Spray Under The Right Conditions
Drift from herbicide sprays may damage vegetables, flowers, trees and shrubs in your landscape.
Avoid spraying when winds exceed 5 MPH. Avoid spraying when temperatures approach 90 degrees or warmer. Drift may occur under foggy conditions.
When needed, cover or shield your desirable plants from nearby sprays.
Avoid spraying with a fine mist. Heavy droplets are less likely to volatilize.
Are Dandelions A Weed
When growing in a pristine, well-kept lawn, a dandelion can be considered a weed, says Dave Holmes of The Grounds Guys. Keep in mind a weed is defined by Merriam-Webster as a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth. However, dandelions do have redeeming qualities.
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.
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Coarse Salt As Natural Anti Dandelion
It is also possible to use coarse salt to kill dandelions. For this anti-dandelion treatment it is necessary:
The coarse salt is an excellent natural weed killer to eradicate dandelions and other weeds. Let me know if you test on your lawn at home. How was the result?
How To Get Rid Of Dandelions Naturally
If youre not keen on using chemical sprays, or youve tried the organic mixture without the desired results, there are other natural ways to tackle dandelions. Removing dandelions naturally will take more time than spraying them with chemicals. However, youll feel safe in the knowledge that your grass, pets, and children wont be harmed.
Here I have listed the 5 best natural methods to get rid of dandelions in the lawn:
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Select A Proper Herbicide
Next, its time to select the proper weed treatment based on both weed classification and the stage in their life cycle. Pre-emergent herbicides tackle weed issues before they spring up. Post-emergent herbicides target established weeds.
Keep in mind that herbicides can kill whatever plant life they come into contact witheven if the label says otherwiseso handle with care. If your aim is to re-establish your lawn, as we recommend, killing your existing, thinning grass isnt a big deal, since you will need to start fresh anyway.
How Weeds In Lawns Work
To understand how to treat a lawn, its important to understand the weeds themselves. Weeds are plants, just like the grass in your lawn. Because they are plants, weeds flourish in the same conditions that a lush, green lawn would. Weeds also grow when the grass is cut low and the soil is compacted. These ideal conditions can lead to a lawn full of weeds, but there are a few different types of weeds to be aware of:
- Broadleaf weed. These weeds include dandelions, clover, ground ivy, oxalis, chickweed, thistle, dollarweed, and plantain. The leaves on these weeds are broad and flat.
- Grassy weed. These weeds include crabgrass, foxtail, annual bluegrass, and quackgrass. These weeds grow in blades and look like grass.
- Grass-like weed. These weeds include nut sedge, wild onion, and wild garlic. These weeds may look somewhat like grass, but they grow in a more tubular and hollow shape.
Its important to identify which type of weeds are growing in your yard before choosing a treatment. Some products are specifically designed for certain types of weeds and can only be used for that kind.
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The Steps For Controlling Weeds
These are the general steps for how to get rid of weeds in your lawn, regardless of the type of treatment.
How To Get Rid Of Dandelions: Physical Methods
Hand-pulling, using a weed-puller, or manually digging the dandelion out are the most effective ways to physically get rid of the plant.
Problems that come with the presence of dandelions can become more intense when the plant is left as it grows. Dandelions compete for essentials like water, air and nutrients. Even if you apply fertilizers, the dandelions will still suck all the nutrients before your lawn can access them.
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How Does This Work
If you do plan to use herbicides to get rid of your dandelion problem, you should probably have some idea of how these weed control chemicals work.
Systemic herbicides are your best option to get the whole root. These herbicides get absorbed and transported through the entire plant, once absorbed. This process kills every part of the weed, including the dandelion taproots, so theres no future germinating.
Be cautious:Systemic chemicals may work their way up to the flowers and affect pollinators who visit the plant.
How To Kill Dandelions With Herbicide
There are two basic types of herbicide that can be used on dandelions. The first is a selective broadleaf herbicide. A broadleaf herbicide will only kill broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions. A broadleaf herbicide is good for killing dandelions in lawns, as the herbicide will kill the dandelions and not the grass.
