachute-like seed structure makes them ideal for traveling freely on even the slightest breeze, expanding the weeds territory far and wide. There can be anywhere from 50 to 170 seeds on a single flower head and a single plant can producewait for itmore than 5,000 seeds annually! A prolific nuisance.
Dandelions grow deep, sturdy taproots, generally 618 in length and in ideal conditions they can grow to feet in length! By the time you see the dandelions bright golden flowers, its already well established. Undisturbed, dandelions can live for 10 to 13 years.
Although they grow best in moist soil and full sun, once established, theyll survive in dry and shady conditions. Youll find them growing in your lawn where grass cover is thin, in bare patches and compacted soilweeds often prefer places where grass would struggle.
Does Vinegar Kill Weeds Permanently
Vinegar does not kill weeds permanently. If you treat weeds with a mixture including vinegar, you will only damage weeds for a short period of time. This is because the acetic acid in vinegar burns the leaves of weeds but is neutralized by the soil. This means that the roots of the weeds will be unharmed. The damage to the leaves of weeds may make you think youve done the job, but the weeds will regrow from the roots.
- Vinegar only damages the leaves and stems of leavesit doesnt kill the roots.
- A weed sprayed with a mixture including horticultural vinegar is extremely likely to grow back.
- Hand-pull weeds or use a strong herbicide to stop weed growth permanently.
If you want to kill weeds permanently, you need to pull them up by the roots or use a systemic herbicide. Removing a weed by the roots prevents it from growing back. Systemic herbicides work by infiltrating the plant and killing it to the root. Both these options are several times more effective than homemade weed killer made with white vinegar.
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How To Kill Dandelions In Your Lawn
By Joan Clark
As children, we associate the white, fluffy seeds of dandelions with wishes waiting to be fulfilled with one powerful puff of breath. As adults, however, those white puffballs scattering on the wind become the stuff of nightmares. Instead, youre left wondering how to kill dandelions in your lawn and whether youll truly ever be rid of them for good.
While killing dandelions in lawn without killing grass seems like an impossibility at times, especially once those fluffy white seed heads begin to sprout, there are numerous measures you can take to stop the spread of these yellow flowers before they completely overtake your yard. The best way to kill dandelions is to know that its more than a quick-fix solution.
Getting rid of these lawn weeds takes time, and multiple techniques before youve eradicated all the dandelion seeds from your yard once and for all. The good news is, we have everything you need to get started right here. So, grab a small shovel and some gardening supplies, and get ready to dig right in.
Is It Bad To Pull Dandelions
It may be tempting to pull dandelions out of your lawn, Holmes says, but you are taking away the benefits they bring to the soil and surrounding plants. In addition, dandelion flowers are an essential source of food for bees and other pollinators. So eradicating too many of these nectar-rich flowers can have long-term negative consequences for the environment.
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Suppress Weeds With Mulch
Mulch helps retain soil moisture, keeps soil temperatures consistent and makes the garden look tidy. But did you know it has weed-preventing properties, too? A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch deprives weed seeds of sunlight and reduces their ability to grow.
Find out why treating your garden to mulch is a good idea.
Reasons Your Lawn Is Full Of Weeds
Starting out, you probably want to know just why weeds have overtaken your grass, so you can prevent it from happening again.
- Poor grass growth: Weeds thrive in thinning grass. The best way to keep weeds out is to have thick, tall, dense grass all over your lawn. If your grass is cut too short, its more susceptible to a full-on weed invasion. Setting your mower to the highest setting can help with this.
- Not enough water: Weeds tend to have robust root systems, and can easily compete with your grass for moisture. If you are not watering your grass enough, the weeds can absorb what water there is, taking it away from your grassroots.
- Compacted soil: If your soil becomes too compacted, whether from excessive foot traffic or poor soil composition, your grassroots wont have access to the nutrients, water, or air they need. This stressed turf makes for an exceptional weed breeding ground.
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How To Prevent Weeds From Growing
Annual grassy weeds, like crabgrass and foxtail, are easily stopped in spring, when the seeds and tiny seedlings are most vulnerable, so they dont become a problem in summer. Applying a crabgrass preventer, like Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food or Scotts® Halts® Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer , stops listed weeds before they start to grow. Be sure to follow all label directions.
Here are a few other tips for preventing weeds:
How And Where Do Dandelions Grow
Dandelion weeds can be found in all 50 states and all of the southern Canadian provinces. In addition to Europe and Asia, it is naturalized on every continent except for Antarctica. It is considered a noxious weed in some U.S. jurisdictions, and is one of the most popular residential and recreational lawn weeds throughout the country.
Dandelions are often an indication of calcium and potassium levels in soil, because they prefer soils with low calcium concentrations, as well as soils with higher than average concentrations of potassium.
They are commonly found colonizing disturbed habitats, either from wind blown seeds or from seed bank germination. Their seeds can remain viable in a seed bank for up to nine years. The seeds spread via the wind, and can travel hundreds of meters away from their flower. The seeds are also a frequent contaminant in agricultural and pasture seeds.
If youve ever blown on a dandelion head you know that they can spread their seeds prolifically and in wide areas. A single colony can produce 54 to 172 seeds per head, with each plant producing over 5,000 seeds per year. A dense infestation of dandelions can potentially produce 40 million seeds per acre per year.
The weed can adapt to most types of soil, and the seeds dont depend on cold or warm temperatures to sprout, but they need to be within the top inch of the soil.
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How To Control Dandelions
Dig early: The best way to control dandelions is to catch them in the spring, before they spread. As soon as you see a dandelion, grub out the entire plant, including the taproot . Broken pieces of dandelion root will sprout new plants! Go out when the soil is soft from rain or watering, and use a dandelion knife or weed grubber to get the entire root system.
Mow and Bag: When dandelions are blooming, mow your lawn often to prevent the blooms from going to seed. If you do have dandelion seed heads, use a bag attachment to collect clippings and reduce seed spreading, or hand-cut the seed heads straight into a plastic bag.
Keep Lawn Thick: The healthier your lawn, the harder it will be for dandelion seeds to germinate and grow. Keep your mower blade set at the maximum mowing height for your lawn type, to allow the grass to smother out any dandelion seedlings.
Test Soil: Dandelions grow best in slightly alkaline soil , whereas lawn grasses like neutral-to-slightly-acidic soil . Conduct a soil test to find out the pH of the soil in your yard, and add amendments as needed.