While dandelions can be a pretty thing to look at, they are not suitable for your lawn. Dandelions are perennial weeds. Their roots and seeds will spread quickly. They will also push out grass and other plants and snatch nutrients needed by your other plants to thrive. As always, prevention is the cure. If not treated early, you will lose track of these spring lawn weeds growing everywhere in your garden. However, one can still stop the spread. Here are methods on how to control dandelions.
Dig, dig, dig
This method is very effective but time-consuming. For digging to work, make sure to catch dandelions in the spring. They bloom at this time, and their yellow flowers will turn into white seed heads. These will then release airborne seeds, which can be easily transferred even with the slightest breeze. When you already see a dandelion, pull out the entire plant. Make sure to include the taproot. Dandelions usually develop strong and deep roots, which can grow up to 6”-8”. Get rid of the entire root. If you left parts of the root, it would sprout in new plants again. For effective digging, do it when the soil is soft.
You may want to water the area first to loosen the soil. Wet soil is good for the easy removal of weeds. Make an incision along the root of the dandelion. Garden spades will help do the job. Wiggle it to loosen the root. Grip the leaves and tug until the root emerges. You may use a dandelion knife or a weed grubber to slide the root out of the soil.
Another way on how to control dandelions is to mow. When you see blooms of dandelion, mow it immediately and frequently if you can. It will prevent the blooms from transferring seeds. You may also cut the seed heads straight. Just be sure to put it in a bag quickly. You don’t want it lying around because it still has a high chance of spreading.
Using herbicides should be your last resort on how to control dandelions. Use herbicides with caution. Doing the opposite may damage your soil. Broadleaf herbicides are effective in controlling dandelions. Apply them during the fall. It is the time when plants are storing up nutrients. You may also use non-selective herbicides, but they can harm the plant it comes in contact with. For spot dandelion removal, this is optimal. If you opt to use herbicides, apply them before the dandelion develops flowers. Also, fully develop flowers are more resistant to herbicides.
One can try other ways on how to control dandelions if digging, mowing, and herbicide seem time-consuming for you. First, acidic solutions like vinegar can stop the spread of dandelions. Spray them with vinegar (preferably made up of 20% acetic acid). However, this will only kill the foliage and leave roots to sprout again. If you decide to use horticultural vinegar, don’t mow for at least three days after application. It will allow the absorption of the chemical into the roots. Ideally, this technique on how to control dandelions is helpful for bigger dandelion leaves.
You can burn the weeds with propane. Pouring boiling water will also control the dandelions. But these methods will kill your grass too. An inexpensive and effective way is to use salt. Salt will seep into your soil and stay there for years. However, this means that the grass affected will not grow anytime soon.
Maintain a healthy lawn
Of course, the easiest way on how to control dandelions is to prevent them from living in your garden. Keep your lawn healthy. Your lawn is fully capable of protecting itself from weeds as long as you can manage them properly.
You may leave grass clippings. It will be helpful in preventing weed seeds from germinating. When you mow, set the blade at the maximum mowing height appropriate for your lawn type. Doing so will smother the dandelion seedlings. The grass will help by depriving the weeds of daylight. Lastly, remember to fill bare spots in your lawn. There is nothing weeds love more than invading open areas.
As a garden owner, there are many things to look out for to maintain your yard. Among these are dandelions. These vibrant yellows are good to compliment your lush lawn. However, they can cause damage too. To prevent this, keep your eyes out on your turf. If you notice their appearance, quickly follow the techniques mentioned. Don’t let them ruin your hard-earned turf.