Dandelions are the bane of most lawn enthusiasts. Unless you’re an organic foods fan and plan to eat them (and they do make a good addition to a salad), you probably want them off of your lawn. The thing is, dandelions are a very difficult weed to remove. They’ve got their fluffy heads above ground where they can spread their seeds easily to make new dandelions. They also have very long roots below ground, making it difficult to pull up the plant completely. If you’re looking for ways to remove dandelion weeds from your yard that are safe and effective, here are some things you will definitely want to try.
Pull Them by Hand
Yes, you can remove dandelions this way. However, bear in mind that their roots can be as long as 10 inches, and are very brittle. If they break while you’re pulling them and you leave any bit of root underground, you’ll have dandelions back again in no time. If you’ve just got a few dandelions, though, and you don’t want to put chemicals on your whole yard, pulling might be an option if you follow these steps:
- Water the dandelions first, since it will be easier to pull the root from wet soil.
- According to Gardener’s World, the proper technique at this point is to dig down into the soil alongside the root using a knife or a screwdriver. Expose the root, but don’t cut it.
- Loosen the root by wiggling your digging tool beside it.
- Grab the stem of the dandelion with one hand while placing your other hand against the ground for leverage. Gently pull up just enough to see if the root is moving.
- If the root is moving, slowly pull the whole dandelion out of the ground. If the root isn’t moving, try loosening it some more, or even dig down below the root and around the other side of it to give it less to cling to in the soil.
Use a Commercial or Organic Herbicide
If you don’t want to put chemicals on your lawn, watering the dandelions with plain white vinegar will do the job, according to Weekend Gardener. You may have to water them a few times over a few days, but it will work. Just be careful that you’re only using the vinegar on the dandelions, because it will kill other plants, too. If you have a whole yard full of dandelions, though, you will probably end up using some kind of chemical. Your basic herbicides that you can buy at any garden center will do just fine. Choose a brand that has a reputation for effectiveness.
Grow a Thick Lawn
According to This Old House, one of the best ways to get rid of dandelions is to grow a thick, luscious lawn. The denser your grass coverage is, the more it will crowd out the dandelions, leaving them no room to drop their seeds. Any seeds that do get dropped won’t get the sunlight they need to grow. So plant more grass, shrubbery, flowers, and even trees on your lawn and you’ll see far fewer (if any) dandelions.
While dandelions may seem like a nuisance, they are really not as hard to get rid of as they seem. If you have just a few, you can eliminate the problem quite easily by hand. Lots of dandelions may require more intensive efforts, such as chemicals or planting new things on your lawn, but these methods will work. Keep your lawn tidy, mow it regularly, and give it the nutrients it needs for other plants to be healthy, and you will have no dandelion problem at all.