When you’re trudging through the seemingly endless dull, grey, winter days in the middle of February it may seem hard to imagine that springs just around the corner, but it is.
That means blue skies and the first warm rays of the sun on your skin.
It also means it won’t be long until it’s time to dust off the lawnmower and put it to work again, but who really minds that if it means a nice green lawn to spend those beautiful summer days enjoying?
The problem with warm summer days and the growing season is that it also brings with it the dreaded dandelion.
- Natural Methods
- Best Dandelion Killers – The Heavy Hitters
- Goodbye to Dandelions
There’s nothing more frustrating than those rampant little yellow weeds sprouting up everywhere on your nicely manicured lawn.
With many jurisdictions banning a growing number of herbicides due to the harm they can cause the environment, it’s become more difficult than ever to take care of that dandelion problem.
It’s not a total lost cause though. There are several natural remedies for dealing with dandelions and you’ll find them all explained in the article below.
There are also some safe herbicides that are still considered okay to use in many countries.
Fortunately, thanks to the power of the online world you don’t have to stare at those dandelions with frustration as your father did 25 years ago.
You have access to everything you need to get rid of those dandelions and keep them away for the entire growing season.
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn Gluten Meal(CGM) is a great way to make sure you don’t have to deal with dandelions in the first place.
It’s what you might call a pre-emptive attack. It’s referred to as a pre-emergent herbicide.
All that means is that it prevents the dandelion seeds from taking root in your lawn in the first place.
It’s a natural product that doesn’t hurt the environment, the kids, or the dog.
The drawback of CGM is that it doesn’t do any good if the dandelions are already flowering on your lawn.
That’s why it’s best to spread some around your lawn just before the growing cycle begins.
If you can time it just right, you won’t have to worry about dandelions this spring.
CGM is only effective for about 5 or 6 weeks though, so you will have to reapply it multiple times throughout the growing season.
That will typically mean at least 3 applications per year.
If you have the discipline to follow through, you should have one of the nicest lawns on the block – completely free of dandelions for the season.
Mow the Suckers
One of the easiest and most effective dandelion killers is the lawn mower sitting in your garage.
Cutting your lawn on a regular basis is a very easy way to eliminate the dandelion problem.
You have to make sure to cut the lawn while the dandelions are still in their yellow flowering stage though.
If you leave them long enough to transform into their puffball stage, all you’ll be doing when you cut the lawn is to help spread the seeds around.
It’s also important to make sure that you don’t cut the grass shorter than 2 to 2 ½ inches.
Dandelions need lots of sun to grow and keeping your lawn healthy and long enough will effectively stunt their growth by blocking their access to the sun.
This method comes down to timing and it’s easy to get it wrong if you just don’t feel like cutting the grass on a given day.
It takes commitment to a regular cutting schedule.
Block Out the Sun
Did we mention how much dandelions love the sun? Just in case, let’s say it again – dandelions love the sun!
Anything that blocks their access to its life-giving rays is a great way to keep them off your lawn.
One way to do this is to block their access to the sun by smothering them with a piece of cardboard.
Small dark bags that block the sun can also be effective.
The problem with this method is that it’s extremely time consuming.
If you have a fair number of dandelions on your lawn, it can easily take a couple of hours to cover all of them.
Also, when you smother the dandelions, you may also accidently cover small patches of your grass.
If you’re going to try this method, you have to be extremely careful.
Dandelion Removal Tools
In our experience, the most effective way to remove dandelions is to pluck them out one by one.
It’s the only way to be sure they’re actually removed.
The problem with this method is that it can be very difficult to remove the dandelion roots and all.
These pesky little weeds can be rooted in the soil as deep as 10 inches and if you don’t get all of the root they’ll quickly grow back.
The best way to be sure you’re getting them out down to the root is to use a tool designed for the purpose.
There are many different varieties available that you can purchase online or at your local hardware store.
You have a choice between the short hand held variety and the stand-up dandelion removers that will save a lot of back ache.
They may cost a little more, but they’re well worth the investment.
Plucking them by the Heads
If you can’t be bothered going to the effort of digging down to the roots to remove dandelions permanently from your lawn you can simply focus on the head.