The other kind of effective dandelion herbicide is a non-selective herbicide. Non-selective means that the herbicide will kill any plant that it comes in contact with. Non-selective herbicide is effective for spot dandelion removal, such as killing dandelions in flower beds and in walkways.
When using any herbicide for dandelion control, it will work best to apply the herbicide before the dandelion has developed flowers. Once dandelion flowers have emerged, the dandelion is far more resistant to herbicides and the herbicide, broadleaf or non-selective, will not be as effective.
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How To Kill Dandelions With Weed Killer
There are two basic types of dandelion weed killers:
A selective broadleaf herbicide will target broadleaf weeds, i.e. dandelions. This type of herbicide is perfect for use on lawns, as it wont damage the grass or other surrounding ornamental plants.
The second type of weed killer is a non-selective herbicide, which means it will kill any plant it comes into contact with. While this is another effective weed killer treatment for dandelions, its best used in walkways and flower beds only. Otherwise, youll risk killing your green, lush grass, and other plants within your lawn such as bulbs or meadow flowers.
So depending on the area you are treating be sure you check the manufacturers label and purchase the right product or you will be seriously disappointed with the results.
How To Stop Dandelions From Coming Back
The key to preventing dandelions from popping up in the future is taking good care of your lawn:
- Water your lawn regularly This encourages strong and deep grass seed roots.
- Fertilize your grass as required In doing this, you should achieve a fuller lawn which is dense enough to limit the soil available to dandelions.
- Dont cut it too short Dont cut more than a third from the grass length. Longer leaves provide more shade on the soil which means it takes longer to dry out. Thinking of upgrading to a riding lawn mower? My Dad just treated himself to a riding lawn mower heres what happened.
- Spread corn gluten across your yard Any seeds that come into contact with it wont be able to germinate.
Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed kitchen appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be stand mixers as she loves to bake in her spare time.
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Other Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Dandelions
Beyond applying herbicides and pulling dandelions by hand there are a few other natural approaches you can take to dealing with your dandelion problem.
My favorite approaches include:
- Spraying with Vinegar
- Maintaining a Lawn with Taller Grass
Lets explore each below so you can learn whats involved and decide if one of these approaches may work well for you:
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When Can You See Dandelions Growing On Lawns
Understanding the growth pattern of dandelions is the first step of dealing with them. Dandelions are usually the first flowers seen in spring. This is, especially when the temperature is above 50F. However, you can spot dandelion seeds during the year in soil temperatures above 75F. In addition, these seeds are dormant in the winter season, but dont let that convince you that you no longer have dandelions in your yard.
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How To Apply Dandelion Weed Killer
When it comes to applying weed killers the two approaches are to spread a dry formula or spray a diluted concentrate. Both have their merits so lets take a brief look at how to apply each of them and what they bring as benefits.
A granular dandelion weed treatment is perfect for larger areas of lawn. It provides a great option for broadcasting the treatment with a drop spreader, which cuts down on application time and significantly improves the accuracy of the dose and coverage per square yard.
Granules dissolve in contact with water, so need to be applied over damp ground or prior to rainfall. Alternatively, some products respond well to watering-in with a hose pipe.
Check the manufacturers instructions as the soaking routine, can significantly change the effectiveness of the product.
Spray directly onto the dandelion by holding the spray nozzle close to the weed. Take care not to spray the chemical onto your tender plants. The two spray products I have recommended below are selective, so they will not harm your lawn or surrounding plants if used in the right way. However, be sure to read the manufacturers label to check if the product you are using is likely to damage surrounding vegetation or plants.
I like to use a backpack sprayer when spraying relatively large areas such as a lawn or overgrown areas of the backyard, making the job much easier.
