Dandelions are one of the toughest weeds to control. Even just a few of them can destroy an otherwise green and vibrant lawn. But don’t reach for the Roundup or other herbicides just yet. Spraying many weed killers on your lawn can leave you at risk of killing your grass as well, leaving giant brown spots in your lawn where before you had a lush lawn. Following are a few tips for how to kill dandelions without killing the grass.
Why are dandelions so hard to kill compared with unwanted intruders like clover? There are two reasons.
- Dandelion seeds spread quickly once they reach maturity, flying on the breeze with little seeds. One weed can quickly turn into dozens, and neighborhood kids picking and blowing on the seed balls don’t help!
- Secondly, the tap root of the dandelion is about 10 to 20 inches long. Hence, even if you pull it out, it leaves enough of a fracture to enable another pesky dandelion growing in its place.
So, how to kill dandelions without killing the grass? Here are some simple remedies which can help you in maintaining the beauty of your lawn.
- A specialized tool can be used for pulling the weed by hand. It is essential to remove the entire weed and you can do so by making use of an aerator or by inserting a dandelion fork, like the one pictured to the right into the ground for pulling up the nutrient rich roots of the weed. If you’re using an aerator instead, you can use the aerator’s prongs to cover the center of the weed and then lift the complete weed structure from the ground by twisting your wrist.
- You can use horticultural vinegar for drenching the weed in it. In a period of two to three days, it can be removed.
- On well established lawns, you should make use of corn gluten which plays the role of a pre-emergent herbicide. As per the label’s directions, it should be applied in the spring which is about four to six weeks before the sprouting of the weeds. In the fall, this application should be repeated.
- For completing their developmental process, the weeds need light. To prevent their growth, the light can be blocked by using a dark colored plastic or a cardboard which is weighed down with grass clippings, compost or bark mulch.
- Probably the most fun you can have removing dandelions is by using the Weed Dragon Propane Vapor Torch Kit. This kit hooks up to any propane tank and can blast the weeds in your yard with 100,000 BTUs of heat. Much more fun than pulling weeds, but make sure you’re safe and observe local laws. Click the link above or the picture to the right to find it for the cheapest prices online.
- Mowing high is also recommended for keeping the dandelion weeds in check. This means that the grass should be on the longer side of its ideal height. At least a height of 2.5 inches should be maintained as it will provide shade which will prevent the seeds of the dandelion from germinating and thus control their growth. Frequent mowing is also helpful because the topmost growth of the weed will keep getting lopped off and therefore it cannot form seed heads.
Now you know how to kill dandelions without killing the grass and you can protect your lawn from any serious damage.