Dandelions are seemingly innocent yellow flowers that can quickly become unwelcome in our lawns and gardens. They’re not just a minor annoyance. They have a talent for spreading and taking over any patch of green they can find.
I’ll guide you through some effective, garden-friendly methods to get rid of dandelions in easy-to-follow steps that won’t harm your other plants.
Once you gain control of the dandelion situation in your yard, keeping them from returning is not difficult. Whether you opt for more natural solutions or use a highly-rated herbicide, you can win the war on dandelions!
Best Way To Get Rid Of Dandelions
Next, I lay out the steps for the best way to get rid of dandelions in your yard.
Step 1 – Pull The Dandelions
Focusing on one section at a time, manually dig out all the dandelions in your lawn using a weed-removal tool. Take care to remove most, if not all, of the taproot.
Step 2 – Treat The Removal Site
Once you pull up a dandelion, pour a bit of selective herbicide into the hole to ensure you kill any bits of the taproot that may remain without killing off nearby grass. If the ground is dry, water your yard well and give it a chance to soak in. Moist soil will aid in pulling up the entire taproot with the dandelion foliage.
Step 3 – Fill The Hole
You must fill the hole where you remove dandelions with soil and a pre-emergent herbicide. Doing so will stop new weeds from taking hold until the grass shoots can spread out to fill in the area.
Step 4 – Maintain General Lawn Care
The next step to prevent the return of dandelions is to maintain your lawn’s health by using a weed and feed product regularly. Dandelions, like most weeds, prefer to live in acidic soils. Watering less frequently, but more deeply, is another way to encourage the root system of your grass to grow deep and dense, which will choke out weed seedlings.
Step 5 – Set Blades Higher When You Mow
To deter dandelions from returning to your lawn, you should mow your grass at a higher setting. Three-inch long grass blades cut off sunlight to the ground, which reduces the chance dandelion seeds can germinate or grow beyond the seedling stage.
Step 6 – Keep An Eye Out For Random Dandelions
You need to scan your yard regularly for the wayward dandelion and remove it immediately. There is no way to completely control dandelions in your yard since Mother Nature always has other plans. The wind, wildlife, and heavy rains all can deposit dandelion seeds onto your lawn.
As soon as you spot even one new dandelion, repeat the first three steps to keep your yard clear.
What Kills Dandelions?
The most common methods to kill dandelions are:
- Applying a selective broadleaf herbicide
- Applying a non-selective herbicide
- Manually dig out the weed
- Applying pre-emergent herbicides
Selective herbicides are just that; they kill only the weed and not the surrounding plants or grass.
2,4-D stands for 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, which is the main ingredient in selective herbicides. Many weed and feed products sold on the market utilize 2,4-D to control broadleaf weeds, like dandelions.
A common non-selective herbicide choice is Glyphosate. The chemical does wonders killing dandelions, but it will also kill anything nearby, which is why you need to take great care when applying it to your yard.
Trying to pinpoint weeds with a non-selective herbicide in an expanse of turf will most likely lead to patches of dead grass across your lawn. The chemicals in non-selective herbicides are also linked to health issues, so use with caution.
Pre-emergent herbicides stop dandelion seeds from germinating and growing into mature plants.
While these chemicals do wonders to kill potential dandelions, they will do nothing to destroy actively-growing weeds.
Manual Weed Removal
Don’t dismiss good old-fashioned weed pulling as an effective method of dandelion control.
You can use a garden knife, a weed-pulling hand tool, or a stand-up weed popping tool that saves stress on your back and knees.
The key to successful manual dandelion removal is to get the entire taproot from the ground. This task may be tricky since a dandelion taproot can be upwards of 16 inches or more in length.
If nothing else, always remove the yellow flower from dandelions before they turn to seed and spread even more across your yard.
What Gets Rid Of Dandelions Naturally?
When you want to take a more natural approach to kill dandelions, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Boiling Water: Pour over dandelions to kill surface growth. Temporary fix, as roots may resprout. Environmentally safe and cost-effective.
- Homemade Natural Weed Killer: Combine ingredients like citrus juice, vinegar, borax, salt, and dish soap. Effective on foliage but may not kill the root.
- Weed Pulling with Vinegar: Manually pull dandelions; follow up with vinegar in the hole to prevent regrowth.
- Corn Gluten Meal: Use as a natural pre-emergent herbicide and lawn food. Apply every 4-6 weeks for effectiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kills Dandelions But Not Grass?
To accomplish killing the dandelion without the grass, you can choose to use a selective herbicide product or pull weeds by hand.
Why Do Dandelions Keep Coming Back in My Lawn?
Dandelions are hardy, and their seeds are wind-dispersed, so they can easily return. Consistent lawn care and targeted removal methods are key to keeping them at bay.
Is It Better to Pull Dandelions or Spray Them?
Pulling dandelions is more eco-friendly and gets the whole root while spraying can be faster but might require repeat applications.
When Is the Best Time to Remove Dandelions?
The best time is early spring or fall when the plants are actively growing. This ensures more effective removal or herbicide application.