What Kills Dandelions Naturally
When you want to take a more natural approach to kill dandelions, you can use boiling water, homemade solutions, or go with an organic weed killer product.
Carefully dumping boiling water on dandelion foliage will cook the plant and kill off the surface growth.
Unfortunately, the fix is temporary since, most of the time, the root is still viable and will eventually resprout.
On the other hand, boiling water is readily available, inexpensive if not free, and wont cause any harm to the environment, so you can keep dousing recurring dandelions until they die off completely.
Homemade Natural Weed Killer
There are homemade natural weed killer recipes that commonly incorporate:
- Citrus juice or oils
- Dish soap
These ingredients work on drying up weed foliage, so the top of the dandelion dies off. Many times with natural solutions, the taproot lives on, which means youll see a new dandelion in its place soon.
Weed Pulling With A Backup
Manual weed pulling in combination with a vinegar solution is very effective against dandelions. Since many times a small portion of the taproot is left in the ground after using a weeding tool, pouring a dollop of vinegar down the hole will kill off any potential for the root to regenerate.
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal is an effective pre-emergent natural herbicide that doubles as food for your lawn in general. You must spread the meal over your lawn every four to six weeks for best results.
What Kills Dandelions But Not Grass
Nobody wants to ruin the look of their otherwise healthy lawn by killing the grass growing near dandelion weeds.
To accomplish killing the dandelion without the grass, you can choose to use a selective herbicide product or pull weeds by hand.
Bioadvanced Selective Herbicide | Editor Recommended
You must take the time to directly pinpoint only the weed without spraying or digging into the surrounding grass for either choice. A direct attack will save you from wasting weed-killer from overspray or damaging grass roots near the weed-removal site.
Apply Chemical Weed Killer To Dandelions
Lots of dandelions? Chemical control may be your best bet, Wagner says. Although these products are effective against dandelions and other broadleaf weeds results can often be seen in just hours they contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans and wildlife, as well as other plants. Chemical weed killers will eradicate your dandelions completely, so youll lose any benefits a manageable amount of plants would provide.
If you decide to use a chemical to stop your dandelion problem, Wagner says, make sure you read the label carefully to ensure that it will not cause any damage to your lawn and is compatible with your grass type.
Chemical weed killers should be applied when the plants are young and the soil is moist enough for the toxins to penetrate.
If your dandelions are already blooming, opt for a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide. Most broadleaf herbicides contain 2,4-D and/or Dicamba, Holmes says. These two products work great when used properly but can create problems if used incorrectly, especially near sensitive plants.
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Use Boiling Water As Natural Weed Killer
One of the best home remedies for killing dandelion weeds or to get rid of moss in your lawn is to use boiling water. This natural weed killer requires minimal prep work and no added chemicals to kill dandelions and other weeds down to the roots.
Start by pouring the pot of boiling water over the whole plant, including dandelion leaves, flowers, and down around the soil to ensure it soaks down into the roots. You should notice the results within four hours. Once the flower has turned brown and dried up, itll be even easier to pull the entire plant, including the roots, from the soil.
While fantastic at getting rid of unwanted plants, this method will also kill any plants it touches, including grass, so be careful when using it. The best way to use this technique without harming other plants is to pour it over dandelions that are a safe enough distance away from other plants in your garden.
Use boiling water as the best homemade chickweed killer for lawns, as well. The only trick to this method is protecting yourself from getting burned and ensuring you only pour the water on the plants you want to kill.
Boiling water is also an excellent way to get rid of unwanted ant piles that may be scattered throughout the yard. This method is easy and cheap and quite effective.
How To Help Prevent Dandelions
As experienced lawn owners know, stopping dandelions is an ongoing task. Even when you eradicate the weeds in your lawn, a soft summer breeze brings more dandelion seeds in. Following good practices for lawn care can help your lawn compete against dandelions and other weeds.
Unlike allergy-provoking ragweed, which doesn’t tolerate mowing well, dandelions can stay close to the ground and avoid mower blades. Even so, regular mowing at the recommended height for your grass type helps your lawn stay healthy and vigorous. Regular watering and fertilization also help keep your lawn competitive against invading weeds. Soil amendments such as lime to restore balance to soil pHor gypsum to relieve compaction enhance your soil and promote better grass and root growth.
