How To Kill Dandelions In Lawn Without Killing Your Grass
Although dandelions can look pretty when they bloom in yellow flowers, they are regarded as weeds because they are quite invasive. After blooming, their heads become dry and wispy seeds grow that are easily whipped around by the wind. This makes them easy to grow and spread in your garden.
But, aren’t dandelions good for your lawn? Although dandelions can boost your lawn health, such as by growing long roots that loosen compacted soil, they can be annoying to deal with. Dandelions take over your grass and compete with it for nutrients.
To eliminate them effectively, here’s what you need to know so that you keep dandelions away from your lawn for good.
What Are Dandelions?
Dandelions are hardy perennial plants that can grow up to almost 12 inches. They have toothy and notched leaves that are free of hair and look shiny. They also produce beautiful yellow flowers.
Dandelions appear all across North America. Although some homeowners try to remove dandelions from their gardens, they are sometimes cultivated and used as herbal remedies. Dandelions can grow in any kind of soil, even if the soil quality is poor.
Why Are Dandelions Difficult To Eliminate Forever?
You’ll spot dandelions easily in the spring as they’re one of the first plants to show up – as soon as the temperature of the soil is warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll notice the dandelions’ flowers and see their heads.
When the weather becomes cold during winter, you might think they’ve died but they’ve only become dormant. Their roots will survive and create new shoots when the weather warms up again.
One of the things that cause dandelions to grow and spread so much is their taproot systems which can grow up to 10 feet deep! This makes them difficult to reach with a tool such as a shovel, which further makes them hard to eliminate. This is why dandelions are considered to be a tricky weed to be able to kill.
If you leave behind even about an inch of their root, this can produce a new dandelion plant! Therefore, you have to try to kill off weeds as soon as they appear.
How To Kill Dandelions In Lawn: Top Methods
When you want to remove dandelions from your lawn, there are many effective methods you can try. These include the following.
Pull Up Dandelions By Hand
You should pull dandelions out of the ground when they are still flowering. This means that their plants haven’t developed seeds yet, so it will be easier to prevent them from spreading in your garden.
- Before you pull out dandelions, you should water your grass so that the soil is softer. This will make it easier to remove the dandelions.
- With a pointed garden trowel, loosen the taproot of the dandelion. Be careful to pull up the root without breaking it off so you properly remove the entire root.
- Then, pour vinegar in the hole. This will ensure you kill any leftover parts of the root in the ground. Afterward, add soil to fill up the hole. Cover it with grass seeds.
- Another easy way in which you can remove dandelions from the ground is with the use of a dandelion puller. This tool has serrated teeth with which you should cover the flower head and a foot platform that you should press to push it into the ground. The teeth should close around the plant and root so you can effectively pull it out of the soil.
Pour Boiling Water On Dandelions
You can quickly zap dandelions in your lawn by pouring boiling water on them. This burns the dandelions, which makes them curl up and die.
The hot water will enter the soil around the plant so that the roots that are linked to the main dandelion plant also die off. Just be careful not to get the water on the surrounding grass as it will cause them to die, too.
Pour Vinegar On Dandelions
You can also kill dandelions with vinegar because of how it alters the soil’s acidity so that the weeds can’t survive. Simply pour it over the plants. You can also add it to boiling water in equal parts before applying it, if you want to kill the dandelions even faster.
Note that you should use pickling, instead of distilled white, vinegar as this contains more acid so it’s more effective.
Use A Herbicide
You can use a herbicide to eliminate dandelions, but your best bet is a selective broadleaf product. This will only kill the weeds and protect your surrounding plants and grass.
Make sure you use the herbicide on the dandelion plant before it has grown flowers, because during the flowering stage the dandelion will become more resistant to herbicides.
How To Prevent Dandelions From Coming Back
If you’ve successfully removed dandelions from your lawn, you will want to ensure that they don’t return when the weather starts to warm up in the springtime. Here are some healthy lawn maintenance tips to ensure you keep weeds such as dandelions away.
- Fertilize your grass regularly: During the grass growing season, you should fertilize your grass every six to eight weeks. This is because nitrogen in the fertilizer will boost the health of your grass. When your grass is healthy, it will grow thicker and this will crowd out any weeds.
- Mow your grass high: If you stick to cutting your grass a bit higher, this ensures that the grass blades can cast a bit of shade on the soil so nothing else can grow in that space. Aim to leave your grass at a height of around 2 or 2.5 inches.
- Use a pre-emergent product on your lawn: A pre-emergent chemical is applied to your lawn so that dandelion seeds can’t germinate. Make sure you apply it during the winter so that it will prevent the dandelion seeds from germinating. Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent dandelions from growing. You have to apply corn gluten to your grass before the start of the dandelion-growing season in the spring. It needs to be applied to your grass a few times over the growing season because it’s only effective for about five weeks.
- Add a soil amendment: If you’re dealing with soil compaction, this can make it difficult for grass to grow. By adding an amendment, such as lime, to improve your soil pH and relieve soil compaction, this will encourage healthier grass to grow, therefore keeping weeds such as dandelions at bay.
- Hydrate your lawn: Make sure you hydrate your lawn properly as this will go a long way to keeping dandelions away. You should water your lawn thoroughly but less frequently so that you don’t hydrate it too much. If you don’t give your grass enough water it needs, it will grow shallow roots so it will be more of a target for weeds.
- Leave behind grass clippings: After you’ve cut your grass, you should leave behind the grass clippings. These will provide your lawn with more nutrients, such as nitrogen, as they decompose. This will contribute to healthier grass.
- Use mulch: Mulch, which can contain ingredients such as wood chippings, garden compost, and processed bark, suppresses weeds naturally because it is added to the top of your soil. The bonus of these ingredients is that they provide the soil with nutrients.
Should you use salt to kill dandelions?
Although salt works well to kill dandelions, it’s quite damaging to grass. This is because the salt enters the soil and remains there for years, so it will prevent grass from growing.
Can you put weeds in your compost?
You should never throw weeds into your compost heap. This is because they can germinate again. Make sure you throw them out with your general waste.
Can you eat dandelions?
You can eat dandelions, and they’re filled with nutrients to boost your health, such as Vitamins A, C, and K.
If you want to remove dandelions that are taking root in your lawn, you can do so effectively with a variety of natural methods. As a last resort, you can also use a herbicide.
In this guide, we’ve looked at how to kill dandelions in various ways and prevent them from coming back so you can enjoy the sight of a beautiful weed-free lawn all year-’round.