Best Time to Spray Dandelions
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How To Kill Dandelions Without Chemicals
Dandelions seem to thrive exactly where you donât 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, youâre likely to have problems with them at some point. Killing dandelions doesnât 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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Choose The Right Herbicide
Dandelion, as well as clover, thistle and ground ivy, are broadleaf weeds.
The most effective broadleaf-killing herbicides for lawns are Trimec formulations. These products consist of a combination of three herbicides . Quinclorac is a recent addition to many broadleaf weed formulations. These formulations are powerful but also poisonous.
Dicamba is particularly effective, but it can persist in the soil and cause damage to nearby trees, shrubs and perennials. This is all the more reason why herbicides should be limited in their use.
Herbicides that control weeds in pastures and rangeland are commonly used in rural areas of North Dakota. These herbicides, including Milestone and Tordon, will kill weeds in residential lawns, but they may also damage trees, shrubs and other plants in your landscape.
Why Dandelions Are A Problem For Your Lawn
- They absorb much of the water that your grass needs to survive.
- They are very easily spread through seeds carried on the wind.
- The root system is deep and strong enough to resist many extermination methods, and often breaks off easily if you try to pull it out. If you dont remove the whole root it will quickly regrow.
- Dandelions have a short germination period of 7 21 days, allowing them to infest your lawn in a very short time.
- They destroy the even and smooth look of your lawn.
- They are tough, persistent and competitive and can often grow where other plants cant.
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Why Are Dandelions Hard To Get Rid Of
Dandelions are in the family of weeds called broadleaf perennials. These weeds are difficult to remove. One fluffy seed can cause a dandelion infestation in your yard. As the dandelion weed grows, it sends a taproot down the ground up to 10 inches long. It is difficult to remove the root entirely because of its length. In addition, once established, dandelion plants can thrive and withstand unfavorable soil and weather conditions.
Although these herbaceous plants die in the winter, the roots live underground. When the spring season is back, the roots produce new shoots and the cycle contains. While dandelions are not toxic to you or your environment, they can be annoying to look at, hence rooting them out.
Learn About The Enemy
The first step to killing dandelions for good is to educate yourself. Dandelions are part of a subset of weeds called broadleaf perennials, and this variety of weeds is notoriously difficult to remove. The main problem is that once a dandelion plant fully establishes its 10-inch taproot, the weed will come back year after year, hence the name perennial. Not only does the pesky plant come back year after year, but it also spreads its seeds around your lawn continually, thus creating more and more weeds.
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Hit The Lawn With Vinegar
If youve spent any time perusing the DIY corner of the internet, youve become familiar with the wonders that vinegar can work. The low percentage of acetic acid in commercial white vinegar isnt enough to kill weeds.
But, hit any unwanted plant guests such as Bermuda grass or crab grass with horticultural vinegar, which contains a much higher percentage of acid, and youll have the pleasure of watching them wither and die. Its like using Roundup from your garden center without risking the dangerous chemical agents.
- Long-sleeved shirt
Because youre working with a strong acid, be sure to don all appropriate safety gear before you proceed with the grass treatment. Fill a spray bottle with horticultural vinegar.
Spray down all plants from top to bottom, making sure to hit the undersides of each leaf as you go. Repeat the treatment every few days and after it rains. The weeds should die in two weeks or so. Avoid mowing until you remove the dead grass and weeds.
How Can You Prevent Dandelions From Coming Back
If all the taproots are not killed or removed, these pesky weeds can make a come back on your lawn. As such, lawn care is the best way to control these plants. A healthy and well-managed lawn will effectively compete against weeds, especially the perennial type.
Applying fertilizer to your lawn during the growing season will promote grass growth and, as a result, crowd out weeds. Mowing high protects the soil from exposure hence preventing weeds from germinating. In addition, mowing high promotes the growth of thick strands of grass.
Another way to control dandelions is to use pre-emergent chemicals before the seed heads germinate. This will greatly minimize the population since one fluffy seed is enough to cause an infestation. An organic alternative is using corn gluten to kill the seeds.
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