When dandelions invade your lawn, you can take back your turf with quick action and effective controls. Pennington is here with timely, expert tips and premium lawn and garden products to help you conquer dandelions and enjoy the thick, lush, beautiful lawn you envision.
Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for treatable grasses and application rates.
Pennington with design is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc.
UltraGreen is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.
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How To Avoid Dandelions In Your Yard
There are a few things you can do to ensure your lawn stays free from dandelions after you have cleared out what was there.
Corn gluten meal can stop seeds from germinating and therefore prevent dandelions from growing. Spreading corn gluten meal over your lawn in the spring, before seedlings germinate, will help stop them taking hold.
Another thing you can do is keep your lawn well fertilized and cared for. The denser and healthier your grass, the less likely dandelions will thrive.
Dont be tempted to mow your lawn within an inch of its life. Keep it about two inches long. This will help prevent dandelion seeds from reaching the soil where they can sprout and take root.
A little left of center is keeping a rabbit.
Rabbits love to nibble on dandelions because they find them very tasty. They can eat both leaves and flowers, which are actually very healthy and nutritious for these furry pets.
Provided they arent treated with any herbicides, these weeds are good for them.
How Do Dandelions Grow
Perennial dandelions grow when the soil temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They spread more quickly when the soil temperature is near 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Since these hardy plants can grow in most climates, they flourish all over the United States and in parts of Canada. Theyre resistant to drought, diseases, pests and insufficient soil nutrients. As a result, theyre invasive and challenging to remove from your property. Dandelions continue to grow by hugging the ground and evading your mower blade.
Dandelions grow durable, deep taproots that can be as long as a foot and a half. Once you notice their yellow flowers sprout up from the ground, theyve already established themselves on your lawn. When left alone, dandelions can live for more than a decade. Even though they prefer moist soil and direct sunlight, they can also grow in shady, dry areas once theyve taken root. They also take over bare spots on your lawn.
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How To Kill Dandelions In Your Lawn With Vinegar
Another method you may want to take when getting rid of weeds is using a dandelion killer like vinegar. The acetic acid found in vinegar is a great way to kill crabgrass naturally, as the younger, less developed annuals are more susceptible to the acid.
However, vinegar also works on perennial weeds like dandelions, especially to stop the spread of weed seeds before extracting the plant roots from the soil. Target plants individually or in groups, as needed.
- ½ gallon of white vinegar
- 2 tbsp of dish soap
- ½ cup of salt
When killing dandelions in your lawn with vinegar, use a spray bottle to soak the flower in vinegar. In most cases, the plant will brown and wither within a day, especially if you choose a particularly hot time of the afternoon to spray them.
Spraying them with vinegar will not kill the plant down to the root but will kill the dandelion flowers and seed heads, making it easier to extract them later.Keep in mind that spraying other plants in the area will also cause them harm.
One of the best ways to use vinegar without killing surrounding grass or plants is by hand-pulling the weeds first, then pouring pure vinegar down into the hole left behind afterward. Doing this will kill the taproot, especially in older plants that have grown too deep down into the soil for you to reach by hand.
Killing Dandelions Without Damaging Your Lawn
Some people love how dandelions look. Children may love to play with them. We have all blown the white fluffy seeds across the grass or stopped to pick a bright yellow flower. But if you are a homeowner, they may be infesting your yard and becoming a nightmare for your lawn.
So, how do you kill dandelions without damaging your lawn? The best way to kill dandelions without damaging your lawn is by pulling them out the old-fashioned way or by using a broadleaf herbicide. While this can be a time-consuming task, your dandelion-free lawn will be well worth the effort.
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. 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 taproots, or the unwanted sprout will come back again with a vengeance.
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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.
How To Successfully Identify Dandelions
Lions tooth, blowball, clock flower, Irish daisy, tell time, puffball, priests crown
This common weed is easy to misidentify as there are other plants that have similar leaves. However, the way to distinguish the difference is to look at the dandelions leaves and stems: hairless with toothed edges and only one flower per stem. The deeply toothed leaves emerge from the plants crown at ground level and the puffball seeds of the flower look like hairs that can be blown with the slightest breeze. These seeds can travel as far as 5 miles with the help of the wind!