If you only have a few dandelions to deal with this may be all that’s required.
You will have to do this once or twice a week though as they will grow back.
You also have to make sure you remove the heads before they get to the puffball stage.
Once they’ve had a chance to transform to this stage, they can quickly spread around your lawn.
This can lead to dozens, or even hundreds of dandelions depending on the size of your lawn.
At that stage, simply plucking of the heads will probably be too much work to be practical.
Some simple household items can also be quite helpful in getting rid of dandelions.
Vinegar is a great way to kill dandelions.
The regular white vinegar you keep in the cupboard for your fish and chips will do the job nicely.
You can simply add some vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the weeds directly.
Alternatively, you can spray the dandelion holes after you’ve pulled them out by their roots.
The latter method may be a little more time consuming, but it is the best way to keep them off your lawn for sure.
Too much salt may not be good for your heart health, but it’s a good way to get rid of dandelions on your lawn.
This every day item is highly effective at killing these annoying weeds.
All you have to do is pour a little salt on the dandelion head and wait a day or two for it to do its job.
The dandelion will wilt and die almost every time.
The problem is, salt will also harm any neighbouring plants and your grass.
You have to be very careful when applying it.
Most of us were told by mom and dad to stay away from boiling water when we were kids.
That was sound advice if you want to avoid injury.
It turns out boiling water can be just as harmful to the health of the dandelions messing up your lawn.
If you have the patience to pour boiling water over each dandelion a few times a day they will wilt and die within two to three days.
The problem with this method is that it can be extremely time consuming – especially if you’re relying on a boiled kettle to bring the water up to the desired temperature to be effective.
One method for killing dandelions you don’t often see in many backyards is something called a weed burner.
These are essentially small blowtorches designed to burn the dandelions and destroy them with fire.
They will certainly kill dandelions, but they can be dangerous to operate and if you’re not careful, they can damage the surrounding grass as well.
Unless you have some experience using welding tools, it may be best to avoid using a weed burner.
Mulch and Grass Seed
There is no better way to avoid dandelions in the first place than a healthy lawn.
If you have patches where the grass is not as thick as you would like it, apply some grass seed.
It’s also a good idea to use mulch to improve the health of your lawn.
A nice thick lawn will choke out the dandelions and healthy soil is not ideal for dandelions.
These prolific weeds do better in acidic soils.
A nutrient rich soil base will deprive the dandelions of the environment in which they thrive.
If you’re an avid gardener and you’re willing to put in the effort, a healthy lawn will help to keep the dandelions from growing.
Perhaps one of the most unorthodox methods for dandelion control is putting the family to work.
It’s a great way for husband and wife to spend a day together while enjoying the great outdoors, but it can also be a great chore for the kids.
Parents may want to negotiate a per dandelion fee they’re willing to pay the kids.
They get to make a little extra money and mom and dad get a dandelion free lawn.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Chickens and Rabbits
There is one other method that may be even more unorthodox than putting the kids to work removing dandelions from the lawn.
If you have a large fenced in yard, you may want to consider adopting some chickens or rabbits.
Both of these animals love to feed on dandelions!
With the chickens, you’ll get the added benefit of some eggs for the breakfast table.
Best Dandelion Killers – The Heavy Hitters
Many of the chemicals that have been used in herbicides in the past have been banned in recent years.
That hasn’t stopped the industry’s biggest names from making adjustments and producing new products that comply with the stricter guidelines.
There are many different environmentally friendly herbicides to choose from that are designed to kill dandelions.
In the interest of making this guide as complete as possible, we decided to review five of the best choices on the market today.
All of the products we include in this guide are good dandelion killers and in most cases, the choice comes down to brand loyalty and price.
Goodbye to Dandelions
There are many different options for getting rid of dandelions from your yard and we’ve covered a variety of them in this article.
There are some great natural and homemade options, but herbicides and chemicals remain the most effective way to kill dandelions and other weeds.
For pure weed killing power, we believe the Compare-N-Save product reviewed above is the best choice, but all of the weed killers we’ve covered in this article do a great job.
If you follow the guidelines in this article, you should have one of the nicest lawns on your block this summer.