Dandelions may seem beautiful at first, with their yellow hues casting a golden effect on your garden. But when it comes to garden maintenance, they are a real pain. As it turns out, it’s not very easy to remove dandelions. The bright yellow flowers turn into white fluffballs, and the fluffy seed released once again turns into a dandelion, hereby creating a vicious cycle.
Planting a thick and dense carpet of lush green grass is a good way to prevent dandelions from growing. This way, the paucity of space prevents the seeds from germinating. However, if you have noticed dandelions in your yard, doing away with them will be difficult. Find out how to get rid of dandelions.
Why Are Dandelions So Tough To Get Rid Of?
The answer is simple. Dandelions are difficult to kill because they are built to survive. They are fast growers and can take root in miraculous places. These roots sink long and deep over the years. They can go deeper than 10 feet. If the plant has properly established its taproot, the weed will grow in that spot year after year. Dandelion removal is not complete unless the entire plant is not uprooted. You must remove the taproot entirely, else the seeds will sprout again. Read on to find out how to get rid of dandelions.
How To Go About Killing The Dandelions?
Wondering how to get rid of dandelions for good? You will require a watering can, weed knife, weed killing agent, and preemergent herbicide.
Step I: First, use a watering can to dampen the soil around the weeds. This makes it easier to pull out plants from the ground. With the help of a weeding knife, make your way to the bottom of the dandelion from its tips. Simultaneously, keep pushing soil away from the roots. When you reach the base of the dandelion, gently pull it out with your hand. Keep the weeding knife handy in case the roots do not come out smoothly.
Step II: Remember, if you leave behind any traces of the taproot, they may grow into new plants. Kill whatever part of the dandelion is left. Cautiously, apply the killing agent (chemicals or natural) on the cavity from which the dandelion was pulled out. There are a wide variety of agents that you can choose from.
Step III: Use a pre-emergent herbicide or chemical to fill the hole from which the dandelion was pulled. This way you can prevent new weeds from germinating in these spots. This is an important step to control the return of dandelions or any other weeds in your yard.
How To Get Rid Of Dandelions Naturally
While it helps dandelions soak up grass for nutrients, it can also be used to destroy them. All you need to do is bring it to a boil and carefully pour it on the entire plant of dandelion. This will cause the leaves to burn and curl, leaving them incapable of absorbing sunlight. It will also soak into the soil around the dandelion, burning parts of the root and seed. It may take two or three applications to damage the flowers and roots completely.
Salt is an extremely effective method to get rid of dandelions. Only a pinch of salt at the base of the dandelion is enough to kill it. With rainfall, salt gets diluted and seeps into the soil where it stays for a long time. Try to keep salt away from grass and other plants.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, can easily be found with first aid supplies. To kill dandelions, diluted rubbing alcohol should be sprayed on the plant, making sure all leaves are wet. The alcohol dehydrates the dandelion plant and kills it. It should be applied on days with little to no wind.
The acidic nature of vinegar makes it an effective way to control dandelions. Brushing or spraying little amounts on dandelion greens is enough to harm them. This method works best on sunny days, as the killing properties of vinegar are activated by the sun. Unlike salt, it does not damage the soil for years. However, do not try this with your bare hand.
Corn Gluten Meal prevents the dandelion seeds from growing into plants. It is one of the common natural herbicides and can be applied by hand. However, it can only be used on grass and seeds. It cannot help remove entire dandelion plants, it can only stop them from sprouting. Cornmeal is most effective when it has at least 60% protein content. If you are growing fruits and vegetables on your lawns, make sure the plants are well established before sprinkling cornmeal all over the yard.
Smothering the dandelions with mulch also helps control their growth. This stops the seed from coming into contact with soil, thereby not giving it a chance to grow. Mulch also helps in keeping sunlight away from the dandelion seeds, so that they are deprived of their much-needed nutrients.
7. Herbicide Soap
You can also remove dandelions with the help of your very own herbicidal soap. All you need is vinegar with 5% acetic acid, a pound of dish soap, and a spray bottle. Simply mix everything and pour this mix into a spray bottle. This can be sprayed directly on the dandelions. Try to avoid applying it by hand.
8. Other Mixtures
You can mix certain substances to create your own remedy and make the dandelion removal process easier. Here are a few common concoctions:
- Combine 1 cup salt with 1 gallon of white vinegar. You may use table salt or rock salt.
- Mix equal parts boiling water with pickling vinegar.
- Dissolve 1 part salt in 8 parts of hot water and add a dash of liquid dish soap.
Types Of Herbicides
There are broadly two types of herbicides that can be used to get kill dandelions.
1. Broadleaf Herbicide
Broadleaf herbicide is selective and only kills broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions. It does not affect the grass or the rest of your lawn.
2. Non-selective Herbicide
This herbicide kills any plant that it comes in contact with. It is more useful in cases where dandelions crop up in flower beds or driveways. It can also be used to do away with a whole yard of dandelions. Non-selective herbicides are effective in spot removal on dandelions
You can turn to any of these methods to kill dandelions. Whatever you do, make sure it affects more than just the tips of the flower. Dealing with the deep-running root should be your main concern so that you can treat dandelion greens from showing up on your lawns again.
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.