Dandelions are a nuisance growing in, and taking over our lawns. In this article, I'm going to show you two ways to get rid of them.
I was going to promise a way to eradicate them, but here are two reasons I can't.
The quickest method to kill dandelions is to use a weed-killer, but like all quick solutions there are drawbacks. Weed-killers are not selective and will kill beneficial plants like clover. Clover improves the soil, helps aerate it and pumps nitrogen into the lawn. Clover used to be considered an essential part of a healthy lawn until products like Weed 'n' Feed came a long and then clover was eliminated.
Chemically fed lawns no longer benefit from the natural nitrogen and other nutrients clover provided, forcing, guess what? Dependency on the Feed and Weed type chemical manufacturers and suppliers.
As I explained earlier in this article a few dandelion weeds can be controlled by pulling or digging out the complete plant, root and all. All
over lawn weed control is usually unnecessary, as a heavy infestation of dandelions is usually a sign of something being wrong with the soil. Better addressed by improving the soil to make the grass healthy and more resistant to infestations of dandelions.
However, if you are already addressing the poor soil problem by improving the health of the lawn grass. And also want to improve the appearance of the lawn by killing the dandelions quickly, without the hassle of digging them out.
This is the weed-killer method I use and recommend. It is important to use a Glyphosphate based product that kills actively growing dandelions including the root.
How to apply Glyphosate weed-killer without killing the lawn grass.
When I'm clearing dandelions and other broad leafed weeds from lawns, even small areas, I avoid using the expensive branded glyphosate based weed-killers like roundup and instead dilute the concentrated (360g/l glyphosate available here. It is cheaper and works better!
Always check Strength actually is 360g/l when buying concentrated Glyphosate weed-killer from other sources.
On poor acidic soil you could leave them to grow and "slowly" help improve the soil.
Dandelions love acidic, low nutrient soil. They will continue to grow in this type of soil, slowly helping improve it until it is no longer acidic and is full of nutrients and then, job done they will be crowded out by healthy lawn grass. This Organic method of clearing dandelions from your lawn, could depending on the size of the area, take a long time, but can be sped up by addressing the pH and shortage of nutrients by adding material from your organic compost heap.
An important step if you use this organic method is to behead all dandelion flowers before they go to seed to minimise the volume of seeds. This will speed-up the process, but it is still going to be a slow way of getting rid of dandelions and does take a lot of work initially. Once under control, the removal of the odd dandelion isn't a major time issue and there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained from knowing you have done it mother nature's way
Even after you have cleared your lawn, you will get seeds from neighbours lawns who don't bother to keep them under control and the important thing is to keep on top of it.
Another method of removing Dandelions from lawns without damaging the grass or using herbicides, is to dig out the whole plant and root.
Dandelions root deep into the ground making it almost impossible to pull the weed and root out by hand without leaving part of the root in the soil. It's very important to remove the green and root, as even the tiniest bit will grow back into a full-size dandelion plant.
These tools make digging out dandelion roots easy the first one is a great invention for removing dandelions, from lawns.
The second one is a specially shaped trowel to get in deep to remove the root.
Whichever method you use to clear dandelions from a lawn, good maintenance will be essential to keep it dandelion free.
Since dandelions thrive on thin weak turf, a good preventative measure will include the following;
As well as growing in lawns, Dandelions can be a nuisance all over your garden here are a few organic and common sense methods to help control them.
Mulching, Covering your garden soil with a layer of organic matter can smother and inhibit weeds, as well as prevent new seeds from germinating. Materials that make a good mulch include wood chips, compost, grass clippings, and straw. Avoid hay as it contains a lot of seeds.
Close planting to crowd out dandelions
Crowding plants for weed control is a good old fashioned way used by cottage gardeners to control weeds in flower and vegetable gardens. They knew that if a weed had no place to grow. Even if a weed seed found a landing place it would not get past the germination stage because it would not get the sunlight needed to thrive.
Feed and water carefully
The food and water you give to your plants will also feed and water your weeds and help them grow in the same way. Only give your plants what they need and where they need it by providing water and food only to the roots of your plants, not the empty spaces around them.