Some ways to remove dandelions from your yard include pulling them out of the ground by hand, using weed killer spray, and pouring boiling water on them. Each method has pros and cons, but one thing is clear: not dealing with dandelions in your yards will only grow into a more significant problem. Dandelions can suck the nutrients away from healthy grass, leading to growth problems and other issues with your lawn.
So, what is a dandelion, and why is it bad for your lawn? What kills dandelions permanently? How do you kill dandelions naturally without killing grass? Why does my lawn have so many dandelions? Will mowing dandelions make them spread? Finally, should you remove dandelions from your lawn if you see them?
Here is the complete guide on how to get rid of dandelions in your yard.
What Is a Dandelion and Why Is it Bad for Your Lawn?
The dandelion, scientifically referred to as Taraxacum officinale, belongs to the Asteraceae family, along with daisies. These bright yellow flowers are broadleaf perennials with a knack for survival and a hardy root system. Historically, dandelions have been used to help promote sleep, treat respiratory illnesses, and serve other medicinal purposes.
While dandelions can provide beneficial soil nutrients, they compete with healthy grass and nearby plants for nutrients that keep your lawn fresh and healthy. With hardy taproots that grow up to two feet into the ground, they are difficult to remove and spread quickly as the wind carries thousands of seeds germinating and sprouting just about anywhere.
Another issue most have with dandelions is their unattractive appearance. Though related to daisies, dandelions are often classified as weeds, making green lawns appear disheveled and unattractive while breaking the ground with their hardy roots.
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What Kills Dandelions Permanently?
Removing dandelion plants can be tricky, as clipping them on the surface does not always keep them from growing back. The key is to remove the entire taproot from the soil so that they do not grow back and subsequently pollinate, creating more dandelions. Consider getting a dandelion removal tool from your local hardware store when you remove them by hand.
Because dandelion roots are so hardy and long, this can prove difficult, and killing them might require alternative methods. Some tools use radiant heat to kill the weeds by targeting the protein cells responsible for photosynthesis. This process allows you to keep the dandelions from growing back without digging underground to get to the roots.
Finally, most broadleaf herbicides eliminate the entire plant; however, these herbicides can also kill the grass. Some post-emergent herbicides can be applied throughout the growing season as it disrupts the plant’s growth process. Carefully read the back of herbicides to see how to apply them on your lawn, when to water your grass, and how often to repeat this process.
How Do You Kill Dandelions Naturally without Killing Grass?
Some of the more popular methods used to kill dandelions also damage your grass; however, there are a few alternative ways to get rid of dandelions while protecting your grass. Weed killers like Triclopyr or other selective herbicides can eliminate dandelions without damaging the grass. However, some pesticides are illegal and can harm humans, so it is vital to research a product before purchasing and using it.
A more natural way to eliminate dandelions without using pesticides is to remove as much of the root as possible and spread wood chips or mulch over the area to prevent light from reaching the leaves. You can do this in the fall when the dandelions transfer sugars from the leaves into the roots. Addressing them early on can help keep them from blowing up in early spring when they typically bloom. Dandelion pullers and weeding knives are available to make the job easier.
Also, pour boiling water over the dandelion’s leaves. After a few hours, the leaves should turn brown, so you can more easily remove the plant from its root.
Why Does My Lawn Have So Many Dandelions?
When left unchecked, it is not uncommon to notice dandelions beginning to take over your lawn. The dandelion goes through a growth cycle, eventually making them look like a round white cloud or a white puffball. This cloud is actually a collection of feather-like parachutes attached to a seed head that catches on the wind, carrying dandelion seeds to other parts of your lawn and germinating.
Dandelions spread and grow quickly and efficiently, soaking up the sunlight and nutrients from your lawn to grow deep roots that will eventually grow into another flower carrying more seeds. They also have a knack for growing through tremendous obstacles like concrete and cement.
Will Mowing Dandelions Make Them Spread?
The lawn mower may come to mind when thinking of eliminating dandelions. Unfortunately, the lawn mower plays a fairly neutral role in the dandelion’s life as it neither helps spread the seeds nor completely kills the plant. While mowing is undoubtedly beneficial to maintaining a healthy lawn, it does not solve a dandelion problem immediately.
Keeping grass longer can help prevent dandelion or other broadleaf weeds from taking over. You can also save the grass clippings from mowing and distribute them evenly over the grass to act as a natural fertilizer keeping the grass healthier and less susceptible to weeds.
Should You Remove Dandelions from Your Lawn?
While dandelions can take up helpful nutrients from the grass, they can also break up tough soil and extract the beneficial calcium making it available for other less hardy plants to grow. Dandelions are also an excellent food source for pollinators like bees.
Instead of letting the dandelions remain on the ground, you can pick them to make healthy tea and salads. These strong plants are known for their medicinal value and could offer natural vitamins to your diet.
If you prefer a blemish-free lawn, you may find it worth it to do the work and remove the dandelions; however, if you like their scraggly yellow petals, let them grow and flourish.
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Dandelions in Your Yard
Though classified as a weed, dandelion flowers are in the same family as daisies. These tenacious flowers germinate and grow quickly, producing hardy roots and breaking through even the toughest soil. For this reason, they can be difficult to remove without a significant amount of work.
Consider removing dandelions from your lawn if you prefer a blemish-free property and want to save all the soil’s nutrients for the grass.
Many methods for removing weeds, like herbicides and fire, can damage the grass. One of the finest ways to naturally remove dandelions without damaging your grass is by hand-pulling with a tool as much of the root as possible or using a weed control that does not damage the grass, like more natural herbicides. Some ways to remove dandelions from your yard include pulling them out of the ground by hand, using weed killer spray, and pouring boiling water on them
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