It’s interesting how such a nice looking plant can be so destructive to your lawn and garden. This invasive yellow dandelion often pops up in the middle of your freshly mowed green lawn, or right between the set of tulips you just planted.
Dandelions spread easily across lawns and gardens because of the light seeds they have that carry over to your neighbors from the slightest gust of wind. Unless you can convince your whole neighborhood to get rid of this plant, there’s not going to be an easy way to keep them off your lawn.
In this article, we go over the best ways to get rid of dandelions so that you can bring back the natural green color of your lawn!
1. Pull them out!.
Although pulling dandelions is the most effective way of to get rid of them, it is also the hardest and most time consuming. If you’re dedicated to a having a nice looking lawn, put a day in the weekend aside to get this task done. Once you’re done pulling all of them, you probably won’t want to do anything else for the rest of the day.
Pulling dandelions is best done in the spring before the weed starts its seeding process. You can pull them by using a shovel or trowel, or by special dandelion pulling tools. Using a shovel might dig up more of your yard than you’d like which would cause even more work putting the soil back, so if you’re serious about getting rid of dandelions, you may want to buy a special tool for the job.
When digging, do your best to go as deep as possible and take out the whole root of the weed. If any bit of the root is left behind, it will grow back in a week or so. Not even the most veteran gardeners can always remove every deep root, so check back every few weeks or so to pull out the newly growing dandelions.
2. Have a Grass Cutting Party.
If your neighbor isn’t already reminding you to mow your lawn more often, we’ll do it now for them!
Mowing over the areas of your lawn where dandelions are growing can stop them from getting to their seeding phase and lessens the spread of their growth.
As far as pesky weeds go, dandelions grow back pretty fast. If mowing your lawn is the only gardening you do, you’ll want to do it often to keep them from spreading.
3. Block Out the Sun.
We’re not talking about becoming an evil mastermind here: you want to block out the sun to take away the food source for the weeds. Like most plants, dandelions use photosynthesis to make their own food from the sun. Covering them with mulch or a tarp can block them from getting the food they need and they will eventually die off.
Unfortunately, covering extensive areas of your lawn with a tarp makes your lawn look worse than it did with just the dandelions there. If you think this is the best solution for you, try using a green tarp that would blend in more or spreading grass clippings over your weed covers to make it blend in better.
4. Feed your Lawn the Good Stuff.
Using this strategy to increase your lawn’s health is beneficial in a few ways: you’re going to get a better-looking lawn, and fewer weeds are going to grow on it. Dandelions grow the most in poorly conditioned soil that is highly concentrated in corrosive and acidic substances. By taking good care of your lawn, your grass will grow greener and fewer weeds will make it their home.
Try spreading grass seed or compost over large portions of your lawn. This will make your grass grow greener and keep unwanted weeds away. Even if dandelions do happen to sprout up, your soil should be easier to dig in better conditions, making removal of them a less painful process.
5. Herbicides and Prevention Chemicals.
You can buy chemicals from your local gardening store that are called “pre-emergents,” which stop weeds from growing in the first place. By preventing them from entering the rooting stage, you can get rid of them before they’re even there. These are best applied a few months before the spring, when dandelions typically start growing.
Herbicides are used specifically to kill weeds that have already grown in your lawn. Two specific kinds can be used, one that targets weeds in particular and another that targets any plant it comes in contact with. Before you go all ‘scorched earth’ and spray the second kind all over your lawn, know that this type is usually used for spot dandelion removal. Unless you want to start your yard from scratch, try not to use too much of it over large areas.
The problem with herbicides and “pre-emergents” is that they are often expensive and not very environmentally friendly. In fact, they might be illegal in your area, so always be sure that you know what you are getting into. Use them in moderation to keep your mother nature (and your wallet) happy.
6. Try Using Some Vinegar.
There are also some natural solutions you can try. Spraying already grown dandelions with vinegar can kill weeds directly, or if you really want to get the job done well you can dig out the roots and then spray vinegar where they were pulled out to stop any more from growing. Vinegar is one of the safest solutions for lawn care, so not a lot of caution is needed when applying it.
7. Try Out Some Corn Gluten Meal (CGM).
CGM is an organic pre-emergent that is applied before spring to keep dandelions from growing. It is a very natural and safe solution to put on your lawn, so you won’t have to worry about any pets or toddlers getting too curious about it.
CGM works by stopping the roots of the dandelion from growing during the first stages of growth. It can save you a lot of time and work if you stop the problem from even happening. Important to note is that CGM will not kill off weeds that have already grown, so spread it over your yard early on for the best results.
8. Make a tasty salad.
As unwanted as these weeds are in your lawn, they actually make for pretty good salad additions. The plants are high in vitamin A and potassium, and are also good sources of vitamins C and D, and other nutrients.
To get rid of the bitterness, you can boil or steam the leaves that will leave you with a better tasting green. Try adding dandelion leaves to your salad or sandwich in place of store-bought spinach.
Getting rid of dandelions is no easy task, and will require some work. Prevention is always the best cure, of course. Consider coordinating with your neighbours to see if they will join you in your efforts to get dandelions off of your lawn and out of your life, or you might have trouble keeping them away in the future. Follow whichever steps or combination of ideas discussed above to a dandelion-free lawn, and dandelions will be out of your life before you know it!