Dandelions might be a great fuzzy looking flower that kids enjoy in the gardens. But these pretty looking flowers are actually a curse for gardeners and lawns. Dandelions are a type of lawn weed that drains the nutrient of the soil for its growth. These dandelions will sneak their way into the flower beds and lawn grass and push out the tender grass.
The fluffy nature of seeds of weeds like dandelion makes it difficult to control their propagation. They easily float in the air and settle on various regions of the lawn. One needs to have a lot of patience and thoroughness in their approach to get rid of a dandelion infestation.
What dandelions actually are?
Dandelions are a type of broadleaf weeds that are commonly found in flower beds and lawn grass. This weed is quite adjusting when it comes to growth. They can grow in any type of soil, be it sandy, claw, or loom. Dandelion weeds have a thick taproot that can travel deep in the soil for a better search of water and nutrients.
The only way to kill a dandelion weed is to kill the taproot. If the taproot stays intact, the weed will grow again. You might not observe a fresh growth immediately. It can take a few months or even a year, depending on the number of nutrients the root has instore.
It is, therefore, a bit difficult to get rid of the entire dandelion weed infestation by hand. You might be able to remove the visible target, but the seeds can go undetected. The easy dispersion by the wind makes it even more difficult to track the spread.
A superior quality dandelion killer will attack the root of the weed. The best dandelion killer will eliminate the root and kill the weed permanently. It does not impact the health and growth of other plants and still manages to eradicate all the dandelion weed.
Why there is a need to kill dandelions?
Dandelions might look very pretty and attractive between your flower bed and lawn grass. But it is actually a killer on your lawn. Dandelions are no ordinary type of weeds with fibrous roots. These plants have thick taproots that penetrate deep into the soil.
As a result, they compete with your lawn grass and other flowers for nutrients and water. A flowering plant might still be able to manage the new competition, but the grass gets pushed off. Because of the fibrous nature of the roots, the grass faces aggressive competition for nutrients and water and might end up getting dried out.
This is precisely why you need to kill dandelions completely from your garden. Another reason for the thorough elimination of this type of weed is the floating nature of seeds. With a mild puff of air, thousands of seeds will get spread in the entire lawn, holding ground in every nook and cranny of your garden.
Your entire effort and hard work of nurturing a beautiful garden might go to waste just by one small fluffy looking dandelion. On the very citing of this weed in the lawn, you must take action to kill it from the root.
What are the different types of Dandelion killers?
There are a lot of different types of herbicides available in the market. What demarcates them from each other is their type of action towards the weed. Depending on their way of killing, there are mainly two types of dandelion killers; selective and non-selective herbicides.
Selective herbicides are the most popular category of herbicides chosen by gardeners. Because of their selective nature, they have a very targeted action. Therefore, instead of being extra careful with their application, you can simply spray these selective herbicide all over the garden, lawn grass, or even the flower bed.
These selective herbicides are very effective against broadleaf perennials like dandelions. Selective herbicide leave the grass healthy and intact and only damage the dandelion seeds. They come in three variants; powdered, granulated, and liquid.
Even though they are quite gentle to your garden plants, the selective herbicides are not very potent. You might have to provide multiple rounds of herbicide treatment to completely get rid of the dandelion seeds. Also, a few organic variants of these selective dandelion killers only act on the seed. They have no effect on the living weed, leaving immense scope for reinfestation.
A non-selective herbicide also goes by the name of broad-spectrum herbicides. A wide range of organic herbicides available in the market fall under the non-selective category. These herbicides are not very specific in their action. They are equally harmful to the dandelion weed as well as the grass.
As a result, you will be spraying your garden at the cost of harming your beautiful plants. Some of these broad-spectrum herbicides can be highly corrosive, damaging your skin as well in the process. One needs to be highly cautious and careful while using such non-selective herbicides.
Despite their harmful effect on your lawn grass and plants, these herbicides have a great output in terms of killing dandelion seeds as well as the living weed. Their performance might be spectacular, but they might not always be the right choice for every situation.
When should herbicides be applied?
The application of a herbicide will depend on the purpose it is designed to fulfill. Some herbicides will attack the seeds and restrict the process of germination. Some herbicides will act on the living weed. Depending on the nature of the herbicide being used it can either be applied pre-planting, pre-emergence, and post-planting.
This technique is most favored in agricultural fields and not small lawns and flower beds. The technique involves applying the herbicide to the soil about 14 to 45 days prior to the sowing. The herbicide will act on any weed seeds that have been lying dormant on the soil.