Dandelions are native to Europe, but they were unintentionally introduced in the 15th century to America, Australia, and just about everywhere else in the world by European settlers. Dandelions were cultivated in gardens and used for food and medicine before getting out of control. Since the mid-1600s, they proved to spread like a weed through continents.
With over 250 species that grow all over the world, dandelions are thought to thrive just about anywhere: from forests and gardens to fields or even wastelands. Basically anywhere with adequate sunlight and soil temperatures of 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit can be the hotspot for dandelion growth. This perennial weed grows in hardiness zones 3 through 10 and especially loves moist soil to thrive.
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Use Coarse Salt To Get Rid Of Dandelions
Coarse salt can also be helpful in the removing of dandelions in the lawn. To do that, you have to remove the flowers and the dandelion leaves. You would then put some coarse salt at the base of the plant, after which you follow it up by spraying some water atop the salt to dissolve it into the root of the plant.
How To Kill Dandelions Without Chemicals
Dandelions seem to thrive exactly where you don’t want them to, breaking up the even look of your lawn with their wavy leaves and leggy stems. Because they grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones, you’re likely to have problems with them at some point. Killing dandelions doesn’t have to mean introducing dangerous chemicals into your yard, but you might sacrifice some grass to get rid of the dandelions. Many organic controls kill all plants they touch, not just dandelions.
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Can You Eat Dandelions
Again, the answer is yes! Dandelions have long been used for food, the flowers fermented for wine and various parts harvested for medicinal purposes.
Dandelions have low toxicity and are likely safe for most people to eat, says Holmes. Yellow dandelion flower petals and greens can be eaten cooked or raw and serve as an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K.
They also contain vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are a rich source of beta-carotene and polyphenolic compounds, both of which have strong antioxidant abilities that can prevent aging and certain diseases.
Holmes adds dandelions can cause allergic reactions in some and may interact negatively with certain medications, particularly diuretics and antibiotics. Check with your doctor before ingesting. And never eat plants that have been treated with chemical fertilizers or herbicides.
How To Get Rid Of Dandelions In Your Lawn
In order to get rid of your dandelions so that they wont automatically appear again the next year, you will have to remove or kill the entire taproot of each plant. You can kill your dandelions and the taproot by spraying with a broadleaf herbicide. This will destroy the entire plant.
Make sure that you are very precise in how you mix and spray the product. Any time youre using herbicides on your lawn, you should try to use a targeted approach so you dont harm the good growth in your lawn.
I use an herbicide product from Southern Ag that works very well as long as you follow the directions and mix it properly.
Remember to always wear some PPE when spraying herbicides.
If you would rather not resort to using chemicals to remove dandelions, there are several steps you can take to eliminate dandelions from your lawn.
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Apply Natural Weed Killer To Dandelions
There are no selective organic herbicides on the market. If you choose a natural weed killer, you have to treat each weed individually or risk harming your turfgrass and nearby plants. You can also make a DIY natural weed killer, or simply use boiling water.
Like chemical weed killers, natural herbicides should be applied on young dandelions and moist soil.
Spray individual plants, taking care to avoid the surrounding grass and nearby plants.
Once the plant has withered, loosen the soil around it with a hand trowel if needed and pull to remove the taproot.
Holmes suggests another non-toxic alternative. You can also apply iron to control dandelions, which works through iron oxidation, which causes plant necrosis that ultimately kills the weed, he says. This will not negatively affect the grass, and may actually have a positive effect on your lawn by turning the grass a darker shade of green.
Fill In The Hole With Pre
There will be an empty spot on your lawn where the dandelions were and you will need to fill in that space so that new weeds do not grow back. Mix the herbicide with soil and fill in the space. It will be unlikely that you will be able to plant grass there since the herbicide is likely nonselective, but hopefully, the rest of your grass will eventually fill in the space. Thankfully filling in this space with pre-emergent herbicide will discourage weeds from coming and filling the space on your lawn.
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