The application of herbicide pre-planting can turn out to be harmful to your plant seeds as well. It can obstruct the sprouting of the seeds resulting in total loss of the crop. Therefore, especially for home gardening, this application should be avoided.
The purpose of using pre-emergence herbicides is to stop the sprouting of the weed seeds on the soil. This technique is best suited for seeds as the herbicides designed for this purpose won’t act on live weeds.
Such a technique might not work with all types of weeds, so might want to opt for different techniques. This application can also have a negative impact on the growth of the actual seeds that you wish to plant. The herbicide can hinder their growth, resulting in reduced or absolutely no growth.
This technique is used once the weeds have emerged to completion and sprouting well. This is the phase where you can actively spot such weeds spread out happily in your garden. The herbicides designed for this purpose will act on the living weed directly to eliminate it.
The tricky part of using this technique is that the herbicides used might only work on tender sprouts and not full-grown weeds. You might have to provide repeated rounds of spraying in order to completely get rid of the weeds.
How are dandelion killers applied?
A dandelion killer can be applied either to the soil or the foliar of the lawn or garden. The Pre-plant and pre-emergence herbicides are applied directly to the soil. The post-plant herbicides are usually administered to the foliar.
You can either opt for the granular type of application or the spray type of application. Most of the herbicides come in a spray form. With spray form, all you are required to do is spray the liquid herbicide all over the garden.
Granular herbicides are to be spread evenly on the soil of the lawn or flowerbeds. The granules of these herbicides are slow-releasing fertilizers that provide longer protection against weed infestation. The outer coating of these granules contains a selective herbicide that acts on the weed. While the inner coating breaks slowly to release nutrients in the soil for better growth of the plant.
The spray type herbicides are mostly selective herbicides that work on their target directly. They are a perfect choice for weed that is found growing need driveways or wall cracks.
1. Southern Ag Surflan A.S. Speciality Herbicide
The Southern Ag Surflan A.S. Speciality Herbicide is one of the best and most effective herbicides available in the market. It has the to target any type of broadleaf weed, making it an effective choice as a dandelion killer.
With a trice-a-year application of Southern Ag you can make sure that your garden is protected from dandelion infestation, year-long. It works tremendously in controlling the germination of dandelion seeds. One spray can control the spread for a period of at least four months.
While applying the same to the field, one needs to be very appropriate with the gear. Gloves and eye-gear are a must. A thorough reading of the manufacturer’s instructions should be done before administration.
- Remarkable action against annual grasses and broadleaf weeds
- Provides year-round protection
- Not safe to use for edible gardens
2. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer
The Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer is a great choice of herbicide for any type of lawn, garden, or flower bed. It is a single application herbicide that provides a concentrated power of good chemicals like glyphosate for a better action against weeds like dandelions.
This herbicide is rainproof and will not get drained out for up to two hours of continuous rain. It is highly effective and you can expect visible results within a short period of two to three days. It directly attacks the roots of the weeds and works on their complete elimination. Since it does leave any residue, this herbicide will not hamper the growth of your beloved plants.
- Safe to use in edible gardens
- No residual activity
- Can be a little less efficient
3. Espoma Organic Weed Preventor
The espoma organic weed preventer is a corn gluten meal preparation used for curbing the growth of weed in the garden. It is a very popular product in the market that has been known to show exemplary results on broadleaf weeds like dandelions.
The espoma organic weed preventer herbicide works only on the seeds of the weeds. It will prevent the germination of new plantlets in the soil, but won’t hamper the growth of living weeds. It is also known for the protection against crabgrass.
The corn gluten meal provides a nitrogen rich fertilizer for the soil, promoting and enhancing plant growth in your yard. A twice a year application of this herbicide on a neatly trimmed lawn can prevent the regrowth of weeds significantly.
- Organic in nature
- Acts as a Nitrogen-rich fertilizer as well
- Does not work on live weeds
4. Orhto WeedClear Lawn Weed Cleaner
The Orhto WeedClear Lawn Weed Cleaner is a wide range herbicide that acts on many weeds. It helps in the elimination of dollar weed, clover, dandelions, and chickweed. The herbicide is highly effective and you can expect to see quality results within hours of application.
The unique feature about this herbicide is that it comes with a battery powered comfort wand. The formula is so powerful and strong that it acts directly on the root, eliminating the weed plant in its entirety. It is a well fabricated solution that will not harm your lawn grass or flower beds.
- Acts against about 250 varieties of weeds
- Rapid action is seen within hours of administration
- Battery powered wand for ease of application
5. Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed 3
The Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed 3 is one of those products in the market that comes with a solid guarantee of performance. This makes it the best dandelion killer one can invest in. It shows an excellent effect on dandelions and clover weeds. Apart from that, the chemical killer formula is capable of handling a lot of types of weeds.
Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed 3 is a granule type herbicide that you can spread evenly across your lawn after watering the soil. This herbicide takes about 24 hours to start its action, so it is recommended to keep kids and pets away for that time. It targets only the harmful weeds and lets the nutrient providing weeds grow well. This herbicide is one of the best dandelion killers that you can get on the market.
- Works on a variety of weeds
- Easy application
- Strong output
- Not suitable for edible gardens
6. Scotts TouchUp Weed Control for Lawn
The Scotts TouchUp Weed Control for Lawn is ready to use spray type of herbicide. It comes in a 24-ounce bottle, that can be directly administered on the plants without any added hassles. It is better suited for spot treatment and would not harm the grass and flowers on your lawn.
This is one of the most convenient herbicides that you can get on the market. It provides active protection against weeds like dandelion, clover, and crabgrass. This herbicide delivers the Scott’s guaranteed results and you will not be left disappointed.
- Ready to use bottle
- Well suited for spot treatment
- Limited quantity
- Cannot be used on a wide field
7. Roundup For Lawns
Roundup for Lawns is yet another ready to use an herbicide that is used for killing dandelions. It is one of the best dandelion killers in the market. The packaging of this herbicide comes with an extended wand that provides ease of application to the user. This is a superior quality herbicide that can kill up to 250 different varieties of weeds.
It will only harm the weeds in the lawn and won’t hamper the growth of other plants. This a fast acting herbicide that shows action within hours of application. It is an ideal choice for tough weeds like crabgrass and dandelions.
- A wide spectrum of protection
- Fast action
- Little rainproof
How to prevent the growth of dandelions?
Dandelions can be the most notorious of the weeds that make a home in your garden. Their ability to spread to distant regions because of the fluffy nature of their seeds makes them harder to tackle. It is, therefore, necessary to take action against them from the very nascent stage.
Using a good quality dandelion killer can save you from losing your garden to these wicked weeds. You might not be able to narrow down a single herbicide that provides all-around protection. But that is absolutely fine. To make sure that your garden is free from dandelion weed, you should approach the problem in steps.
Using a pre-plant herbicide will help you get rid of any seeds on the soil. It will act on the entire lawn and stop the germination and sprouting of any dormant seeds. Using a post-plant herbicide will help you get rid of any live weeds between the grass. It is best suited for getting rid of weeds not just in gardens, but also in driveways and floor cracks.
Any type of application will have some negative implications on the other plants, but that can be prevented with caution and care. Investing in the best dandelion killer can help you save your garden’s nutrient and water level. Your plants will grow and flourish better and you will see healthy produce.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does vinegar kill dandelion roots?
Household vinegar isn’t strong enough to kill a dandelion weed. Dandelion is a difficult plant to kill as it has very strong roots. Vinegar contains only 5% acetic acid. That barely has any effect on the growth of the weed. Although, one can opt for horticulture vinegar, which is 20% acetic acid and highly corrosive. Extra caution must be taken while working with the same.
2. Does dish soap kill dandelions?
Dish soap alone can have no significant impact on the growth of dandelion weed. Dandelions are very strong weeds, therefore, they require a very strong treatment. Dish soap coupled with vinegar and salt does provide a cheap alternative to kill weeds. But it won’t have a significant impact on dandelions.
3. Does boiling water kill dandelions?
Boiling water can prove to be an effective and chemical free way of killing dandelions. The hot water will burn the leaves of the plant and make them pale and yellow. The hot water will also seep down the soil, harming the section of the roots that absorb nutrients. However, this technique is only useful for live weeds and not seeds.
4. Will a dandelion root regrow?
There is a strong possibility that the root of the dandelion can regrow. If some fragments of the taproot are left attached to the plant, it can promote the growth of the entire root. This is because the cells of the root are totipotent in nature. It is, therefore, recommended to remove the entire root to ensure effective elimination.
Weed growth can impact the health of your garden considerably. Weeds are like pseudo-parasites that suck the nutrients and water out of the soil before the plant can reach for them. They provide an unhealthy competition that hampers the growth of the plant.
It is, therefore, necessary to de-weed your entire lawn, garden, or flower bed to keep it healthy and lush. One has to be very cautious about the choice of herbicide they make in order to obtain effective killing without harming the plants.
Dandelion being a stubborn and strong weed can require a lot of patience and effort to eradicate to completion. Choose a herbicide that is of superior quality and delivers outstanding results. Opting for a ready to use fast acting solution can help make gardening fun and fruitful.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.